Homecoming Weekend Successfully Reunites Alumni
Thursday, Sept. 29, marked the start of Alumni Homecoming 2016, the university’s annual Alumni Weekend event. The Alumni Homecoming is dedicated to honoring and celebrating those who have attended or been involved with Andrews University in the past.
“It is the time to consciously let time play tricks on us,” President Andrea Luxton (MA, ’78) said, “to remember together our friends, our teachers, our deans, just as they were.”
The honored classes for this year’s Homecoming were the classes of 1946, 1956, 1966, 1976, 1986, 1991, 1996 and 2006. Teeming with alumni for Homecoming Weekend, Andrews University campus “sustained its vigor” throughout the entire weekend despite the cold and rainy weather, according to Gabrielle Johnson (sophomore, nursing).
Alumni travelled from various different states and countries to experience the Homecoming festivities that were planned for them by the Office of Alumni Services. From the Wes Christiansen Memorial Golf Outing to the Classic Car Show, this year’s Homecoming Weekend was jam-packed with activities for alumni of all ages.
Homecoming Weekend started off with the Spirit of Philanthropy & Homecoming Banquet, held in the Great Lakes Room at the Campus Center. Bringing the nostalgia back full force, Dining Services catered the banquet and they served cafeteria classics like “Sam’s Chicken” and Apple Crisp made with fresh apples.
Andrews’ 29th Annual Homecoming Parade followed the banquet. Harvest-themed with several organizations and countries represented, the parade also offered a $1,000 prize to the parade entry with the best creativity, quality and school spirit.
Ashley Neu, (senior, public relations) president of Andrews University Student Association (AUSA) participated in the parade and commented that “the whole AUSA team was able to participate in the alumni parade on Friday. There was a lot of thought and creativity that went into our theme. It was a lot of fun to see it come together and be able to participate in the annual event.”
On Friday evening, alumni were able to relive their previous college vespers experiences with this semester’s Lighthouse Vespers, a collective Friday evening worship service put on by various clubs and organizations across campus.
Serge Gedeon Jr. (senior, secondary education) who led out the song service for Lighthouse Vespers, said, “Leading worship at Lighthouse was one of the most memorable moments of my Andrews experience. I could feel the presence of God all around the room. There’s nothing I enjoy more than doing the things I love most, while doing it for the glory of God.”
Gideon continued, commenting on how he felt “truly blessed to see others being moved by an experience that I found to be a blessing in my own life.”
The weekend activities continued on Sabbath with church services held at Pioneer Memorial Church (PMC), One Place and New Life with sermons spoken by Pastor Dwight Nelson (MDiv ’76, DMin ’86), David K. Ferguson (AS ’87, BA ’87, MA ’90), and Assistant Chaplain Michael Polite, respectively. After these services, the alumni were welcomed into the Campus Center for lunch where the 60th, 50th, and 40th anniversary classes were each able to eat in designated rooms with members of their graduating class.
This year also marked 50 years of the J.N. Andrews Honors Program. Alumni, students and teachers were all invited to celebrate this major milestone in the program’s history with a small Sabbath meal in Nethery Hall while conversing with current Honors Scholars, as well as those of the past.
According to the Office of Alumni Services, “the J.N. Andrews Honors Program remains the oldest and largest Honors program in the Adventist educational system.”
In addition to Nethery Hall, several other buildings across campus were open for public viewing, such as the Architecture Resource Center, the Crayon Box Children’s Learning Center, Ruth Murdoch Elementary School, and the Natural History Museum, located in Price Hall.
Towards the evening, children and adults were welcome to take advantage of Andrews University’s agriculture on a “Harvest Tour” in which they were able to take wagon tours around the orchards and the farm.
Continuing on with the activities, the Harvest Picnic and the Alumni Homecoming Gala closed off the evening with fellowship and a campfire at the Harvest Picnic and classical performances by the University Singers and University Wind Symphony at the Gala.
Adly Altidor (sophomore, international business) who sings in the University Singers, described the event as, “an incredible way to bring honor to God.”
Altidor said, “The Wind Symphony started off with a bang—literally—and filled the air with excitement. With participation from the audience, the University Singers finished the concert with glorious Hallelujahs!”
The Alumni vs. Students Basketball Game was the final event on Saturday. It began with the the Cardinals’ women’s basketball team playing a team of former Cardinals’ women’s basketball players, followed by the Cardinals’ men’s basketball team playing a team of graduated Cardinals’ men’s basketball players.
According to alumnus Nate Britain (BBA, ‘16), all of the teams showed “Amazing potential to bring the championships back to AU like how it used to be.” Britain said he also enjoyed “seeing a lot of new faces on both the guys’ and girls’ teams.”
The Homecoming Weekend came to a close on Sunday with the Harvest races, the Annual Fly-In Drive-In Pancake Breakfast, as well as the School of Education and Agriculture Alumni Breakfasts and Brunches.
The weekend ended with the fellowship and community that it started with, which, according to alumna Kristina Penny (BA, ’11), is “what the alumni weekend is all about.”
Penny said, “It’s always nice to come back to Andrews to visit family and friends.”
In regards to the weekend, Andriy Kharkovyy (BBA ’06, MBA ’09), Director of the Office of Alumni Services, declared that, “As fall is marked by students arriving and alumni returning, we welcome you back home.”
These remarks resonated with Penny, who emphasized that, “Andrews University will always feel like home.”