On Sept. 28, alumni from various states and countries arrived at Andrews University to kickstart Alumni Homecoming Weekend 2017. This is an annual weekend event that focuses on not only celebrating, but also honoring those who have attended, graduated or worked with Andrews University in the past.
The classes honored at this year’s Homecoming Weekend were the classes of 1947, 1957, 1967, 1977, 1987, 1992, 1997 and 2007. Beginning with the Wellness Lounge Open House and ending with the Harvest Run, this year’s Homecoming Weekend was filled with family-fun activities, which were planned by the Office of Alumni Services.
Homecoming Weekend commenced with the Spirit of Philanthropy and Homecoming Banquet, which was located in the Great Lakes Room of the Campus Center. Here, dining services served Andrews’s signature dish: Sam’s Chicken. In addition to the nostalgic food, alumni from the class of 1957 were inducted into the Golden Hearts Club. Also, a small cohort of Alumni received one of Andrews University’s most prestigious awards, the Andrews University Alumni Association Medallion.
On Friday, Sept. 29, Homecoming Weekend activities continued with events such as the Wes Christansen Memorial Golf Outing, Horn Archaeological Museum Tour, and the Homecoming Classic Car Show. Following these events was the 30th Annual Homecoming Parade. This harvest-themed parade offered a $700 prize to the participating organization or department with the best quality, school spirit, and creativity. Parade entries included a wide variety of participants, including the Andrews University Student Association, Andrews University’s Department of Nursing, and Village SDA Church Pathfinders.
Cinthia Costa, (junior, nursing) participated in the parade with alumni from the Department of Nursing.
She said, “I’m so glad that various nursing alumni came back to participate in the parade! I had a great time talking with them and I believe that the parade is a great event that brings alumni and students together. Hearing their different stories inspired hope into nursing students, like myself.”
To usher in the sabbath, alumni and students gathered together to attend University Vespers, a Friday evening worship service. The vespers featured music by University Singers, Journey and Deliverance Mass Choir (DMC). Along with the archaeological faculty, Chaplain Jose Bourget (BA ’03) shared the gospel through history.
Anna Kim (BS ’16) who sang with University Singers before she graduated, said, “After not being in University Singers for the last two years, it felt so good to be back. The Friday night vespers with three different choirs really gave me chills with the different styles of singing and worshipping.”
On Saturday, Oct. 1, Homecoming Weekend festivities continued with various church services coordinated by Pioneer Memorial Church, One Place, and New Life. Sermons were led out by alumni David K. Ferguson (AS ’87, BA ’87, MA ’90), Denis Fortin (MDiv ’86) and Michael T. Nixon, Vice President of Diversity & Inclusion.
The Black Student Christian Forum (BSCF) hosted the New Life church service in the Howards Arts Performing Center (HPAC). The service began with DMC worshiping in song with “Great is Thy Faithfulness”, led by their new director Carl Cunningham. Following DMC, Adrian Langdon, a former DMC director, led the audience in a praise set. The service continued with a sermon by Michael T. Nixon.
Vice President Nixon’s sermon discussed the “power of persistence.” He stated that “shameless persistence in prayer is the key.”
Throughout his sermon, Nixon shared an emotional story about how he almost flunked out of law school. He reflected upon feeling unprepared as he entered the program. Once there, he faced adversity when he learned that one of his academic courses was held on Saturday, the sabbath. Nixon shared that “persistent prayer” is how he made it through this obstacle in his life. Two important points that he wanted alumni and students to take away included 1.) do not let your personal perceived defiance prevent you from being persistent in prayer, and 2.) we must learn to pray from the heart of Jesus in the face of rejection.
Following the church service, BSCF alumni fellowshipped amongst each other.
Kaydra Bailey (BS ’16) commented on the church service and said, “My first Alumni Weekend as an Alumna of Andrews University felt like ‘coming home.’ I was able to see some old faces and meet some new ones. Also, while visiting for the weekend, I was able to sing along with my beloved DMC while Adrian Langdon directed the choir. What a beautiful experience! I cannot wait for next year!”
Throughout Saturday afternoon and evening, alumni had the opportunity to explore various buildings on campus. Some buildings opened for public viewing including the Architecture Resource Center, Crayon Box Children’s Learning Center and the Department of History & Political Science. In addition, alumni and their families took advantage of “Harvest Tours”: wagon trips around Andrews University’s orchards and farms.
To end the day, alumni attended the Homecoming Gala and Alumni Basketball Game. Located in the HPAC, the Homecoming Gala featured a concert by the Symphony Orchestra directed by Claudio Gonzalez, Wind Symphony directed by Randy Graves and guest pianist Wen-Ting Ong (BMus ’11). Following the gala, alumni made their way over to Johnson Gymnasium to watch the current men’s and women’s Cardinal Basketball team battle against alumni male and female teams.
Tim McGuire (BA ’15, MS ’17) played on the men’s alumni team and commented on the game.
He said, “Man, it was really fun. Wish we could have made it more of a game. We didn’t get back on defense all night. Hats off to the current team, good to see hard work paying off.”
On Sunday, Oct. 1, Homecoming Weekend came to close with events such as the BSCF Alumni Brunch, Harvest Run, and Health & Fitness Exposition. Faculty, staff, alumni and students came out to support participants in the Harvest Run, which featured a Mile Walk, 5K Run/Walk, and a 10K Run.
Jessica Yoong (senior, business administration), who participates annually in the Harvest Run, said, “I have run the Harvest 5K every year since attending Andrews. This is the fourth time I’ve run it during college. I enjoy running and try to beat my previous personal record each year. I would definitely come back and run it again as an alumni.”
Earlier that morning, BSCF had hosted a constituency brunch meeting to discuss the future of the alumni association and alumni weekends to come.
Jourdan Chacon (senior, psychology) said, “Seeing that Andrews University takes great pride in their alumni shows me that I will always be welcomed back to a place that holds great memories even after 10 or 20 or 30 years go by.”