Alumni reconnect, celebrate 'Sweet Alma Home'

The first verse of Heidelberg’s alma mater, “Sweet Alma Home,” proclaims, “Our Swift winged memory in yearnings backward flies to thee.” Many memories of college days and lifelong friendships “flew back” to Heidelberg during a wonderfully successful Alumni Weekend June 24-26.

Kicking off the weekend was the annual Heidelberg Heritage Society Recognition Dinner. The members of the Board of Trustees, on campus for their summer meetings, joined Heritage Society guests – those who have designated Heidelberg in their estate plans -- for dinner and fellowship. New members were “pinned” to signify their entry into the Heritage Society. President Rob Huntington told the group that the university “holds you in the highest regard.”

“Please know that we will proceed with all of our focus, energy and care to continue living up to the expectations that you have for us in fulfilling the dreams that you have for your alma mater,” he told the group. Currently, about 200 alumni and friends comprise the Heritage Society.

On Friday, Dr. Pam Faber, professor of biology, was the keynote speaker for the annual Medallion Club luncheon. She spoke on “Medical Advances through the Lens of Heidelberg.” Each of the past 11 years, alumni who are celebrating (or have celebrated) the 50th anniversary of their graduation are inducted into the club. This year’s honored guests were the members of the Class of 1961.

Throughout the day on Friday and again Saturday, returning alumni had the opportunity to participate in a series of Classes Without Quizzes – presentations from faculty, staff and fellow alumni on a variety of topics. Alumni heard about the new Faculty AIM Hei Student Mentoring Program from Dr. Ellen Nagy; the Eisenhower Visit Remembrance, Dr. Doug Collar; Sports and Education, ’61 classmates Dick Gross and Duane Warns; Developing Alumni Chapters and Networks, Bob Youngblood, ’70, and Ashley Helmstetter; How to be a World Traveler, ’61 classmates Toby Stull, John Kerstetter and Mary Gomoll Granicz; and The Piano Lesson by ’56 alumna Dawn Riley.

The annual Remembrance Tree Planting Ceremony was held Saturday morning. This year’s tree, a Metasequoia glyptostroboides “Gold Rush,” was planted in front of the Bryenton Honors Center in memory of the 29 friends and 197 alumni who died in the past year. Human Resources Director Jeannine Curns gave a special tribute to the late Dr. David P. Harkins, ’59.

Reunion classes spilled onto Greenfield for the annual Parade of Classes, leading up to the luncheon inside Seiberling Gymnasium. Once there, the more than 500 alumni, family and friends who attended the celebration were treated to a fast-paced and entertaining year-in-review video, created by 2011 graduate Samantha Kinkopf.

President Huntington updated the alumni on progress of the Strategic Action Plan and other issues of importance. Alumni engagement in all of the events of a very busy weekend, along with their contributions throughout the year, inspire and motivate Heidelberg leadership, he said.

“We have a community of people who are passionate, who are engaged, who love and who care for this place and for each other, for what it stood for and what it will stand for going forward,” President Huntington said.

One highlight of the luncheon was presentation of this year’s alumni awards. This year’s recipients epitomize the Alumni Weekend theme of “To Heidelberg and Beyond” for their contributions to their professions, their communities and their alma mater in the years since their graduation.

This year’s winners are:

  • Dr. Ferris, ’36, and Dorothy Doolittle Ohl, x'44 – the Alumni Service Award
  • Harriet Stiger Liles, ’44 – Career Excellence Award
  • The Barth/Tewart Family – the Legacy Family Award
  • Ted, ’65, and Jane Hoernemann Hieronymus, ’64 – the Outstanding Alumni Award

To celebrate their golden anniversary, the Class of ’61 presented the results of their reunion giving initiative in the amount of $1.9 million. The total represents gifts and pledges to underwrite and endow the AIM Hei mentoring program as well as financial support – through planned giving and other gifting options – to a variety of programs and initiatives at Heidelberg.

As has become tradition, the luncheon concluded with a fine presentation by the Alumni Choir. Reunion classes celebrated with dinners on campus and in Tiffin Saturday night, and the weekend ended on a high note with a worship service, organized by the Class of ’61, and a meeting of the Alumni Council.

Posted on: 
Jun 27, 2011