Alumni Weekend 2018 certainly was “One for the Books” in every way imaginable. A number of records were set as nearly 600 alumni – the largest-ever crowd for Alumni Weekend – returned to campus to reconnect, reminisce and celebrate Heidelberg traditions, old and new.
This year, in addition to shining a bright light on the 50th reunion Class of 1968, University Advancement and Marketing launched the new Landmark Reunion Model that also highlighted the 10-year reunion Class of 2008, the 25-year reunion Class of 1993 and the 40-year reunion Class of 1978.
“This new Landmark Reunion Model is about engagement. We come back to see each other and share memories,” said Phil Ness, VP for University Advancement & Marketing and the model’s author. “It is about returning, staying involved with Heidelberg and paying it forward.”
A Reunion Class Giving record
A new twist on an old tradition was the big reveal of reunion class giving. Joan (Swinehart) Talmage and Ted Siller, co-chairs of the Class of ’68 Reunion Gift Committee, along with representatives from the other landmark reunion classes, had the privilege of presenting to President Rob Huntington a “check” in the amount of $9.83 million. The check represents the collective reunion class giving from the landmark reunion classes, and it is a record.
“That’s phenomenal,” President Rob Huntington said. “This is what happens when we come together, work hard together and dream together.”
The $9.83 million reunion class giving total is broken down as follows: $7.9 million in cash gifts and pledges and $1.93 million in planned estate gifts. These gifts are supporting the now $100 million Academic Comprehensive Campaign for Excellence, the France Hall Restoration/Renovation project, The Heidelberg Fund, the planned New Student and Community Welcome Center and other projects.
Joan and Ted also credited the reunion classes of 1958 and 1963, who continue to return and support Heidelberg in significant ways.
Alumni excellence honored
John Q. Adams, ’58, who received the Outstanding Alumni Award (the highest award for alumni), echoed the ideal of giving back. “A lot of really good things are happening here,” John said. “Some of the best four years of our lives were here. I can’t say it enough … I think it’s an obligation of everyone who is able to give back. You’ve got to give back in honor of the people who helped you.”
Adams, along with his wife, Pat, has set the standard for service and philanthropy to Heidelberg with his generous support of Adams Hall and an endowed chair to support the School of Business, Computer Science and Information Technology, The Patricia Adams Lecture Series, Hoernemann Stadium, Saurwein Health & Wellness Center and this summer’s renovation and Beautification of Pfleiderer Hall. His behind-the-scenes contributions as a member of the Board of Trustees (2007-15) are too numerous to mention.
Other alumni award winners included:
- Mayer-Longworth-McDonald-Uher Family – Legacy Family Award
- Dr. Frank Krupka, ’94 – Service Award
- Melissa Harrison’ ’02 – Young Alumni Award
- Dr. Denise Seachrist ’82 – Career Excellence Award
Alumni Weekend kicked off Thursday night with the annual Heidelberg Heritage Society Dinner, recognizing those who have remembered the university with a planned estate gift. This year, the Heritage Society welcomed 13 new members, pushing the total membership to over 260 members.
At the dinner, President Huntington also presented the Distinguished Trustee Service Award to alumnus Ted Hieronymus, ’65, in honor of his long-time contributions as a trustee, alumnus and benefactor.
About 60 members of Kappa Psi Omega returned to celebrate the 50th anniversary of their founding in a “kolossal” way. Kappas from all decades reunited with several reunion events throughout the weekend.
Additionally, members of all other Greek groups participated in the annual Greek Alumni Reception in France Hall. The alumni took some time out to visit their old halls, enjoy memorabilia and share memories of their time together at Heidelberg.
A newer tradition, former student-athletes convened for the Athletic Alumni Reception at the Adams Academic All-American Plaza to relive a few of their glory days.
As is tradition, returning alumni also enjoyed a picnic BBQ (despite the rain), Classes Without Quizzes, the Remembrance Tree Planting ceremony, campus tours, a nature walk, the Parade of Classes, the Alumni Choir performance at lunch and reunion class dinners.
The weekend provided many highlights, but for Ashley Helmstetter, executive director of Alumni Engagement and Major Gifts, the key was celebrating with reunion classes as well as those doing great things in their lives and careers, and for their alma mater.
“There was nothing more heartwarming than our alumni who reached milestones and celebrating those with them,” Ashley said. “They have really set the bar high for future generations.”