During his days as a standout student-athlete, Adam Smith, ’94, spent a lot of time on the Seiberling Gymnasium court and at Frost Kalnow Stadium, where the Student Princes played home football games until Hoernemann Stadium opened in 2012. In 2006, he was inducted into the ‘Berg Athletic Hall of Fame.
So when Adam talks about giving back to Heidelberg, his thoughts naturally turn to athletics. “Let’s start with the important stuff first,” he jokes. “I haven’t missed a golf outing yet.”
A few years after graduation, Adam, some of his classmates and ’Berg alum, coach and professor Jerry McDonald were having adult beverages when an idea took root. In the summer of 2004, the first Back the Berg Golf Outing was held to support ‘Berg athletics. It’s grown to be the largest annual fundraiser for the Athletic Department, drawing alumni and friends together for a round of golf, reminiscing and some friendly competition.
While Adam has been engaged with ‘Berg athletics continuously since graduation, he’s invested in more than just playing golf. Giving back to Heidelberg is a personal philosophy he learned well from his ’Berg coaches, in particular John Hill, who coached men’s basketball from 1977-2002.
“Part of my motivation (for being engaged) is to give back to the college that gave me a good base to live life and have succeed in the business world,” says Adam, who is the co-owner of Camden Falls Reception & Conference Center in Tiffin. “And part of it is due to our coaches influencing us to give back.”
Additionally, he’s proud of the growth of his alma mater. “Being local, I get to see the concrete and mortar, and it’s neat to see.”
Adam’s investment far surpasses athletics. He stepped forward to lead the Fellows Organization as its president from 2005-07. And now, he has turned his energy in a new direction. He’s leading the effort to bring together his ’94 classmates to celebrate their 25th class reunion anniversary at Alumni Weekend in June.
“It’s a very surreal thing to think about 25 years,” he admits.
His efforts to engage his classmates and offer ideas for the reunion have been a valuable asset for Ashley Helmstetter, executive director of Alumni Engagement and Major Gifts. “Adam was the first person who said, ‘Yes, I’m in.’ He was the first to say he’d help lead reunion planning, which I really appreciate. And he’s great at synthesizing ideas for the reunion.”
He has a very simple message to his classmates about attending their reunion: “Why not?”
“It’s simple to get re-engaged. Our stories will be similar. It’ll be neat to see everyone and hear the stories, then show them how the campus has changed.”
According to Adam, the Class of ’94 is a dynamic group that supported each other across the board, regardless of affiliation, and maintained friendships with classes older and younger than themselves. So the homecoming on Alumni Weekend will be sweet – and inclusive. The Class of ’94 has invited the reunion classes of 1984 and 1989 to “crash our party.”
“We’re just one big family anyway,” he says.
Under Adam’s leadership, the Class of ’94 also is organizing a new event – and hopefully, a new tradition – on the opening day of Alumni Weekend which will surprise no one: a golf outing.
Get those drivers ready and plan to join Adam and hundreds of alumni at the Berg for Alumni Weekend, June 21-23.