It’s a wrap! The glitz, the glam, the great friendships and fun all rolled together to make “Heidelberg Hollywood” a huge hit. About 400 alumni returned for Alumni Weekend 2016 to celebrate class reunions, connections new and old and a year of accomplishments at Heidelberg.
Alumni Weekend kicked off Thursday with the annual Heritage Society dinner, during which the university “pinned” 15 new members into the illustrious group of individuals who have remembered the university in their estate plans.
Friday, 40 members of the 50-year Class of 1966 were inducted into the Medallion Club and returning alumni gathered for a picnic on the Campus Center lawn that evening. Throughout the weekend, the weather was as welcoming as the many hugs shared among friends who traveled to be together for the celebration.
“It’s a great day to be a hyped Student Prince,” President Rob Huntington told the large crowd of alumni gathered in Seiberling Gymnasium Saturday for the annual Alumni Weekend luncheon. “That’s the feeling we get here today.”
The president gave an high-energy summary of accomplishments during the past year, including reaffirmation of our Higher Learning Commission reaccreditation, new accreditation for the School of Business, positive signs enrollment and retention “are advancing in the direction we want and moving forward,” success with the Academic Comprehensive Campaign for Excellence, plans to restore and renovate France Hall and to build a Student & Community Welcome Center, and the launch of the HYPE Program.
“We continue to lift up Heidelberg more and more,” Huntington said. He also noted the high-impact enhancements to the Owen Center and the PlusOne Advantage Free MBA Program that are “really starting to matter. The university remains focused on its two strategic goals of education excellence and student success.
Despite big successes, challenges remain, he told alumni. “We need more academic distinction, stronger strategic partnerships and sustainable enrollment growth.”
“As long as we stay on point and continue to work together, we will continue to rise.”
Alumni choirHuntington expressed appreciation for the Class of ’66, who presented their 50th reunion gift – a check for $1,041,378. Along the way, they set the record for class giving participation at 62 percent. “This reflects the kind of culture of schools that are great,” he told class reps Nancy (Azugg) Ackley and Wendell Lotz Jr. “Let’s keep going together.”
The Class of ’61 also presented their legacy gift of $27, 000 to add to their 50th reunion gift, as part of challenge issued a year earlier.
In keeping with the theme, students dressed in tuxes and ball gowns escorted this year’s Alumni Award winners to the stage: Dr. Pam Faber, Service Award; Krystal Jones, ’05, Young Alumni Achievement Award; the Beck-Frey-Steingass Family, the Legacy Family Award; J. Renn Olenn, ’66, the Career Excellence Award; and Richard and Sandra (Remieres) Glessner, ’55, the Outstanding Alumni Award.
The weekend also highlighted beloved traditions such as the Parade of Classes, the Alumni Choir, Classes Without Quizzes and the Remembrance Tree Planting Ceremony. The university held two dedications as well: the Estep Overlook Gardens and the Diane P. Armstrong Memorial Children’s Book Collection.
A newer tradition, the Greek reception, continues to grow in popularity, with more than 150 alumni representing many decades gathering at the Honors Center terrace.