Homecoming 2015 full of awards, music, reunions

Christi Sessa

Contributing Writer

chsessa@goshen.edu

GC alumni award winners Aliko Solongo, Alice Gunden Bender, Ken Pletcher, Sonia Graber, and Kathy Short. Photo contributed by Comm-Mar.

GC alumni award winners Aliko Solongo, Alice Gunden Bender, Ken Pletcher, Sonia Graber, and Kathy Short.
Photo contributed by Comm-Mar.

Last weekend was homecoming weekend at Goshen College, and the campus and town were full of festivities. On Friday, a special homecoming convocation was held to honor the 2015 alumni award recipients: Aliko Songolo ‘68 and Kathy Short ‘75 (Culture for Service Awards), Sonia Graber ‘00 (Decade of Servant Leadership Award), and Alice Gunden Bender ‘80 and Ken Pletcher ‘70 (Champions of Character).

It was Solongo’s first time back on campus in many years. He attended many of the weekend’s events including the athletic complex dedication, which was especially meaningful since John Ingold, one of the people the complex was being dedicated to, was his soccer coach. In regards to his Culture for Service Award, Songolo said, “Inspiration from professors at Goshen allowed me to make the decisions that lead me to where I am today.”

“I was very humbled to receive the award,” said Graber, winner of the Decade of Servant Leadership Award. “I had a great time being back at Goshen and hearing about all of the things people are interested in doing in their futures.”

Friday’s festivities also included a showing of the homecoming One Act “Bombers” and an Alumni Bike Ride. First Fridays in downtown Goshen was also homecoming-themed and featured a Lavender Jazz concert, swing dancing and a special GC Tent. Friday evening also included a special banquet for the Class of 1965 for their 50th reunion.

Saturday also had a full schedule. The morning held a special breakfast in the Church Fellowship Hall with speaker Kathy Short. The rest of the morning consisted of class reunions for the classes of 1950, 1955, 1960, 1965, 1970, 1975, 1980, 1985, 1990, 1995, and 2005.

For Kathleen Yoder ‘85, this was the first class reunion she’d ever attended. “It was so fun to reconnect with old friends and meet new people I didn’t even know in college,” she said.

Jill Koop-Liechty ‘90, attended her 25th reunion. “[These reunions] underline to me the value of an education at Goshen College because it felt like I could pick up really quickly with my friends because we have a shared understanding,” said Koop-Liechty. “We laughed a lot and stayed up way too late.”

Saturday afternoon began with a luncheon in Westlawn Dining Hall with retired faculty, and the alumni heard about what was now going on in their old departments. From here, the bookstore housed book signings by Bob Yoder, campus pastor (“Helping Youth Grieve: The Good News of Biblical Lament”), Priscilla Stuckey ‘79 (“Kissed by a Fox: And Other Stories of Friendship in Nature”), E. Douglas Bomberger ‘81 (“MacDowell”), Donald Blosser ‘59 (“Meeting Jesus: Common People…Uncommon Stories”), and Emily Hedrick ‘13 (“True Confessions of a God Killer, A Postmodern Pilgrim’s Progress.”)

Alumni were also invited to the men’s soccer game against Taylor University, in which the Leafs won 1-0. At 2:30, there was a special alumni hymn sing, followed by a special art exhibition in the Hershberger Art Gallery by Ann Marie Nafziger (‘95.) At 5:00, there was a homecoming picnic in the church fellowship hall where students, alumni, and faculty all ate together. The night ended with the annual Homecoming Music Gala.

Homecoming weekend concluded with a worship service at College Mennonite Church, led by President Jim Brenneman.

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Record
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