Al Roker dropped by Goshen College on Tuesday in the name of breaking records and raising funds for Feeding America.
The well-known weatherman from the Today show began “Rokerthon 2: Feeding America By Storm” on Nov. 6 with a goal to report the weather in each of the 50 states and Washington D.C. in a week.
Along the way he’s raising money for the Feeding America food banks. For every dollar that is donated, 11 meals are provided for the food banks.
Out of the eight states he visited on Tuesday, Indiana was his sixth stop.
“It’s a privilege to be chosen to represent this state and this city,” said Jodi Beyeler, director of communications and marketing. “We’re just excited to spread the word about what’s happening on campus and in the larger community.”
Roker’s plane was originally supposed to land before 12:30, but delays pushed him closer to a 3:00 arrival time.
But that didn’t diminish support.
Pam Catalano, a community member, had anticipated at least an hour of delay. She came prepared with a book and an excitement to see Roker.
“Al Roker’s my favorite,” she said. “He seems nice and has a good sense of humor.”
During the downtime, Chuck Lofton, meteorologist for the NBC affiliate in Indianapolis, filmed the choir singing part of the “Al-ma Mater,” a re-written version of the school song prepared especially for Roker. The final lines of the song poked fun at the notoriously cold Goshen weather, but remained cheerful: “Goshen College, ever singing, to our motto we’ll be true; though the weather could be better, Good ol’ Goshen we love you.”
By the time Roker arrived to campus, people surrounded the Adelphian Fountain in front of Kulp Hall, along with a goat in a GC t-shirt.
During his brief visit, Roker reported on the Goshen weather alongside Lofton. The choir sang again, this time for Roker, and then he continued on.
Maryn Munley, production manager for the GC Music Center and a huge fan of the TODAY Show, was instrumental in getting Roker to campus.
When she heard they were coming to Goshen, IN, she sent an email saying she “would be remiss if Al Roker came through… and [she] did not offer our facility or campus to host [her] favorite weather man.”
She included in her email that the “institution is by no means large, but as an alumni turned staff, [she] can tell [them], this place has heart.”
Munley sent the email not expecting much in terms of a response.
I thought I was just sending it out into the oblivion,” she said. “We got lucky. I somehow said the right thing to the right person.”
NBC liked what Munley had to say and arranged for Roker to come to campus.
In less than a week, a number of different departments pulled the visit together.
“No one department would have been able to pull it all together,” said Munley.
That hard work gave students like Michael Oyer, a fifth-year, the opportunity to be a part of Rokerthon 2.
Oyer has been interested in weather and meteorology since childhood, and NBC’s local news happened to be his favorite. He spent a great deal of time watching Roker.
“Roker went beyond my area and talked about things going on across the nation, which was different than what I’d get with the local news,” he said. “I enjoyed the passion he brought to the weather.”
Roker’s tour across the country would be a dream come true for Oyer.
“I’m jealous of someone who gets to go to all 50 states and talk about the weather in each one,” he said. “Traveling and weather: two of my favorite things.”
After the forecast in Goshen, Roker was on the road for a drive to Coldwater, Mich. and then Montpelier, Ohio, where he rounded out day five. His week-long tour finishes up in New York City on Friday, Nov. 13.