From Oct. 3 to Oct. 5, Goshen College’s campus was brimming with alumni, each one eager for the music, food, community and awards that accompany Homecoming Weekend.
Homecoming Weekend is a chance for alumni from all classes to reunite. The college holds specific reunions for classes ten years out of college, twenty years out and then every five years following that. This year, the class of 1949 was celebrating their 70th year out of college.
This year, Goshen College honored some of the most outstanding alumni. Three awards were given out to five alumni: the Culture for Service Award, the Young Alumni Servant Leadership Award and the Champion of Character Award.
Esther Kawira, a 1974 graduate, and Ray Funk, a 1969 graduate, received the Culture for Service Awards. This award was created to recognize alumni who exemplify this motto that serves as a foundation at Goshen.
Funk has dedicated his life to peacemaking between Canadian First-Nation people and the injustices placed upon them by the Canadian Government. Kawira has dedicated her life to improving life in Shirati, Tanzania.
Funk reflected on his award after receiving it.
“Culture for service has been there for me to fall back on in everything I’ve done. And it will be there for you, too,” he passionately informed the audience.
“The culture is there to feed the hungry, to heal the sick, to build community and to take care of Mother Earth for our children and grandchildren. Culture for service. So let it be,” he concluded.
Malinda Berry, a 1996 graduate, received the Young Alumni Servant Leadership Award. Berry serves as an associate professor of theology and ethics at Anabaptist MennoniteBiblical Seminary.
Recipients of the Champion of Character Awards were Kenneth Edwards, a 1981 graduate, and Mandy Yoder, a 1999 graduate.
Peter Eash-Scott, chairman of the alumni board and a 1999 graduate, stated during the homecoming convocation, “What you learn here [at Goshen College], what you become here, the seeds of ideas and understandings that are sown here will live and grow with you long after you leave this place.”
The alumni who received these awards have embodied Goshen’s core values, and taken them into the world.
Homecoming Weekend was not just for awards. Throughout the weekend, GC displayed its strengths in theater and music, presenting the Peace Plays and Homecoming Gala. There was also a homecoming picnic, as well as an ultimate frisbee game for alumni and current students to interact with each other.
Dan Koop Liechty, director of alumni and career networks, described the goal of Homecoming Weekend in a recent interview.
“We want our alumni and friends of the college to feel as though they are always a part of it. It’s good for institutional health,” Koop Liechty said.