When the doors of Heidelberg swung open June 18-21, more than 600 alumni passed through en masse to enjoy one of the largest Alumni Weekends in recent history.
The annual celebration drew large numbers to events beginning with the annual Heritage Society dinner on Thursday, to the Medallion Club installation lunch and the annual BBQ picnic Friday night. Seiberling Gymnasium was filled to the brim Saturday for the Alumni Luncheon, during which six individuals and one legacy family were presented with the 2010 alumni awards.
This year’s winners were:
- Duane Webster, ’63 – Career Excellence
- M. Eugene Gilliom, ’54 – Career Excellence
- Edwin Ayers, ’71 -- Alumni Service
- Mary Bumann Miller, ’60 – Alumni Service
- Raul Cuero, ’71 – Outstanding Alumni
- Stephen Sterrett, ’70 – Outstanding Alumni
- Chidester Family – Legacy Family
As he nears completion of his “freshman year” as president, Robert H. Huntington addressed alumni gathered Saturday about progress during the current year and plans to move the University forward over the next decade.
“Make no mistake, your interest, love and support for Heidelberg matters more than ever before,” Huntington told the alumni. “I feel it acutely as your freshman president. … I am certain of these deep feelings. I know that this community and all 12,000 alumni care about this place and want to make it better.”
“All the work we do,” he added, “is framed around the understanding that we have strengths and we have weaknesses.”
As part of his first-year learning, Huntington said he understands the care and concern people have for Heidelberg, and as a result, “We need to be more focused than ever before. There is a pace and a pulse to everything, and we can’t stay in one place. There is a sense of urgency, and we need to move toward progress.”
That “progress” will begin to be unveiled this fall with the grand opening of the refurbished Adams Hall and the renovated Media Communications Center, followed closely one year from now by the grand opening of a new Residence Life and Learning Hall in the center of campus, the first new residence hall built from the ground up in 45 years.
Huntington told the alumni that five other key strategic initiatives, including a planned health and wellness facility built onto Seiberling Gymnasium in 2012 and a plan to complete the stadium and add an alumni center in 2013, are built around two paramount strategic goals, to increase academic excellence and enhance the student experience. The cornerstone of the strategic plan is a five-year capital campaign to boost academic excellence across the board.
All of these enterprises – along with other internal initiatives such as a new faculty/student mentoring program, an integrated Academic and Career Support Center, a strengthened enrollment management plan and a strengthened marketing plan – are designed to address six identified challenges in the areas of recruitment, engagement, retention, success, graduation and return.
If the numbers from this Alumni Weekend are an accurate predictor, the university has already made strides in the area of return.
A highlight of the luncheon was the presentation of the 50th reunion class’s gift to Heidelberg. Class of ’60 members Dave Akroyd and Lee Shobe presented a check to President Huntington for $1,023,277, collected from class gifts over the past five years and designated to endow the university’s Archives.
Crediting his committee of classmates who met regularly to conduct the campaign as well as past and present Heidelberg administrators who assisted with the project, Akroyd said, “Our class gift opens a door to the past but keeps the door open to the future.”
“This is a tremendous success and we are deeply grateful,” Huntington told the golden anniversary class.