Just as a beacon of light that illuminated the path for Heidelberg alumni during their student days, the same rays drew more than 500 back to campus to celebrate Alumni Weekend 2012 on June 21-24. The theme for the weekend was “Heidelberg Lights the Way.”
A record-setting class who entered the Heidelberg Heritage Society kicked off the weekend with their annual dinner Thursday. Members of the Board of Trustees, on campus for their summer meetings, joined Heritage Society guests – those who have designated Heidelberg in their estate plans -- for dinner, fellowship and recognition. A total of 16 new members were “pinned” to signify their entry into the Heritage Society, pushing total membership over 200.
“The Heritage Society is about lighting the way for the future, and we are so grateful,” President Rob Huntington told the group. Jim Troha, vice president for Institutional Advancement and University Relations, added his appreciation.
“What you have done for Heidelberg sustains our soul,” Troha said. “This is a terrific moment for all of us.” He assured the members that Heidelberg will continue to work feverishly toward its strategic goals of improving academic excellence and the student experience.
On Friday, Dr. Doug Collar, associate dean of the Honors Program, was the keynote speaker for the annual Medallion Club luncheon. His topic was “From Heidelberg to PT 109: The Heroic Story of Leonard Thom.” Each of the past 12 years, alumni who are celebrating (or have celebrated) the 50th anniversary of their graduation are inducted into the Medallion Club. This year’s honored guests were the members of the Class of 1962.
Throughout the day on Friday and again Saturday, returning alumni had the opportunity to participate in a series of Classes Without Quizzes – presentations from faculty, staff and fellow alumni on a variety of topics. Alumni heard about “Ohio and the Civil War” from Ron Boylan, ’62; “A Mycology Career” from Paul Volz, ’58; “Vignettes of Volunteering with the Navajo People” from Deanna Marks Slater, ’62; “Using the Library for Genealogical Research” from reference librarians Laurie Repp and Nainsi Houston; “End of Life: Medical Decision Making” from Dr. Tim Tuthill, ’62; and the canoe as a source of recreation from Mark Beliczky, ’77.
The annual Remembrance Tree Planting Ceremony was held Saturday morning. This year’s tree, a Quercus palustris “Pin Oak,” was planted front lawn of University Hall in memory of the 21 friends and 338 alumni, including the Rev. Dr. Roger Perl, ’58, who died in the past year. Members of the Class of ’82 also planted a tree in memory of their classmate, Ruth Tkacz.
Reunion classes converged on Greenfield for the annual Parade of Classes, leading up to the luncheon inside Seiberling Gymnasium. Once there, the more than 500 alumni, family and friends who attended the celebration were treated to a fast-paced and entertaining year-in-review video, compiled by 2011 graduate Samantha Kinkopf, Jeff Pfister of the Media Communication Center and the Office of Marketing and Communication Services.
President Huntington updated the alumni on Heidelberg’s current enrollment status, the Heidelberg fund and the operating budget, faculty hiring, summer improvement projects and the status of the Saurwein Health & Wellness Center.
The highlight of the luncheon was the president’s announcement about progress toward the $50 million Academic Comprehensive Campaign for Excellence (ACCE), which stands at $37 million (74 percent of the goal) in cash, pledges and estate gifts after two years of quiet fundraising.
Another highlight of the luncheon was presentation of this year’s alumni awards. This year’s recipients epitomize the Alumni Weekend theme of “Heidelberg Lights the Way” for their contributions to their professions, their communities and their alma mater in the years since their graduation.
This year’s winners are:
- Paul and Kay Gamble Assenheimer, both ’60, Outstanding Alumni Award
- Paul Volz, ’58, Career Excellence Award
- J. David Hertzer, ’61, Alumni Service Award
- Von Kaenel/Scheufler/Gribble/Cooper Family – Legacy Family Award
To celebrate their golden anniversary, the Class of ’62 presented the results of their reunion giving initiative in the amount of $2.6 million – the largest ever in the history of the reunion giving program. The total represents gifts, pledges and planned gifts toward donor-selected items within ACCE.
As has become tradition, the luncheon concluded with a fine presentation by the Alumni Choir. Reunion classes celebrated with dinners on campus and in Tiffin Saturday night, and the weekend ended on a high note with a worship service, organized by the Class of ’62, and a meeting of the Alumni Council.