It’s said “home is where the heart is,” and for thousands of Union College graduates and attendees who left part of their hearts in Lincoln, Union’s annual alumni weekend is a celebration of the memories, love, and lessons experienced at Union College.
In addition to welcoming back alumni this April 6-9, Union will also be celebrating its 125th anniversary with a theme of Our Spirit Endures. “Our 125th anniversary is such an important milestone for Union College—it signifies that the educational ministry envisioned in the late 1800s still is relevant and needed today,” Said Vinita Sauder, the president of Union College. “Despite the passing of time, it’s interesting to note that the core mission of Union College remains the same as it was in 1891 when our doors first opened to students.”
Union has a full schedule planned for every day of homecoming. Special highlights include the library’s exhibit featuring photos of Union through the years, including shots from its founding and World War II work, and aerial images of the campus. There will be several open houses on Saturday, from the PA department to George Stone school.
“It’s a privilege to plan and promote campus activities to attract our alumni back for homecoming weekend,” said LuAnn Davis, vice president for advancement. “Watching them interact with each other, even when they’ve been apart for 50 years, is such a joy. The years sort of melt away as they recall their time here as students. It’s a special experience for all of us.”
All are welcome to say farewell to two of Union’s long-time professors as they enter retirement. A reception for Chris Blake, who taught English and communication for 24 years, will be held in the President’s Dining Room of the Ortner Center from 4:00 – 5:30 p.m. Maddie Temple, a junior English major, said that Blake is one of her favorite teachers at Union. His creative writing class specifically helped her explore her imaginative side, as well as learning valuable lessons that can be applied to her major.
James McClelland will also be celebrating his retirement from 5:00 – 6:00 p.m. at the Lang Lobby in the Ortner Center. McClelland has been an art professor at Union for the past 43 years. In addition to the eponymous McClelland Art Gallery in the Ortner Center, several of his paintings can be seen around campus and the Nebraska Art Museum.
On Sabbath morning, Kermit Netteburg, from the class of 1967, will be speaking for the first service. Ron Carlson, from the class of 1977, will speak for second service. The Sabbath school programs will be hosted by various alumni. To once again celebrate the anniversary, Union students will be performing a historic play for the services.
“Welcoming back our alumni for homecoming will be one of the big highlights of our 125th anniversary year,” Sauder said. “Our alumni are such a big part of our family. They are our tribe. The ones who know us the best. The ones who love us and love our culture. The ones who support us and pray for us. They are the ones who encourage us to continue the work for God’s honor and glory, manifested through each student, each faculty and staff member, and each board member.”
All are welcome to every event. You can see a full schedule for Homecoming Weekend here.
By Elizabeth Bearden, student writer