More than 900 alumni and relatives of current students from across the country attended Dickinson’s 2011 Homecoming & Family Weekend. Held Sept. 23-25, the three-day event helped connect—and reconnect—Dickinsonians to the college in many ways.
Some competed in the annual Run for Steph race, cheered on alumni athletes during the Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremony and chatted with friends, old and new, at receptions, readings, reunions, performances by student groups and other special events.
Many attendees packed the stands at the Homecoming game, enjoyed the pregame picnic and tailgate party and chatted with President William G. Durden ’71 at the President’s Breakfast. All immersed themselves in campus life, taking tours or just strolling the grounds, meeting with professors and longtime friends and checking out newly renovated areas of campus, such as the Center for Sustainability Education in Kaufman Hall. [Story continues below.]
Parents who sought the full campus experience also ate in the Dining Hall, sat in on select Friday classes and attended a breakfast lecture by Vice President for Student Development April Vari ’82 about the college’s plans to enhance nonacademic facilities.
The parents and grandparents of Sofie Anderson ’15 flew in from San Diego and Houston, respectively, while Michael and Elham Montgomery traveled from the Los Angeles area. They were among the many family members who took part in events throughout the three days. The Montgomerys and daughter Breigh ’15 also planned to take in downtown Carlisle and squeeze in a trip to nearby Gettysburg. “There’s so much to do,” Michael Montgomery said. “Two days is not enough.”
Fun for history buffs and culture vultures
History buffs like the Montgomerys had much to celebrate. Not only could they delve into the college archives, but they also could attend a dedication ceremony for a wayside marker honoring Benjamin Rush. Sam Goodyear, a historical interpreter from Williamsburg, Va., portrayed the college founder in a program presented by the Cumberland County Historical Society.
The marker, located on the corner of West High and North West streets, features a quick-response (QR) bar code that, when scanned by an electronic device, offers additional information, including photos and text. It is one of several new QR markers that Dickinson’s House Divided Project and Historic Carlisle Inc. are jointly installing this year to mark the sesquicentennial of the start of the Civil War.
Music, theatre and art lovers also were in luck. They took in performances by student groups, readings by professors and alumni and The Trout Gallery’s current exhibition, which showcases several works by Spanish master Pablo Picasso.
The exhibit coincided with the 25th anniversary of Dickinson’s study-abroad program in Picasso’s birthplace, Málaga, Spain. Dickinson continued the celebration by presenting a lecture about Spanish architecture.
Many weekend attendees—like Peter Costanzo ’14, his father, Peter, and older sister, Laura—got a taste of local culture, as well. They sampled downtown Carlisle’s shops and restaurants and stopped by the town’s annual Harvest of the Arts Festival, held on Saturday, just a block from campus.
The home-team stands were a sea of red as Dickinsonians packed Biddle Field to cheer on the Red Devils against the Greyhounds. Although the Devils did not capture a win—Moravian College bested Dickinson, 24-12—spirits remained high, as parents, students and staff rallied for the student-athletes and caught up with friends in the stands and at the halftime alumni tailgate or alumni reception.
Steven Seland ’11, Kaitlin Irvine ’10 and Luigi Fu ’11 were among the recent graduates who rooted for the Red Devils. “It’s good to see my friends again,” Seland said.
At halftime, Dickinson recognized the newest members of the college’s Sports Hall of Fame: field hockey and lacrosse standout Brooke Doherty Thaler ’96, football player Joel R. Heintzelman ’00 and track-and-field star Michael J. Scanish ’01. The 1996-97 men’s basketball team was recognized, as well.
The 2010-11 McAndrews Award winners also were presented on Saturday. Softball player Allison Jordan ’11 was the female recipient, following an outstanding senior season which included numerous school records and a pair of perfect games. Kent Pecora ’11 capped a brilliant career in cross country and track and field. He captured an NCAA national championship in the 3,000-meter steeplechase and led Dickinson to a second-straight Outdoor Centennial Conference (CC) title.
Run for Steph
Sunday’s highlights were the President’s Breakfast and the seventh-annual Run for Steph fundraiser. The 5K run/2-mile walk was held in memory of Stephanie Kreiner ’03, a biology major, Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority member and lacrosse and field-hockey student-athlete who was killed by a drunken driver in October 2004.
The annual event honors the CC Sportsmanship Award recipient while raising awareness about the dangers of driving while intoxicated. The 420 participants were encouraged to sign a pledge to avoid drinking and driving. Because Steph was an impassioned athlete, the $7,000 raised through registration fees and donations benefits Dickinson’s McAndrews Fund for Athletics.
“This is a wonderful showing of support from all parts of the community—alumni, students, and staff,” said President Durden, who participated in the 2-mile walk with his wife, Elke.
Nicki Deutschman ’13, a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma, was among the many Run for Steph student volunteers. “What happened to Steph was terrible, and it hits close to home for Kappas, because she was one of us,” Duetschman said. “It’s important to raise awareness about drunk driving, to help prevent this from happening [to someone else].”
Speaking to participants at the start of the event, Steph’s sister, Laura Owenson, echoed that sentiment. She also thanked the crowd, saying, “Steph absolutely loved this school, and my family and I feel very blessed to have your support.”
When asked to name the best part of the 2011 Homecoming & Family Weekend, most attendees spoke about the importance of sharing meaningful experiences and maintaining contact with family and friends. Or, as Peter Costanzo ’14 explained, “It means a lot that my family comes here to spend time with me.”
For alumni, Homecoming & Family Weekend was a nostalgic experience, said Jamie Steiner ’11, who majored in psychology and Spanish and now is earning a master’s in social work at the University of Pennsylvania. “When I was a student, I did the phonathon, so I had that opportunity to reach out to alumni. Now, I’m glad that people are reaching out to me,” she said. “It’s important to feel passionate about your school and to stay connected to it.”
For family members, the weekend offered opportunities to gain a deeper understanding of their students’ undergraduate experience. “The Web site is beautiful, but to understand your child’s life, you have to come to the campus and experience it,” said Elham Montgomery, mother of Breigh ’15. “I wouldn’t miss this for the world.”
By MaryAlice Bitts Jackson
Photos by Carl Socolow '77
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