Alumni Gather for Homecoming Weekend
During the annual Alumni Homecoming Weekend, alumni, students, faculty, and friends of the university gathered to celebrate the 100th year of Southern Adventist University being located in Collegedale, Tennessee. Held October 27-30, the weekend was filled with numerous events aimed at reconnecting alumni with each other and their alma mater.
According to the director of alumni relations, Evonne Crook, in addition to many departmental gatherings, the alumni were invited to re-experience the university along with its new additions.
“I hope that the alumni had a chance to see what is new on campus and all of the exciting fun things that are happening here,” Crooks said. “I also hope they had a chance to connect with students along the way and could reconnect with each other and share in the historic celebration.”
The School of Nursing celebrated its 60th year with a reunion dinner. Nursing alumni, many of whom had not been back to the school since their graduations, came together to reminisce and see how the program had developed over the years. According to Barbara James, dean of the School of Nursing, more than 200 out of the programs 4,300 graduates were in attendance. One of the graduates who came was part of the inaugural nursing class of 1965.
The weekend also featured a Beyond the Columns supper in which alumni were encouraged to network and meet with current Southern students. During the meet-and-greet, Marsie Mawunta, junior allied health major, was able to meet Southern alumnus Rick Stevens, PhD, her mentor from Leadership Education through Alumni Partnerships (LEAP) for the first time in person.
“With Dr. Stevens as my LEAP mentor, I was able to gain advice and insight on choosing a career path, taking the MCAT, and shadowing opportunities near the area,” Mawunta said. “We have corresponded through email more than five times now, and not only have we discussed academic pursuits, but also spiritual growth and letting God lead your life journey.”
Robert Potts, ’66, was the class president for this year’s 50th reunion class of 1966. He believes that the weekend was a success and that being able to come back to Southern is a nostalgic opportunity.
“It was an outstanding time. Getting close to my classmates was rewarding to me, and I can’t tell you how thrilled I was to have the experience.” Potts said. “It was nice to be able to come home again.”
The weekend concluded with a community fall festival in the Collegedale Veteran’s Park celebrating Southern’s move from Graysville, Tennessee, to its current location in 1916. The event featured an antique car show, a Gym-Masters demonstration, and multiple booths providing fun and activities for all age groups.
Although this is the 100th year in Collegedale for the university, 2017 will be the 125th anniversary of Southern’s founding, another reason for celebration in the near future.