By Georgene Pilling ’04M, Director of Alumni Relations
Alumni returned to campus on Saturday, Oct. 15, to celebrate a festive and beautiful homecoming, enjoy the student carnival along the Walk of Pride, join families at the afternoon picnic, and cheer on the soccer, field hockey and volleyball teams. The campus grounds were beautiful, decked out in autumn splendor, and alumni were amazed at the growth of the University—new buildings, the new soccer field, the nearly complete University Commons and the lush grass on Haber Green. (More photos.)
More than 100 alumni and their families attended the evening Homecoming Picnic, reconnecting over music, dinner and games. Knight Society members were treated to a reception of “delicious delectables” in the Landman Library Reading Room, where they were welcomed by President Carl (Tobey) Oxholm III and heard remarks from study abroad participant Isabelle Bitman and international student Sara Parisi.
As has become our tradition, when darkness settled over the campus, an explosion of fireworks lit up the night sky over the Castle, celebrating the Arcadia family coming together for a memorable Homecoming weekend. The night concluded with a concert by Rick Kelley followed by the ever-popular Casino Mania.
Alumni Leadership Summit
On the same day, but on the other side of campus, more than 80 alumni—Class Presidents, Fund Agents, Editors and Reunion Chairs, Alumni Association Committee Chairs, President’s Task Force members, Chapter and Affinity Group Chairs, Alumni Association Board members, and Trustees—spanning the class years from 1941 to 2011, and coming from as far away as California, Florida and Georgia to be here, on this campus, on this day—participated in our first Alumni Leadership Summit. What a great day!
At the summit, participants were tasked with four major goals:
To come to Arcadia and get caught up in the energy of campus.
To help identify ways to engage alumni leadership and build energy for the future.
For Arcadia to help alumni support and grow the Alumni Association through leadership training.
To meet President Oxholm and get energized for the work that lies ahead.
Participants also had the opportunity to meet Alumni Association Board President Faye Senneca ’59, who welcomed alumni on behalf of the Alumni Association. She thanked the retiring Board members for their dedicated service and welcomed the new Board members, thanking them for stepping up to continue their work. Chuck Lentz ’03M and Kimberly Sterner-Stein ’88 shared the results of the President’s Task Force on Alumni Relations and listed ten recommendations for increasing alumni engagement through the work of the Alumni Association.
Throughout the day, participants began to tackle these goals, while discussing how alumni can give back to the University through their time, talent and treasure. Many new ideas were generated, including ways to more effectively communicate with constituents as well as programming that would give students and alumni more opportunities to interact. The importance of leadership development and engaging with the local community also was stressed in addition to the creation of affinity groups and regional chapters of alumni.
President Oxholm remarked, “I was honestly surprised and thrilled to have so many alumnae and alumni give us a whole day, coming early and staying late, and helping us think through how we can do a better job engaging alumni with our campus life today. The energy they brought to the discussions was renewing for us, and the ideas they proposed and started to develop will provide the steps we need to keep stepping up in quality and international recognition.”
Energy and enthusiasm filled Brubaker and Easton Hall and continued throughout the sessions. By day’s end, alumni developed an extraordinary list of action items that identified ways to engage alumni in the life of Arcadia University. The Summit ended with singing of the alma mater and a unanimous vote to hold it again next fall. Those who attended also hoped even more classes would get involved next year in the exciting work of helping to lead Arcadia to its next level.
In the spirit of the season, this was a true homecoming. It was wonderful to see so many familiar faces and to be inspired by the deep commitment alumni have for their alma mater. “So hail to Beaver/Arcadia; hail we say! Fling high the scarlet and the gray. To the finest in the land, we lay down our heart and hand.”