Hundreds of Bluefield College alumni, from as far as California, returned to their alma mater, Friday through Sunday, October 15-17, to celebrate Homecoming 2010.
Like a box of chocolates or a Whitman’s Sampler, the traditional reunion weekend, titled “Indulge in the Sweet Memories,” featured reunions and activities for grads from all generations.
Designed to give the former students the opportunity to indulge in memories from college days gone by, the three-day extravaganza included a special reunion for golden grads, awards for distinguished alumni, a golf tournament and scholarship auction, alumni games in soccer and men’s and women’s basketball, music, theatre, worship, and the crowning of the Homecoming queen and king.
President David Olive formally welcomed the alumni, from as far back as 1934 and as recent as 2010. The president spoke about recent developments on campus, including the return of intercollegiate football, the creation of a rural healthcare education program, and a record number of students living in residence halls.
“We hope that you enjoy your weekend back on campus,” the president said, “and during your time here we hope that you are constantly reminded of the good experiences you had while a student at Bluefield College.”
The college kicked off Homecoming weekend on Friday by taking alumni back to the classroom as guest students with current students in a “Back to School 101” program. Alumnus Cam McLaughlin (’73) even served as a guest lecturer for a BC business class.
Later in the day, alumni and friends took part in a Homecoming Golf Tournament, designed to raise money for the BC Fund for Scholarships. The four-man team of Will Morefield, Jeff Jessee, Peyton Tierney and Brent Warner earned first place in the event that generated more than $6,500 in student scholarship aid. John Chmara won the longest drive award, and Larry Slagle (’65) earned the closest to the pin honor.
On Saturday, alumni demonstrated additional generosity with purchases made in the Homecoming Scholarship Auction. Featuring vacation getaways, recreation packages, outdoor excursions, restaurant and entertainment deals, art, crafts, and other merchandise, the live Scholarship Auction made more than $4,600 for the BC Fund, thanks to the lively bids of alumni, including BC grad Dan Agee (’73), who took home the most commemorative item of the day, a new Ram football helmet, signed by new head coach Mike Gravier.
Agee also took home an award from the weekend, as the college presented its annual alumni awards on Saturday to two distinguished former students and a longtime BC friend. Agee received the 2010 Primitivo Delgado Christian Service Award for his “service to his country,” “service to Virginia Baptists,” and “service to his alma mater.” Successful entrepreneur and consultant Joseph K. Tatum, from the class of 1971, earned the 2010 Outstanding Alumnus Award. And, Janice Hawks, wife to alumnus Doug Hawks, took home an Honorary Alumna Award for her “love for the college as demonstrated through her gifts, her support, and her dedication to the school.”
Other special alumni recognized during Homecoming weekend included members of the class of 1960, who were inducted into the Golden Graduates Society on Friday. Thirty-six BC grads from the Golden Anniversary era and beyond returned for the induction ceremony, including Wink Dillard, who traveled all the way from Lakeland, Florida, and Faye Pugh Scholl, who came all the way from San Diego, California. Each received a gold commemorative medallion and pin to celebrate the occasion.
The class of 1960 also dedicated a memorial gift on campus on Saturday. Erected to pay tribute to members of the class who have passed away since graduation, the monument is engraved with images of two students in academic regalia and a scripture that reads, “That in all things, He might have the pre-eminence.” During the dedication ceremony, the golden grads read the name of each deceased classmate and released a balloon commemorating that particular person.
Former BC student-athletes celebrated special reunions, as well, with alumni games for men’s soccer and men’s and women’s basketball. Alumni soccer players Tim Eller (’96), Jeremy Thompson (’98), Charles Kinnison (’01), Aaron Strickland (’05), Jeff Bailey (’06), Trey Brown (’07), Phillip Owens (’07), Brandon Tegeler (’08), Darren Alvaranga (’09), and Luke Davis (’10) laced up their cleats again to battle current men’s soccer players at East River Soccer Complex on Friday.
Six former men’s basketball players — including Troy Hood (’97), Kenny Dow (’97), Coryon Ross (’09), Johnny Witherspoon (’09), Mike Roundtree (’09), and Keenan Raineer (’10) — came back to the Dome to compete against current members of the men’s basketball squad on Saturday, while 13 former Lady Rams — Tyoka Hollins (’05), LaTasha Harvey (’05), Jaime Bowman Bennett (’05), Jessica Brokaw (’08), Misty Neel (’08), Ewa Bartwoviak Reedy (’08), Megan Criss (’09), Kayla Lewis (’09), Alysha Cornell (’09), Jodi Smith (’09), Brittney Whaley (’10), Leslie Cook (’10), Heather Ferrell (’10) — returned to take on current women’s basketball players the same day.
Alumni got a taste of even more sports action during the weekend as the current men’s and women’s soccer teams battled local rival Concord University on Saturday, followed by the men’s junior varsity and varsity basketball squads against Hiwassee College later in the day.
BC Theatre offered three performances of Mark Twain’s “The Diaries of Adam and Eve,” throughout Homecoming, and alumnus Derek Wright (’09) joined with current students Chris Keller and Shawn Howell to provide even more entertainment in a bluegrass music coffeehouse Friday night.
Current students crowned the Homecoming Court during a Saturday night dance. Senior Lindsey Hazelwood of Stuart, Virginia, won Homecoming Queen, while Jacob Woodrum of Bluefield, West Virginia, earned Homecoming King.
The traditional alumni weekend concluded with a Campus-Community Worship Service on Sunday. Alumnus and pastor Rod Hale from this year’s Golden Anniversary class of 1960 offered the program’s sermon, entitled “Then and Now.” BC’s Jazz Ensemble and other music students provided special music for the occasion.