More than 1,000 alumni, students and parents braved cold, wet weather to show their Bluejay spirit during Homecoming and Family Weekend 2012.
The weekend’s festivities began on the evening of Thursday, October 11, with a welcome-back event for alumni who graduated six months ago and alumni who graduated 65 years ago. Other highlights included class reunions, 13 affinity reunions, opportunities to sit in on classes taught by Elmhurst faculty, and the football team's 35-30 win over Wheaton College.
This year, the College launched a new tradition with the first annual Homecoming Convocation. Held in Hammerschmidt Memorial Chapel, the convocation honored recipients of the Faculty Merit Award, Alumni Merit Awards and Bluejay Backer Hall of Fame awards.
Elmhurst College Jazz Band Director Doug Beach received the Dr. Andrew K. Prinz Faculty Merit Award for his dedication and commitment to Elmhurst students. A performer, composer, arranger and Grammy Award winner, Beach has taught at Elmhurst College since 1978.
Alumni Merit Awards, established in 1962 by the College's Alumni Association, were given to Ronald (Ron) Koeppl ’61, Valerie Mazzone ’05 and Bob Mills ’64.
Koeppl, who received the College’s Distinguished Service to Society Award, is chair of the Norris Cultural Arts Center and co-president for the Fox Valley Retired Educators. He has been a dedicated alumnus of the College, serving as 1961 class representative and staying in constant contact with classmates. He also is a President’s Society member.
Mazzone received the G.O.L.D. (Graduates of the Last Decade) Award. A double major in psychology and sociology at Elmhurst, she received a master’s in school social work from Loyola University and a master’s degree in education from Olivet Nazarene University. Mazzone is a social worker and assistant principal of summer school for the Bensenville Elementary School District.
Mills received the College’s Distinguished Service to Alma Mater Award. A business administration major at Elmhurst, he is currently a senior sales associate with Koenig and Strey Realty. Mills dedicated time to the College by giving inspirational talks to the football team during the season, and was a regular, supportive presence at practices and games. He also mentors a student through the Center for Professional Excellence and is a member of the President’s Society.
Nicole Carlson ’06 and Kim Meyer ’02 were inducted into the 2012 Bluejay Backer Hall of Fame.
Carlson was a two-time All-American and four-time all-conference selection as a member of the volleyball team. In her four-year career, the Bluejays captured three College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin Championships and played in the NCAA Tournament all four years.
Meyer was a two-year member of the Elmhurst volleyball team and earned a pair of All-America honors during the 2000 season in which she helped lead the Bluejays to their second CCIW Championship. Meyer also received the College’s Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year in 2001.
Throughout the weekend, alumni from all generations shared stories from their Elmhurst experiences and expressed enthusiastic support for the College today.
“What a remarkable weekend! It was a time that I will remember for the rest of my life,” said Jerry Schriver ’62. “When I called classmates to encourage them to return to campus for Homecoming, I made it a point to say, ‘This is a once in a lifetime event.’ And was that right on target!”