‘Graceland Forever’ Kickoff set for Saturday October 15
Everyone is invited to attend a special Graceland Forever campaign kickoff ceremony Saturday at 11 a.m. as Graceland’s 2011 Homecoming gets in full swing this weekend, October 14-16. The ceremony will take place on the Brick Plaza in front of the Higdon Administration Building.
Gracelanders from our local communities, and from around the world, will gather Saturday morning to hear the messages and testimony of Graceland President John Sellars, Board Chair Ken McClain, distinguished alumni, faculty and staff, and from our current students. The Graceland Forever Capital Campaign launch will set the university’s course for dramatic infrastructure transformation on campus, and program additions and improvements that will ensure a vibrant future for Graceland University.
Marquee academic programs, quality faculty development, new faculty positions and endowed chairs in developing academic fields, not to mention competitive salaries and research funds, are at the heart of Graceland Forever: The Campaign for Graceland University. President John Sellars set the target of Graceland’s new and aggressive campaign to raise $75 million. He said, “It is the most ambitious goal Graceland University has ever set.”
There is a jam-packed schedule of events and activities set for GU’s Homecoming Weekend. See the entire schedule, complete with venue locations and times, at: www.graceland.edu/Alumni/Homecoming/Homecoming-Schedule.
We look forward to seeing you back on “the Hill” this weekend. And, if you haven’t been on campus for a while, you are in for a surprise. Beautiful new student apartments – the ‘Small’ and ‘Thomas’ Apartments, located along University Avenue at the corner of Cedar Street – were just completed in time for students to move in this fall. Also, a large, new parking lot has just been completed across from The Helene Center for the Visual Arts.
To top off the construction renaissance taking place on campus, work is well underway on what will be a stunning new Shaw Center. The front section of the building has been removed and major, structural work is taking place. Project completion is scheduled for fall 2012. The $16 million Shaw Center expansion and renovation will feature a new black-box theatre, a new 150-seat, state-of-the-art recital hall, an exterior amphitheater seating area, a stunning new atrium/lobby and gathering area, a long, north-facing corridor/art gallery, and much more.
You will see that the parking lot between the Shaw Center and the Higdon Administration Building has disappeared. A new circle drive is complete in front of the Ad. Bldg., and the center of campus will now be entirely pedestrian. Like our Homecoming theme this year proclaims, Graceland University is ‘Building a Great Forever.’
There are myriad events taking place on campus during Graceland’s annual fall classic. The Yellowjacket football team will take on Central Methodist University at 2 p.m. at Huntsman Field. A tailgate party, featuring a barbeque and live music from the Graceland Jazz Band, is set for 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. to get you ready for the game.
GU’s basketball, volleyball, baseball, softball and soccer teams will take on alumni teams at events throughout the weekend. Visit the Web site schedule for times and locations of these events and the many other activities taking place.
Make sure to see the Homecoming musical, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. There will be performances on Thursday (Oct. 14), Friday and Saturday nights (at 8 p.m.), and a Sunday matinee (at 3 p.m.). GU Theatre coordinator Tracy Salter (who is directing) urges community members to attend either the Thursday, Friday or Sunday performances. The Saturday night performance is sold out because of the large number of alumni on campus for Homecoming. Tickets (all seats are $5) are going fast for the other performances as well.
Because of the construction taking place on the Shaw Center, the Homecoming play this year will be performed in the Main Room of the Memorial Student Center. There is seating for only 300 for each performance so again, Salter urges regional theatre lovers to attend any performance except Saturday night. Tickets are available through Kathy Templeton in the GU Division of Visual and Performing Arts by calling 641.784.5270. You can also stop by the 2nd Floor of The Helene Center for the Visual Arts, on the Lamoni campus, to purchase your tickets. No email ticket sales are available this year.
This is expected to be an outstanding Homecoming musical, including a large ensemble cast of Graceland students and area residents. The 25th Annual Putnam Country Spelling Bee enjoyed a long run on Broadway, and it was produced at theatres and colleges around the country. It was performed to packed houses at the Des Moines Civic Center two years ago. It is a fun, engaging show that is suitable for the entire family.
Join the fun at the annual Student Airband contest at 9 p.m. Friday, in the Closson Center, when the various ‘Houses’ at GU compete against each other with elaborate, raucous, loud, amazing (and many other adjectives) performances that rocks the house – literally.
And, don’t forget the choir concert to be held at 10 a.m. Saturday in The Cheville Chapel.
A very special alumni art exhibition is planned for the Constance Gallery in The Helene Center. Linda Perry Lewis, a 1975 GU graduate, is presenting an outstanding ceramics show called ‘Finding Voice,’ that we think will “wow” visitors. The reception is scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday evening, the 14th, and the exhibit will be up all weekend. Perry is a retired school teacher who lives in West Des Moines.
From 4 to 5:30 p.m. Saturday, a reception is planned to celebrate the 80th birthday of Professor Emeritus Dr. Bruce Graybill. All of Dr. Graybill’s friends are urged to stop by the Resch Science and Technology Hall to wish him a happy birthday.
Special campus tours will be available at 10 a.m. Saturday for prospective Graceland students who would like to learn more about life on “the Hill.” Admissions counselors will greet students and their parents in the Higdon Administration Building lobby. High school students are also invited to a special gathering at 11:30 a.m. on the east lawn of the Hampton Center. Students can learn more about Graceland and enjoy free pizza and sub sandwiches.
Again, you can access the complete schedule at: www.graceland.edu/Alumni/Homecoming/Homecoming-Schedule.