Sometimes you wonder if it’s really worth all the brainstorming, planning and attention to fine detail when Homecoming weekend comes and then just flies by. It is worth it! Just ask anyone who made the trek to Lamoni for Homecoming 2017.
For the record, an irritable weatherman did his very best to dampen our spirits on Homecoming Saturday but the Memorial Student Center and the Floyd McDowell commons did fine in accommodating an eager and energetic crowd as traditional outdoor events moved inside.
The Homecoming theme, “The Power of Together” played out thru the weekend starting on Friday with the inauguration of Dr. Pat Draves as the University’s 18th President. A very cozy meet and greet reception followed in the Shaw Center Lobby.
Later in the afternoon alumni and friends packed Carol Hall for a top notch performance of the GU concert choir followed by the 18th annual Emeriti and Alumni Award Banquet in the Shaw Center Lobby. Dan ’61 and Beth Whittemore of Denver, Colorado, received the prestigious Distinguished Service Award while Beth also joined the Honorary Alumni ranks. Rob Kuehl of Kansas City, Missouri, was also selected as an Honorary alumnus and Gretchen Booz ’55 of Grain Valley, Missouri was honored with the Graceland Award of Recognition.
While we are talking awards, the alumni board honored John James on the Independence campus and Paula Anderson in Lamoni with their annual Behind the Scenes Award which goes to staff who work tirelessly each and every day on behalf of the University.
The 18th annual student Airband Show did not disappoint with first place honors going to the house combination of Solah, Shalom and Faunce with a wonderful salute to the movie “Elf.” Those just not quite good enough for top honors were able to drown their sorrows at the 2nd annual Root beer Float post Airband party at the Shaw Center Amphitheatre.
The football pep rally and Homecoming court celebrations went off without a hitch inside the Commons with Jeremy Deemer of Lamoni voted King by the student body and Tamela Hill of Kansas City, Missouri was selected as Queen. The results on the football field were not nearly as enjoyable with 12th ranked Benedictine thumping the Yellowjackets 56-0. The off and on rain showers cancelled both varsity soccer matches.
This Homecoming’s special guests were alumni and friends associated with the men’s Volleyball program celebrating 50 years of success with a private luncheon in the Higdon Administration building’s Harpham Chapel. Legendary Head Coach Rod Schall ’50 was the guest of honor and loved every minute of it. The Graceland campus also sported dozens of alumni couples who took part in a special recommitment ceremony headed up by the first family of the Community of Christ, Steve and Kathy Cackler Veazey. It was truly a special and memorable event.
The Unpredictables brought down the house for a second straight year on the MSC stage Saturday night while four lucky alumni couples found out just how well they really knew each other by taking part in the Oldy Wed game hosted by Alumni Programs director Paul J. Davis ’77. As it turned out Jerry ’65 and Sandra Mogg ’66 of St. Joseph, Missouri were the winning couple while the others went home to squabble.
What would Homecoming be without the always enjoyable and entertaining Homecoming play? This year’s production of “Lend Me a Tenor” was off the charts funny with a small cast long on talent and jocularity. Well done! Bravo!
Thanks to all of the honor classes who came back to celebrate yet another milestone in their Graceland journeys with a special “job well done” to the Class of 1967 celebrating 50 years.
For those of you who missed Homecoming, please enjoy the dozens of pictures located at the Homecoming 2017 Photo Galleries. Click here or on the Homecoming 2017 Photo Galleries link under the Homecoming menu to the left.
The dates for Homecoming 2018 have been set. Please mark your calendars for October 5-7, 2018. We will be honoring class years of 1958, ‘68, ’78, ‘83, ‘88, ‘93, ‘98 and 2008. Now that you’ve read what a great time we all had this year make sure you do not miss all of the fun next year. Homecoming at Graceland: what a time, what a place, and we get to do it every year.
Paul J. Davis ‘77