Friendships were renewed and new memories made on the Tusculum College campus this past weekend as more than 200 alumni returned for Homecoming 2014 activities.
Alumni enjoyed two days packed with activities on campus and in the surrounding community October 17 and 18.
Friday’s highlights included a trip to Bright’s Zoo, which is home to exotic and endangered animals from across the globe; a luncheon with students; campus tours led by members of the President’s Society; an herb workshop at the Doak House Museum; an open house at the Office of Career Services, and reunion year get-togethers.
Alumni and friends of the College enjoyed the bright, sunny fall afternoon on the links during the annual Homecoming Golf Tournament, held this year at Link Hills Country Club. Winning the net division was the team of Skip Bishop ’63, Derek Cantrell, Wade Nystrom ’64 and Matt Poff ’12. The team winning the gross division included Bobby Bowers ’57, Eldon Duncan, Jack Kilday ’57 and Bill Smith ’66.
Saturday’s activities began with the annual Memorial and Chapel Service, which recognizes those alumni who have passed away since the previous year’s Homecoming. The service included a special performance of “Hymn of Promise” by the Tusculum Alumni Choir, which included daughters of Joan Faulkner Weesner ’51, who passed away earlier this year.
Chalmers Conference Center was filled for the Alumni Breakfast and annual Alumni Association meeting. The meeting included greetings to the alumni from various groups and an update on the College and the new Tusculum First Campaign from Tusculum President Nancy B. Moody.
A highlight of the meeting was the presentation of awards and the Sports Hall of Fame induction. Four awards were presented from the Alumni Association, and a coach and two former Pioneer student-athletes were inducted into the Sports Hall of Fame.
The first award presented was the National Alumni Recognition Award, which is presented to individuals who have excelled during their service to Tusculum by demonstrating a commitment to the students of the College and her programs. Lynn Battle, president of the Alumni Association, presented the award. Noting that he did have about three pages of biographical information to read about the recipient, he noted that would not be necessary as her contributions to the College are well known as he called Dr. Nancy B. Moody, president of the College, to the front to receive the award.
The National Living Faculty Award was presented to Amy Brooks, director of the athletic training program, assistant professor of athletic training and assistant athletic trainer. At Tusculum, she also serves as the certified athletic trainer for the sports of volleyball and women’s basketball. Angelo Botta ’75, who presented the award to his fellow faculty member, said Brooks goes above and beyond in her duties, often coming in early and then staying late to help students.
The Sports Hall of Fame inductions were then made. Added to the Sports Hall of Fame this year were Pioneer golf coach Bob Dibble; 2003 All-American football linebacker Craig Pritchett; and 2007 South Atlantic Conference women’s golfer of the year Shannon Palenkas Stone. (To learn more about the inductees, please visit this webpage.)
Brett Purgason ’02 was presented the Frontier Award, which recognizes outstanding alumni who have graduated between five and 15 years ago from the College. Purgason, who earned his bachelor’s degree through the Graduate and Professional Studies Program, is a dedicated member of the Tusculum College Alumni Executive Board. He is employed by the RMS Building Division, where he serves as building division manager. Purgason is active in local politics, previously serving as the chairman of the Greene County Republican Party. He serves as a board member of the Greene County Partnership and is a graduate of the Greene County Leadership Program, where he received the Outstanding Character Award.
The Pioneer Award, the highest honor presented by the Alumni Association, was given to George Ryan ’75. In presenting the award, Larry Pinkiewicz ’75 noted that Ryan, a CPA who owns his own firm, has been a strong ambassador for his Alma Mater, encouraging prospective students to come to Tusculum. He has volunteered his time to college fairs in his region in New Jersey to represent Tusculum. Ryan was unable to attend Homecoming because of a death in his family, but his award was accepted by his daughter, Ciara, a freshman at Tusculum who said she decided to come to Tusculum because of her father’s love for the school.
Following the meeting, alumni were invited to have class photos made in front of the Niswonger Commons while awaiting the beginning of the parade, which passed in front of that building. Members of the Golden Pioneer Class of 1964 were grand marshals for the parade.
The parade ended at the area of the tailgate held prior to the football game against long-time rival Carson-Newman. Although the Pioneers were not victorious, the alumni were treated to an exciting game with a series of lead changes. During half-time, the Homecoming King and Queen were crowned. Chosen through a vote of the student body, crowned were seniors Forrest Trent of Morristown and Sarah Jackson of Duluth, Ga. Both students are psychology majors and have been active leaders on campus. Trent is serving this year as a student intern in the Office of Student Affairs. Jackson is a member of the President’s Society student ambassador group.
Homecoming festivities concluded Saturday evening with an alumni dinner and dancing at the General Morgan Inn.
To view more photos from Homecoming, please visit the Tusculum College Facebook page.