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WILSON, N.C. – Bound by ties of friendship and a profound love for their alma mater, Bulldogs from near and far returned to the campus of Barton College for Homecoming Weekend 2008 on October 24-26. (For photo slideshows of Homecoming 2008 and the Alumni Golf Tournament, click here.)
Overcast skies and wet, autumn weather did not dampen the spirits of alumni and their guests as they enjoyed a weekend packed with events and activities. From class and affinity reunions to sporting events to brunches, lunches, and dinners, a bounty of activities greeted this year’s participants.
Following the luncheon and tour at the Barton-Graves House, the first major event of the weekend was the Bulldog Club Superball Golf Tournament at the Wilson Country Club. Comprising 21 teams, over 80 alumni and guests battled for the best team score.
Jeremy and Jerry Tucker, Steven Brame, and Craig Brame, forming The Good Ole Boys team, secured the victory with an outstanding score of 53.
As the golfers contended on the course, tennis enthusiasts enjoyed the inaugural Homecoming Doubles Tennis Tournament, also at the Wilson Country Club. Meanwhile, those not playing golf or tennis had the opportunity to take a tour of Barton’s campus and view a pottery demonstration by associate professor of art Mark Gordon.
After the golf tournament, Alumni Happy Hour welcomed those at the country club while the men of Alpha Sigma Phi kicked off their 50th anniversary celebration with a pig pickin’ at the Alpha House.
Five new members joined the Barton College Hall of Fame Friday night at the Bulldog Club and Athletic Hall of Fame Dinner. The inductees were Rufus Outland ’59, basketball; Alton Hill ’67, basketball and track and field; Gary Farmer ’70, baseball; Mark Raynor ’96, baseball; and Tanisha Adams Dixon ’98, basketball and volleyball.
“It was such a pleasure to have 250 people with us to help celebrate the history of our athletic program and the successes of those we recognized,” said Gary Hall, director of athletics. “The personal stories shared at this banquet help us to see how Barton College has inspired the futures of its student-athletes by providing to them an exceptional educational experience.”
On Saturday morning, Barton’s English bulldog mascot, Bully, welcomed guests to the Alumni Reunions and Awards Brunch. Following the meal, Barton College president Dr. Norval Kneten unveiled the newest addition to the campus: a 6′x4′ statue of Bully. Inspiring school spirit, the large fiberglass bulldog will be placed at the entrance of Wilson Gymnasium so athletes and fans can rub its head for good luck.
The 2008 Alumni Awards were presented next: Miriam “Mickey” Moore Dunn ’47, Alumna of the Year; Morgan P. Dickerman ’79, Alumni Achievement Award; Gareth Hosford, Alumni Achievement Award; and Dr. Harold Ladwig, Honorary Alumnus.
Former student and Atlantic Christian/Barton College alumnus Russell Rawlings described Dunn as a “career educator who has remained fiercely faithful to her alma mater.” In her acceptance speech, Dunn attributed lessons on “the power of love, the power of humility, patience, respect, compassion” to the College and her parents.
“I shall forever cherish your choosing me for the outstanding honor,” said Dunn. “My love for the College has never wavered.”
Alumni Achievement Award recipient Morgan Dickerman recalled special memories of his time at Atlantic Christian College and thanked his professors. Dickerman’s gratitude for one particular professor led him to honor this educator in a special way.
“Dr. Amrut Nakhre got me through school as my political science professor, and we have established a scholarship in Dr. Nakhre’s name to thank him,” said Dickerman, who led the effort to create the scholarship.
Gareth Hosford, who also received the Alumni Achievement Award, shared his memories as a student. Thanking those who made an impact on his life while at Atlantic Christian/Barton College, Hosford recognized friends Bob and Kim Watson, Barton College president emeritus James Hemby, trustee and former vice president of student life Bobby White, professor Dr. Anand Jaggi, professor Rob Edmondson, and campus icon Tony Tilley.
“What can I say about Tony [Tilley, food services director]?” said Hosford. “Tony actually knew everything about me in college and chose to coach me in the background in a way that no professor could coach me. But, the coaching was there, and I truly appreciate it.”
Dr. Harold Ladwig received Honorary Alumnus status for his support of Barton College.
“Dr. Harold Ladwig is a man of great tact and acumen and compassion, understanding, and insight; and he’s a good friend of mine,” said Barton’s Director of Music Mark Peterson as he introduced Ladwig. “He’s one of the first people I met when I came to Wilson. His appreciation and love for art and music and theatre has resulted in a strengthening of fine arts here at Barton College. Through his solid financial management, the Barton College/Wilson Symphony Orchestra has flourished; and he has been a wonderful guardian of that endowment.”
Ladwig, originally from Iowa, thanked his family for their support over the years and thanked the College for the honor he received. Expressing his gratitude to the Wilson community for the hospitality shown to his family, Ladwig said, “We arrived here 20 years ago as strangers; but you took us in, even though we were from the North. You took us in, and we’ve been very grateful since that time. Thank you.”
Alumni Greek games followed the brunch, as well as numerous class gatherings interspersed throughout the day. Barbeque aficionados sated their pork cravings with an Eastern North Carolina barbeque dinner catered by Wilson landmark, Parker’s Barbeque. Returning by popular demand, “Spare Change” played a variety of tunes from beach to boogie during the meal. The evening concluded with the annual Homecoming Dance and the crowning of Corey Winner and Susanna Benson as Homecoming king and queen.
Sunday morning, Dr. and Mrs. Kneten welcomed alumni to the Barton-Graves House for breakfast. Afterward, First Christian Church held a service of celebration honoring Atlantic Christian and Barton College alumni that was followed by a covered-dish luncheon. Homecoming concluded that afternoon with the Alumni Baseball Game and a pig pickin’ for friends and family.
In spite of the rainy weather, Homecoming Weekend 2008 was a tremendous success. Ties were renewed, and memories were shared. And, this year’s guests know that next year’s Homecoming will be just as spectacular.
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