The inauguration of a new president is cause for celebration, anticipation and pride. Throughout the week of October 15—a week that culminates on Saturday, October 22, with the inauguration of Troy D. VanAken as the 14th president of Elmhurst College— the College will host a variety of events on campus to commemorate this historic moment.
From theater and music performances to social gatherings and a home football game, Inauguration Week activities promise joyful opportunities for the campus to celebrate with President VanAken and his wife, Dr. Annette VanAken, and to showcase what it means to belong to the extraordinary Elmhurst College community.
Inauguration Week begins with a football game on Saturday, October 15, as the Bluejays take on the Carthage College Red Men at Langhorst Field. President VanAken will serve as honorary captain of the team, and Bluejay fans will get a chance to take photos not only with the new president but also with team mascot Victor E. Bluejay.
That evening, the VanAkens will attend the final performance of The Addams Family: A New Musical, at the Mill Theatre. Directed by Associate Professor of Theatre Janice Pohl, the production brings the macabre yet familiar story of everybody’s favorite Gothic American family to the stage.
On Sunday afternoon, October 16, the VanAkens will attend the Elmhurst College Wind Ensemble and Symphonic Band Concert, which will feature Director of Bands James Hile in his first appearance as full-time conductor of the Wind Ensemble.
During the week, staff, faculty and students will gather with the new president at two lunchtime events. On Wednesday, October 19, all Elmhurst College staff and faculty are invited to a barbecue lunch on the Brune Patio to enjoy time with each other and the VanAkens. The next day, the Student Government Association and Union Board will sponsor a Bluejay BBQ with food, music and games for all students.
The VanAkens also will attend some smaller evening celebrations during Inauguration Week. The College’s Department of Nursing and Health Sciences will hold its first “white coat ceremony” to welcome about 80 nursing students to the professional part of their training. At the Founders Medal dinner, for members of the Elmhurst College Board of Trustees and invited guests, the College will recognize and honor this year’s recipients of the Founders Medal, given to those who further the mission of Elmhurst College through personal service and philanthropy. This year’s winners are BMO Harris Bank, Professor Wallace Lagerwey and the Stanger family.
All students are invited to the Spiritual Life Council Inauguration Celebration on Wednesday, October 19. The event is not only a social occasion for students to meet the president and welcome him to the College, but also a time to spotlight the different religious and spiritual student organizations on campus.
On Thursday evening, October 20, all are invited to a public lecture and discussion titled Ethical Intelligence: Becoming Stronger Leaders, Citizens and Friends, part of the Rudolf G. Schade lecture series at Elmhurst College. The lecture will be led by Bruce Weinstein, a popular business columnist who writes about character, leadership and "ethical intelligence," and whose appearances have been described as meaningful, interactive and fun.
On Saturday afternoon, October 22, all are invited to Hammerschmidt Memorial Chapel to attend Imagining Elmhurst: The Inauguration of the Fourteenth President of Elmhurst College.
That evening, students are invited to dress up and party the evening away at the Inaugural Ball, which will be held in a transformed Founders Lounge with a deejay providing the music.