Elmhurst College celebrated Homecoming 2018 with a first-ever block party on Alexander Boulevard, reunions, recognition of distinguished alumni, dedications to a former Bluejays football captain and a beloved music professor, and much more.
With a theme of Around the World, a highlight of Homecoming this year was the inaugural Bluejay Block Party on Saturday, Oct. 20. Alexander Boulevard was blocked off outside Langhorst Field so that alumni, family and friends could visit food trucks, play games and take part in other activities.
At the Alumni Merit Awards Breakfast, held earlier that morning, awards were presented to three alumni who have made exemplary contributions to society and to the College.
- The Young Alumni Award was presented to the Rev. Emily Ann Davis ’09, pastor at the First Congregational Church in Crystal Lake, Ill., and a participant in the United Church of Christ’s Next Generation Leadership Initiative.
- Reema Syeda Kamran ’01, co-founder and director of R&R Event Management, received the Distinguished Service to Society Award in recognition of her work to empower non-profit organizations and amplify civic engagement within the Muslim community.
- The Distinguished Service to Alma Mater award honored Harold Edward Brueseke ’65, a former magistrate judge who retired from a long and distinguished legal career in 2013.
As part of the 25th reunion of the Class of 1993, football teammates and classmates dedicated a tree by the victory bell on Langhorst Field to honor the life of former Elmhurst football captain and punter Steve Watwood. A decorated veteran, accountant and active volunteer, he died in June at the age of 48. His friend David Watkins ’93 called the tree a celebration of his life, with the branches representing different parts of his life (family, military service, friends) and the roots representing “the roots he’s given to all of us.” Watwood’s wife and three young daughters also attended.
Also on Saturday, more than 100 former music students, family and friends of beloved music professor Ross Kellan gathered to dedicate a bench in his memory. Located along a leafy walkway between Irion Hall and Old Main, the bench is a spot where anyone can “take a moment out of their day to have as conversation with a fellow student, take a break from a busy week, and remember Professor Kellan’s kind and outgong spirit,” said Kelly Thelen ’14. Kellan, who died in 2017, joined Elmhurst in 2005 as the College’s director of music education and conductor of the Symphonic Band.
On Friday, Oct. 19, about 150 members of the College community, including alumni, attended Act for Justice: An Anti-Violence Teach-In, to learn how to confront violence and work toward justice. Guest speaker Ameena Matthews, a member of the anti-violence group The Interrupters, gave the keynote address, followed by hands-on workshops led by scholars and activists.
Later that evening, students and alumni attended a pep rally and bonfire on the Mall. Others attended a performance of the musical The Pajama Game at the Mill Theatre, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.