Connie Graham laughed off the damp, cool weather Friday that forced a planned Anderson University homecoming cookout to seek shelter in the Decker Hall Commons breezeway.
[PHOTO: Anderson University soccer 20th anniversary celebration.]
“I’ve been here for better, been here for worse,” Graham said. She should know — it was her 38th straight year at AU homecoming.
“It’s just a great time to reconnect,” said Graham, a retired elementary school teacher, who traveled to campus with her husband, Jerry, from their Midland, Mich. home.
“This is my adopted school,” said Jerry Graham, a Church of God youth pastor. Long-standing ties to AU and to the Church of God led many to come to homecoming events that began Thursday and continued Saturday and Sunday. So did family and friends.
Sue (Zollweg) Keil, who attended Anderson from 1976 to 1979, and her husband, Mark, warmed themselves inside Decker Hall on Friday evening. They were waiting to see their son, AU junior Nathan Keil, on stage in “Cheap Thrills,” a sketch performance show and popular homecoming fixture.
“He never even considered Anderson,” Sue Keil said. But he visited, “liked the campus, liked the community,” and chose to attend AU. This homecoming, their daughter Emily is also visiting, weighing the possibility of going to AU.
Another highlight performance of homecoming Friday evening was the School of Music’s Homecoming Concert, which featured the AU Chorale, Women’s Chorus, Men’s Choir, and Chamber Orchestra. Becky Archibald, an Anderson native and 1983 AU graduate who is an award-winning concert pianist, received the Outstanding Music Alumni Award.
[PHOTO: Jeff Wight, dean of the AU School of Music, presents the 2009 Outstanding Music Alumni Award to Becky Archibald.]
At the School of Nursing, alums checked out an entirely remodeled second floor that also includes technology that puts the school at the forefront of education.
Visitors grouped around the hospital bed of SimMan 3G. He’s a remarkably lifelike mannequin with simulated vital signs and body functions. Instructors can program SimMan to have symptoms of particular ailments, giving students a feel for real-world situations without treating someone.
“This is the only one in the state of Indiana,” said Karen Williams, dean of the AU School of Nursing. “I think it says we have a great nursing program. We’re trying to really use technology to the students’ advantage.”
That was the impression made on 2006 alum Odessa Gray, now an obstetrical nurse in Connersville. “It’s so much more convenient to have all that assessment tool in one model,” she said, noting that she believed some nursing students would choose AU because of the available technology.
[PHOTO (from left): Cindy Penhorwood, Pat Griffin, Holly Renz, and Karen Roller.]
Also Friday evening, the nursing school presented the following alumni awards:
- Distinguished alumna: Cindy Penhorwood of Heart to Honduras.
- Service to the community: Holly Renz of Community Hospital Anderson.
- Friend of nursing: Karen Roller, AU executive director of development.
- Lifetime achievement: Pat Griffin, former interim dean of the School of Nursing.
– Dave Stafford is a reporter for The Herald Bulletin. Story posted with permission.
Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,800 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson continues to be recognized as a top Christian college: in 2008, U.S. News and World Report ranked Anderson University among the best colleges and universities in the Midwest for the fourth consecutive year. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, education, music, nursing, and theology.