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F&M 'Family' Comes Together for Celebratory Weekend

Warmed by memories of the past and energized by initiatives of the present, thousands of members of the Franklin & Marshall community visited campus over the weekend to help the College celebrate a milestone and launch into the future.

More than 2,500 alumni, parents and friends of the College joined members of the campus community for Homecoming & Family Weekend Oct. 18-21 as F&M continued a yearlong celebration of is 225th anniversary. From faculty lectures to alumni gatherings to the annual Tailgate Extravaganza, the brisk and sunny weekend included more than 75 events highlighting F&M's commitment to excellence in the liberal arts, strong community spirit and engagement in the local and global communities. Many events focused on the College's anniversary theme, "Beyond 225: Inspired for Life."

The celebration marked the second consecutive year the College combined the time-honored traditions of Homecoming and Family Weekend in a single festive weekend. Dave Taylor '81, president of the F&M Alumni Association, said the event benefits from generations of alumni celebrating the College's rich history with current students and their families.

"It's exciting to see so many different communities at the College come together, including athletic teams, Greek organizations, alumni groups and other affinity groups," Taylor said. "It was a wonderful mix of students, families, alumni, faculty and friends. To get that many people together is truly memorable, and every year it seems to get better."

  • 2012 Homecoming & Family Weekend
  • Photos by Nick Gould

Images from events throughout the weekend are available in the Homecoming & Family Weekend galleries on Facebook and Flickr.

Some members of the F&M community enjoyed Homecoming & Family Weekend as both alumni and parents. Lisa Levy '81, P'16 returned as a proud alumna and mother of current first-year student Amalya Levy '16.

"I always have very warm feelings when I visit F&M. Some professors were almost like substitute parents to me, and I made strong connections here," said Levy, who counts late dean O.W. Lacy among her biggest mentors. "I didn't feel as anxious as a lot of parents sending my daughter off to college because I know she'll be cared for at F&M and have a great academic experience. It's hard for students to fall through the cracks here. The faculty cares deeply about students."

Among the weekend's highlights was "A Conversation with President Daniel R. Porterfield," an event in the Barshinger Center that highlighted F&M's national impact and excellence as a liberal arts college. Joining Porterfield on stage to speak about F&M's core strengths were Associate Professor of Biology Rob Jinks, whose work with students has resulted in a distinctive collaboration with the Clinic for Special Children; student Akbar Hossain '13, F&M's first-ever winner of the prestigious Harry S. Truman Scholarship; and F&M alumna Beth Throne '95, who leads the College's newly launched Office of Student & Post-Graduate Development.

Academic excellence was on display Oct. 19, when more than 100 students showcased their work at F&M's Autumn Research Fair in the Barshinger Life Sciences & Philosophy Building. The fair provided a forum for students to showcase work they completed in collaboration with F&M faculty members. These collaborations began at F&M in the 1950s in the natural sciences, and now encompass the College's entire academic spectrum, including the arts and humanities, social sciences and natural sciences.

The weekend also included the world premiere of a documentary film honoring the leadership of one of F&M's most distinguished alumni, the late Maj. Richard Winters '41. "Dick Winters: Hang Tough" celebrated the accomplishments of Winters -- whose story was the inspiration for the Stephen Ambrose book and HBO miniseries "Band of Brothers" -- and other servicemen who risked or sacrificed their lives on June 6, 1944, in Normandy, France.

For some alumni, simply walking around the campus proved to be the biggest highlight of the weekend. Peter Cangemi '01, an accounting major at F&M and member of Phi Kappa Psi fraternity, made the annual trek to Homecoming from New Jersey to catch up with friends and learn about current happenings at his alma mater.

"Whenever I come back to F&M, it feels like I'm coming home," Cangemi said as he watched the F&M football team defeat Moravian 34-2 at Sponaugle-Williamson Field. "I always feel welcome as I come back to see my classmates and professors. I've been excited to see the growth of my fraternity since I've graduated, and it's also been great to create new memories and friendships as I've come back to campus over the years."

One feature of the weekend that allowed alumni to celebrate the ways in which their peers have contributed to society was through the presentation of awards that honored several alumni:

  • Antony L. Mahn '65, Paula T. Dow '77, H. Philip Salmon '88, Ericka L. Powell '94 and Aaron C. Bass III '01 received the Sydney Bridgett '51 Award, a new honor presented to Franklin & Marshall alumni of African descent for outstanding achievement in a chosen profession or endeavor. Bridgett is a dedicated F&M alumnus who, after becoming the second African American graduate of the College, served as a civilian employee of the U.S. Air Force and went on to a distinguished career as an educator in the Lancaster area. Bridgett Award honorees are chosen by a panel comprising three members of the African American Alumni Council (AAAC), in addition to the director of alumni and parent relations and president of the AAAC. Porterfield and AAAC Chair Tony Ross '91 bestowed the award on the honorees.
  • Neil Davidowitz ’78, P’14 received the Alumni Volunteer Development Award, which recognizes alumni who have excelled in raising funds and obtaining pledges for the College.