10/04/2015 Peter Durantine

F&M Shone Bright Homecoming Weekend, Despite Inclement Weather (VIDEO)

Unseasonable cold, steady rain and whipping winds couldn't keep thousands of Franklin & Marshall College alumni, students and their families from turning out for one of F&M's most storied traditions, Homecoming & Family Weekend.

"Turnout has been robust," said Donna Pflum, associate director of alumni relations. "I see smiling faces everywhere I go."

Inside a packed Alumni Sports and Fitness Center (ASFC), where Saturday's Tailgate party was held rather than on waterlogged Hartman Green, everyone was in a festive mood.

"We like it in here," said Joe Nolt '59, standing in the blue-and-white-decorated gymnasium, where the three-piece band Song Smith entertained the crowd. "It's more spacious and warm." Nolt was with his wife, MariAnne, and brother, fellow alumnus Sam Nolt '61.

WATCH VIDEO:

Homecoming & Family Weekend 2015

VIEW SLIDESHOW: 

  • Returning alumni and their families take the opportunity Saturday to tour the Franklin & Marshall campus and see what has changed in the years since they graduated. Image Credit: Eric Forberger
  • Members of the Nevonian Society and the Franklin & Marshall community gather in Druker Humanities Common of the Ann & Richard Barshinger Life Sciences & Philosophy Building to honor new members. Membership is reserved for those who graduated from F&M 50 or more years ago. Image Credit: Deb Grove
  • The Frey Atrium of the Ann & Richard Barshinger Life Sciences & Philosophy Building is converted into a showcase for Friday's Autumn Research Fair, featuring the research of 80 F&M students. Image Credit: Deb Grove
  • Senior Emily Hawk discusses one of two research projects she conducted last summer. This year's spring fair on April 15 is in the Martin Library of the Sciences. Image Credit: Deb Grove
  • Guest Curator Alison Tufano '14 talks about the works of Artist-in-Residence Emeritus Bill Hutson Friday evening in the Phillips Museum of Art. Image Credit: Deb Grove
  • The Alumni Sports & Fitness Center is transformed for Friday evening's Athletic Hall of Fame Dinner. Image Credit: Eric Forberger
  • Dean of the College Margaret Hazlett (left) and Director of Athletics & Recreation Patricia S.W. Epps congratulate Athletic Hall of Fame inductee Wendy Somers ’85, a standout swimmer for the Diplomats during her time on campus. Image Credit: Eric Forberger
  • From left, Kristen O'Sullivan, Brittany Lovely and Luci Lantos smear cream cheese on their bagels during the first Brooks House Alumni Memories Bagel Breakfast Saturday morning. Image Credit: Deb Grove
  • President Daniel R. Porterfield congratulates Bridgett Award recipient Jinnie Cristerna '94 during Saturday morning's African American Alumni Council Award Breakfast as Shadoe Tarver '10 looks on. Image Credit: Eric Forberger
  • On Saturday, Bill Curtis '61 (left) was among the many alumni meeting and greeting friends at the booth set up in the Alumni Sports & Fitness Center by the Franklin & Marshall College Alumni Association, which is marking its 175th year. The association represents 26,000 alumni worldwide. Image Credit: Deb Grove
  • Students celebrate Saturday during Alpha Delta Pi sorority's philanthropic fundraiser, The Mane Event, an afternoon of card games during which students won a variety of prizes. Image Credit: Eric Forberger
  • Beth Throne '95, associate vice president of the Office of Student & Post-Graduate Development, speaks to parents during the office's Breakfast Briefing Saturday morning. Image Credit: Deb Grove
  • Cold, windy weather did little to deter fans of the Franklin & Marshall football team from packing Sponaugle-Williamson Field for the Diplomats' battle against Dickinson College Saturday. Dickinson prevailed, 13-7. Image Credit: Deb Grove
  • Louise Stevenson, professor of History and American Studies (left), and Alison Kibler, professor of American Studies and Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies and chair of Women’s & Gender Studies, sign copies of their recent books at the Barnes & Noble bookstore in Distler House. Image Credit: Deb Grove
  • Happy Theatre Dance & Film Hour members perform the song "Hair," from the musical "Hair," which will be performed in its entirety Oct 29- 31 at 7:30 p.m. and Nov 1 at 2 p.m. in the Roschel Performing Arts Center. Image Credit: Deb Grove
  • KelseyLeigh Reber '16, who has published two novels since arriving at F&M, addresses loyal donors and College supporters at Saturday evening's Tribute Dinner in the Alumni Sports & Fitness Center. Image Credit: Eric Forberger
  • The College's most loyal supporters gather in the Alumni Sports & Fitness Center Saturday evening for F&M's annual Tribute Dinner. Image Credit: Eric Forberger

Rain fell throughout the day Friday as the first alumni and families began to arrive for the Nevonian Luncheon and the Autumn Research Fair, where 80 students presented research projects they had been working on since the start of the summer.

Molly Cadwell, a senior American studies and environmental science major, focused her research on the successful effort to stop the building of a power plant that would have destroyed the natural surroundings on New York's Hudson River. She said the experience helped her define her post-graduate pursuits.

"It made me really excited to want to go into environmental policy, and made me realize that law school is the right way to go in that field," she said.

Bringing Together Generations

At Friday's Nevonian Luncheon — an intimate gathering of alumni who graduated 50 years ago or earlier — Hank Eberle '55, who played football and basketball for F&M, said he has been returning to campus for Homecoming for more than half a century.

"What I enjoy most is meeting the young students," he said. "I've met a lot of great athletes."

Friday evening's highlight was the Athletic Hall of Fame Dinner, during which six former Diplomats, one former coach, and a basketball team that set a national collegiate scoring record were inducted into the Hall. Honored were: Jerome Taylor '83, basketball and baseball; Anjali Rajkumar '02, women’s squash; Brad Ramsey '88, football; Wendy Somers '85, women's swimming; Ed Woge, women's cross country coach; Bruce Cobb '77, men's lacrosse; Robert Kaithern '75, football; and the 1952 men's basketball team.

"These athletes exemplify the spirit of excellence," said Patricia S.W. Epps, F&M's director of athletics and recreation. "They were dedicated and disciplined and became leaders among their teammates and in competition. Our teams today have the same spirit. I know the young athletes in our audience hope to one day stand on this stage, to be accorded the honor of being inducted into F&M Athletic Hall of Fame."

Something For Everyone

Umbrellas popped open Saturday morning as the rains persisted, but early risers shrugged off the showers to packed the Carolyn S. And Robert W. Wohlsen Center for the Sustainable Environment, which was hosting Kappa Delta's second annual all-you-can-eat flapjack event, Pinwheels and Pancakes.

"In spite of the weather, people are really showing up," said senior Erin Moyer, working behind the counter with several other sorority members, including senior Olivia Bendit, who sprinkled chocolate chips in the just-poured-batter of pancakes on the grill. "I'm responsible for making sure it's all gluten free," Bendit said.

At the African-American Alumni Council breakfast, Shadoe Tarver '10 introduced the five 2015 recipients of the Sydney N. Bridgett '15 Award: Patricia Millet Claybrook '84, Jinnie Cristerna '94, Henry Wiggins Jr. '55, Randy Wilkins '01 and Anthony Williams '79.  

"Just like Sydney, the award is about celebrating the accomplishments of African-American alumni," Tarver said.

Prior to the Tailgate, F&M President Daniel R. Porterfield and a panel comprising two faculty members and a student gathered in Barshinger Center for Musical Arts to talk with parents about the College's mission, its academic programs and its dedication to collaborative scholarship.

"A liberal arts education empowers students to understand the world we live in and to create their lives," Porterfield said.

At the Tailgate party, tents were erected outside the ASFC, where academic departments and campus organizations set up tables to share information with inquisitive alumni and families. As students and alumni visited the modern language tables, Assistant Professor of French Carrie Landfried said people had packed the morning's Study Abroad panel discussion at the Joseph International Center. 

"There is a lot of interest," Landfried said. "Having a good grasp of another language opens so many doors."

Memories Old And New

Among the various indoor events was an open house at WFNM, the campus radio station. Senior Nora Bryson, who has two radio programs, was in the DJ's chair, broadcasting. Her mother, Cathy Childs Bryson '83, who had a radio program when she attended F&M, looked on approvingly.

"We had to drag our records around," said Cathy Bryson, admiring the computer program her daughter used. "The cool thing now is we can listen online and hear her shows every week."

The rains ended a few hours before the football game on Sponaugle-Williamson Field, giving fans more reason to cheer as the Diplomats battled the Dickinson Red Devils for the coveted Conestoga Wagon Trophy. F&M's century-old rival captured the trophy 13-7, dealing the Diplomats their first defeat after starting the season 4-0.

Later that evening, at F&M's annual Tribute Dinner, Kelsey Leigh Reber, a senior biological foundations of behavior major and author of two novels, gave the student remarks.

"I knew that F&M would be an important step toward my dreams [and that] I would learn much in the liberal arts environment, filled with engaging, small classroom discussions and students with diverse passions," Reber told the large gathering of College supporters. "But what I did not know — what I never could have realized when I first applied — was that F&M would be so much more than just another step toward achieving my goals later in life. Rather, over the next four years, F&M would provide me with boundless opportunities to achieve my dreams no

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