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Homecoming is jam-packed with big events

Barry McNamara
Last year’s Monmouth College Homecoming court, including Ben Morrow, Kristen Wyse, Danielle Kita and Gavin Halpin, poses for a photo at the Spirit Shout at April Zorn Memorial Stadium. This year’s event, with its theme “Dream Big,” will be held on campus Oct. 21-23.
Monmouth College’s fifth annual President’s Homecoming Gala will be one of many highlights of Homecoming Weekend, Oct. 21-23.

The college will also host a forum on the Midwest’s economy, induct U.S. diplomat Jerry Mitchell ’67 into its Hall of Achievement and welcome four Fighting Scots athletes into the M Club Hall of Fame. In addition, a free concert featuring the Monmouth Chorale will be performed and the Fighting Scots football team will host Beloit.

All Monmouth College alumni are invited to return for the weekend, which will include reunions for the classes of ’71, ’74 ’76 ’86, ’91 ’96, 2001, 2006 and 2011.

Homecoming shirts will be available for purchase. The red T-shirts have short sleeves and feature the Homecoming theme, “Dream Big.” Shirts may be purchased from the college’s alumni office for $15.

On Oct. 21, the college will host its third Midwest Matters forum at 2 p.m. in Wells Theater. This year’s keynote speaker is Richard Longworth, senior fellow at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and author of the book “Caught in the Middle: America’s Heartland in the Age of Globalism.” Free and open to the public, the forum is part of the college’s comprehensive effort to research, analyze and celebrate the traditions, trends and future prospects for America’s heartland.

The President’s Homecoming Gala will begin Friday at 5:30 p.m. in the Huff Athletic Center fieldhouse. Tickets for the event are available for $50 through the alumni office. Advance registration is required. The semiformal event, which will begin with a social hour, will include a candlelight dinner and an address by President Mauri Ditzler. The induction of Mitchell into the Hall of Achievement, which is the highest honor Monmouth College bestows upon its graduates, will also be included in the program.

Mitchell spent nearly 30 years with the U.S. Foreign Commercial Service, helping U.S. business overseas, most recently as senior commercial officer in Mexico from 2002 to 2004. Prior to that, he served two years in Washington, D.C., as a deputy director general, the top career position in the service. Mitchell was also posted in Korea, Belgium, Greece, Canada and Africa. Currently, Mitchell is an adjunct professor of international business at Austin Community College, which has 40,000 students at eight campuses. He also serves as associate director of the college’s Export Education Program.

Other alumni award winners that will be announced at the gala include: Jackie Zachmeyer ’89, finance director for construction and forestry at Deere and Co., who will receive the Distinguished Alumnus Award; retired judge Daniel Weber ’74, who will receive the Distinguished Service Award for his nine years as a member of the college’s alumni board; Rural King president Alex Melvin ’05, who will receive the Young Alumnus Award; and the Geiger family, which will receive the Family of the Year Award. Professor Steve Buban, chair of the sociology and anthropology department, will be presented with the college’s Hatch Award for Distinguished Teaching.

The gala will be followed by the traditional Homecoming spirit shout at April Zorn Memorial Stadium at 8:30 p.m. The celebration, which will feature competition by student organizations and the introduction of Homecoming royalty, will conclude with a fireworks display.

Saturday’s events will begin at 8:30 a.m., as Monmouth College inducts four athletic greats into the M Club Hall of Fame. The ceremony for football star Mike Schmitz ’80, two-sport standout Lamar Rudd ’95, all-conference volleyball player and current MC coach Kari Bailey Shimmin ’97 and All-American sprinter Constance Jackson ’01 will be held on the main concourse of the Huff Athletic Center. It is free and open to the public.

The Homecoming parade on East Broadway between 6th Street and 9th Street, will begin at 11 a.m. Sponsored by the college’s Association for Student Activity Programming (ASAP), it will include the Monmouth College Pipe Band and Fighting Scots Marching Band. Last year’s Homecoming king and queen will also ride in the parade, as will the 2011 Homecoming court, the M Club Hall of Fame inductees, alumni award recipients and the 40th- and 25th-year reunion classes. The Homecoming theme “Dream Big” will be reflected in several floats by student organizations.

At 11:30 a.m., an all-alumni cookout will be held “under the big top” on the lawn of Quinby House, home of President and Mrs. Ditzler. The cost is $7 for adults and $4 for children under the age of 12.

At the same time, a dedication ceremony for the Class of 2011’s gift of a new outdoor classroom will be held on the lawn of Wallace Hall. The space is paved in brick and lined with granite boulders and azalea bushes. A 50th anniversary reception for alumni who worked at the college radio station (WMCR) will also be held at 11:30 a.m. in the Tartan Room in the Stockdale Center.

The Homecoming football game against Beloit will kick off at 1 p.m. at April Zorn Memorial Stadium. Also in action will be former members of MC’s volleyball team, who will compete in an Alumni Game at 11:30 a.m. in Glennie Gym, and former members of the baseball team, who will play an Alumni Game on Sunday at 10:30 a.m. at Glasgow Field. Alumni swimmers have also been invited back to campus by the team’s new coach, Alex de la Pena.

Beginning at 3:30 p.m., the public is invited to tour the new educational garden east of Founders Village. A dedication ceremony will be held at 4 p.m. at the garden, a 1/2-acre site that includes vegetables, herbs, native plants, fruit trees, an irrigation system and a bee colony.

Open house events will be held by the college’s current and past Greek organizations at 3:30 p.m. at various campus locations. Other open houses will be hosted by the English department at 11:30 a.m. in the Mellinger Teaching and Learning Center, and by the fine arts departments at 3:30 p.m. in Wells Theater.

An All-Scots Celebration, featuring free food, live music and kids’ activities will be held after the football game at 4 p.m. at Quinby House.

Homecoming activities Saturday evening will include a free concert by the college’s Chorale, Concert Choir and Chamber Choir at 7:30 p.m. in the Kasch Performance Hall of the Dahl Chapel and Auditorium. Director of choral and vocal activities Tim Pahel will lead the Chorale and the Chamber Choir, which is a new, highly select, 17-member group composed of Chorale personnel. The new ensemble performs repertoire best suited for small groups, such as vocal jazz and madrigals. The Concert Choir will perform under for the first time under new director Pier Debes, a recent graduate of Knox College who also directs choirs at Costa Catholic School and First Presbyterian Church in Galesburg.

On Sunday at 9 a.m., President Ditzler will host a brunch in Stockdale Center, during which he will address in depth several key plans, issues and initiatives.

To see a full schedule of events, visit