Barry McNamara  |  Published October 01, 2022

The Tartan Ties That Bind

Family a major theme as Monmouth College alumni go ‘back to old M.C.’ for Homecoming Weekend 2022.

Alumni and members of the Monmouth College chapter of Zeta Beta Tau fraternity gather Saturday af... Alumni and members of the Monmouth College chapter of Zeta Beta Tau fraternity gather Saturday afternoon before the Monmouth-Lawrence University homecoming football game. Homecoming weekend 2022 featured several reunions and award ceremonies celebrating the College's deep family ties.MONMOUTH, Ill. – Monmouth College celebrated Family Weekend in mid-September. It could very well have called the Homecoming celebration that followed on Sept. 30-Oct. 1 “Family Weekend II.”

The theme of family was a thread that ran throughout the Homecoming Weekend 2022 festivities, which were staged on two glorious autumn days.

Joining the slate of traditional Homecoming activities was the inaugural Fighting Scots Champions Club ceremony, where members of Monmouth’s undefeated 1972 football team were honored, along with their coach, Bill Reichow.

“These are very special men who became part of our family,” said Reichow of the 30 players from the 9-0 squad who returned to campus for the Friday night ceremony.

Charlie Goehl ’73, one of the team’s co-captains in attendance, said he certainly felt like family after a meaningful intervention by Reichow, who personally drove him back from St. Olaf College after an in-game injury, rather than leave Goehl in a Minnesota hospital.

“I don’t remember the things that happened in the games,” said Goehl. “What I remember is what Coach did for me.”

Check out more than 2,400 photos from Homecoming 2022.

Former vice chairman of the Monmouth College Board of Trustees Bill Trubeck '68 speaks at the ded... Former vice chairman of the Monmouth College Board of Trustees Bill Trubeck ’68 speaks at the dedication of the Trubeck Amphitheater, which he funded in memory of his late wife, Judith Williams Trubeck ’69.Another special ceremony was held to formally dedicate the Trubeck Amphitheater, funded by former vice chairman of the Board of Trustees Bill Trubeck ’68 in memory of his late wife, Judith Williams Trubeck ’69.

“None of it would be possible without that generosity and love of family and Monmouth College,” President Clarence R. Wyatt said in his remarks at the dedication, held Saturday afternoon.

Located just outside the north entrance of the Center for Science and Business, the Trubeck Amphitheater helps connect the College’s west-side residence halls.

“This is a wonderful addition to what is already a beautiful campus,” said Trubeck.

The weekend also featured the Alumni Impact Awards on Friday evening, which included the induction of tech company founder and CEO Hiroyuki Fujita ’92 and U.S. Department of State veteran Karen Krueger ’72 into the Hall of Achievement – the highest honor the College bestows upon its graduates.

Pride and gratitude

At the Fighting Scots Champions Club ceremony for the 1972 football team on Friday night, Goehl and co-captain Steve Rueckert ’73 both paid tribute to the team’s third captain, Dave Brinker ’73, who died a few years ago and was the subject of many stories and memories from the players.

“I was proud to be your captain then, and I’m proud to be your captain today,” said an emotional Rueckert.

The coach-player relationship was also highlighted the next day by Taylor Thiel ’02, one of the three M Club Hall of Fame inductees.

“Words cannot express my gratitude to (former) Coach (Roger) Sander,” said an emotional Thiel of the baseball coach and 1978 Monmouth graduate, who attended the ceremony. “I hope I made you proud.”

Thiel also played basketball at nearby Galesburg High School, doing so in John Thiel Gymnasium.

“Every day I was out there, I was representing my family,” he said. “I played to make them proud.”

That was a sentiment shared by another Hall of Famer, Tanesha Hughes Newell ’09, who had attended her grandmother’s funeral the day before she was inducted.

“She would always tell me how proud of me she was,” said Newell, a three-sport standout for the Scots, who said Monmouth got on her radar through legendary Monmouth Hall of Famer Virgil “Tige” Boucher ’31.

Forever Monmouth

That Boucher was still sending students Monmouth’s way some 70 years after he graduated is a testament to the staying power of the College.

The third Hall of Fame inductee, Chris Pio ’84, touched on that theme when speaking of his three children, one of whom, Eric Pio ’26, has followed him to Monmouth.

“They know that even though their dad hasn’t coached here in several years, he never left,” said Pio. “It was all worth the effort. This is the only place I ever wanted to be, and now it’s where I’ll always be.”

Check out the Homecoming media page.

Another Homecoming honoree, Thome-Johnson family representative Katie Minor ’04, made references at the Alumni Impact Awards to connections to the College that go back even further than Boucher.

“Going all the way back to 1868, Monmouth College pointed 10 family members in the right direction,” she said at the Friday evening event.

One of those family members was her grandmother Mary Ann Thome Johnson ’45, whom Minor called “the nexus that joined the multiple generations of Monmouth graduates in our family together.”

Monmouth traditions were a big part of Minor’s upbringing, including singing the old Monmouth College songs. To conclude her remarks, she led the Alumni Impact Awards audience in a rendition of “I Want to Go Back to Old M.C.,” which was written in 1919.

Brothers and sisters

The 2022 Homecoming court, from left: Luis Castillo '24, prince; Lillian Hucke '24, princess; Tom... The 2022 Homecoming court, from left: Luis Castillo ’24, prince; Lillian Hucke ’24, princess; Tommy Green ’23, king; and Calista Warmowski ’23, queen.Later at the podium, Distinguished Alumnus Award recipient Joel Hillison ’83, a retired Army colonel, said he wouldn’t have attended Monmouth if not for his brother, Robert Hillison ’82.

In that case, a real brother made a difference. For another honoree, it was figurative sisters who enriched her time at Monmouth and beyond.

“When you join a sorority, you’re told that you’re sisters for life, but you don’t truly know what that means at the time,” said Mary Ann Larsen Zimmerman ’88, who has gone on to alumnae positions with Kappa Delta and now has the perspective to appreciate “the beauty of lifelong friendships.”

Zimmerman was inducted into the Fraternity and Sorority Hall of Fame on Saturday morning, along with Mary Grable McLeod ’87.

At the Alumni Impact Awards, educational studies professor Michelle Holschuh Simmons received the Hatch Award for Excellence in Teaching, and she, too, referenced family.

“My kids inspire me with their curiosity and their love of learning,” said Holschuh Simmons, whose husband, Bob, is also on Monmouth’s faculty.

Another faculty member, psychology professor Joan Wertz, received the Distinguished Service Award at the Alumni Impact Awards.

“I consider myself lucky to have landed in this community, to be able to have the kind of impact I do on young people, and to work to help this institution and its students thrive,” she said. “Because in return, I have thrived here, too.”

Ed Wimp ’12, stranded in Florida because of Hurricane Ian, shared via video his acceptance remarks for the Distinguished Young Alumnus Award.

“I owe a lot of what’s made me me to Monmouth,” he said. “I encourage all of you to look for ways to impact others’ lives.”

Football team member Greg Derbak ’75 echoed that sentiment during a video celebrating the 1972 squad at the Fighting Scots Champions Club ceremony.

“This place is very special to me,” said Derbak, who admitted to being “rough around the edges” during his student days. “It changed my life.”

The football team was successful when Derbak was a Scot, and it’s still winning often today. The Scots topped visiting Lawrence 62-6 in the Homecoming game on Saturday afternoon.

The night before at April Zorn Memorial Stadium, the Homecoming court was announced at the Spirit Shout. Luis Castillo ’24 of Chicago was named prince, and Lillian Hucke ’24 of Aledo, Illinois, was named princess. Tommy Green ’23 of Champaign, Illinois, was crowned king, and Calista Warmowski ’23 of Spring Grove, Illinois, was crowned queen.

Members of the undefeated 1972 football team were the inaugural members of the Fighting Scots Cha...

Members of the undefeated 1972 football team were the inaugural members of the Fighting Scots Champions Club ceremony, held in the Huff Athletic Center. At center is their coach, Bill Reichow.

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