Homecoming 2019 brings alumni, Pioneer Spirit back to MVNU’s campus
MOUNT VERNON, Ohio — Alumni, faculty and staff returned to Mount Vernon Nazarene University Nov. 15-16 for Homecoming 2019 and to reunite with friends and share memories of their time on campus together.
MVNU President Dr. Henry W. Spaulding II opened the two-day celebration with the President’s Prayer Breakfast unpacking the Lord’s Prayer and how those words are reflected in all aspects of MVNU’s mission and vision.
“The God who teaches us to pray ‘Our Father who art in heaven,’ will bring His will to pass on this campus,” said Spaulding. “And may God’s Kingdom business, and God’s Kingdom rule, be evident by the decisions we make, by the lives that are transformed and by the way this campus and the power of the Spirit will change the world through the love of Christ.”
Alumni Alex Doverspike ’92, director of Supply Chain Solutions for Chick-fil-A; Michael Sellers ’05, market administrator for HCA Healthcare Physician Services Group; and Brad Kochis ’94, executive director of Alumni Relations and Advancement for MVNU, spoke to a packed lecture hall for the Boesger Christian Business Leader Series. The three speakers addressed students on topics ranging from perceptions taken from their social media to how they can incorporate their faith in any career situation.
Madison Near of Apple Creek, Ohio, was named Homecoming Queen. Near’s court included seniors Ellen Baker of Troy, Ohio, and Cecily Joy Leetch of North Ridgeville, Ohio; junior, Ashley Weber or North Benton, Ohio; sophomore, Laura Heussler of Merrimack, New Hampshire; and freshman, Abbey Faucett of Blanchester, Ohio.
“As students, alumni, family and friends gathered for Homecoming 2019, there was a unique energy and familiarity on campus,” Kochis commented. “The spirit of our Pioneer classes permeated every environment and activity that took place at both the main campus and our downtown locations. The enthusiasm that began at the President’s Prayer Breakfast set a tone of optimism. Chapel was engaging and inspiring to both alumni and current students. We are deeply grateful for everyone who ventured back and invested time at dear MVNU.”
Musical talents of MVNU students were on display Saturday afternoon. The Music Department Concert showcased student choirs and instrumental ensembles with lively entertainment for students, friends and alumni. The department’s ensembles’ reunion was filled with stories and laughter reflecting musical memories.
The Jazz Band Concert filled the Prince Student Union with incredible instrumental and vocal performances that had toes tapping and guests singing along.
MVNU honored several men’s basketball alumni from the Pioneer classes, including Don Eads and the late Wendell Towns, in addition to MVNU’s first head basketball coach Chet Foraker.
At halftime of the men’s basketball 79-65 victory over Ohio Christian University, MVNU inducted the 2008 men’s soccer team into the Wall of Fame. The 2008 squad made it to the NAIA National Semifinals, and remain the only team in MVNU history to reach that far into the tournament. Head coach Paul Furey and assistant coach Steve Lesmes were both in attendance, along with players Adam Worrall, Rockey Cane, Brady Swanson, Alex Stout, Chris Allen, Nic Bryan, Scott Spangler, Chris Mast and Cody Snouffer. The members of the 2008 team were presented with scarves by current members of the MVNU men’s soccer program, including head coach Zach Ganzberg.
On Saturday, MVNU men’s soccer and men’s lacrosse both played scrimmages on the new turf field, which were the first activities held on the turf since its completion.
Students, faculty and staff from the years 1968-75 shared two events during the weekend. A social gathering Friday night provided a casual opportunity to reconnect while Saturday’s Pioneer Spirit Reunion was a time of reflection from class leaders as well as founding and Pioneer Spirit faculty and staff.
Student body leadership from those years were represented by Student Council President Dennis M. Scott ’70, Class President Floyd Hoffman ’70, Class President Bruce Granger ’70 and Class President Sam Van Horn ’73. Lead by Glenn English ’71 who sparked the Pioneer Spirit fire, each took the opportunity to share snapshots of their days at MVNC which included stories of the first days on campus, carrying a Volkswagen Beetle onto the steps of the library, a birthday party for “Eric Darr” where Dean Martin Butler jumped out of a cake wearing a bikini, student council’s push to add trash cans on campus and even the burying of an ill-gotten 250-pound stalagmite.
“Our alumni compose a vital part of the ongoing work of the university,” said Spaulding. “Homecoming provides an opportunity for our alumni to celebrate their time here. The 2019 Homecoming was extra special because all of our two-year classes came together to celebrate the Pioneer Spirit.”
Other highlights of the weekend included Homecoming Chapel, the Cougar 5K Run/Walk benefiting Food For The Hungry, a poetry reading by Alumnus David Sapp ’87, an Alumni Celebration, a Reunion Brunch, class and affinity Group gatherings, among other events.
Mount Vernon Nazarene University is a private, four-year, intentionally Christian teaching university for traditional age students, graduate students, and working adults. With a 327-acre main campus in Mount Vernon, Ohio, and several convenient Graduate and Professional Studies locations throughout the state, MVNU emphasizes academic excellence, spiritual growth, and service to community and church. MVNU offers an affordable education to more than 2,200 students from 29 states and 14 countries/U.S. territories.
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