Annual Alumni Banquet Held at Concord University
Athens, W.Va. – Homecoming week at Concord University sees many of the alumni and friends of the University return to “the campus beautiful” to fellowship with past and present students, cheer on the Mountain Lion football team, and see how their University is growing. On Friday, October 6, 150 alumni, students and friends of Concord gathered for the annual homecoming banquet.
The banquet’s festivities began with a special dedication outside the J. Frank Marsh Library of two new bronze mountain lion statues sculpted by Concord alumnus Michael Sizemore. The sculptures feature one young mountain lion poised to explore his endless possibilities at Concord as a new student and one adult mountain lion, which represents alumni. The Concord University Student Government Association (SGA) funded the sculptures.
“The idea behind the Mountain Lions … was that we wanted to show that students could have a tangible thing on campus,” said 2006 graduate and former SGA president Jared Tice. “These are tangible … and more importantly, we are donating $50,000 to the library on top of this gift of the mountain lion statues.” That money was the first donation to the new Fund for University Library campaign that seeks to add a third floor to the library and to expand the technological resources the library offers. Following the remarks, Tice and current SGA President Sean Noland of Daniels unveiled the statues.
The festivities continued with a reception for alumni followed by a delicious banquet prepared by ARAMARK, Concord’s dining and catering service.
Rosalie Peck ’63, president of the Concord University Alumni Association, welcomed everyone to the Annual Homecoming Banquet. She thanked the Alumni office staff and the dinner planning committee for all their hard work and noted that this year’s banquet featured the largest current student delegation ever attending the dinner.
Next, Concord University President, Dr. Jerry Beasley, told the alumni that they had many things for which they could be proud including several successful athletic teams. He also encouraged the alumni to take time to look at the progress made on the Nick J. Rahall, II Technology Center that is expected to be completed and ready for occupancy in 2007. He noted that the 70-year-old dream of having an interfaith chapel on campus is nearing fruition, and thanked the many alumni who had worked hard and donated money to make it possible for that building to join “the campus beautiful.” He also honored the work and talents of former president Meredith Freeman, who attended at the banquet.
Next, Dr. Stephen Rowe, director of the J. Frank Marsh Library, unveiled a beautiful painted portrait of Meredith Freeman, to be hung in the President’s Room of the library with the portraits of past presidents of the institution. Instructor in Art, Fernando Porras, painted the portrait.
“This is a real honor to be here and see the unveiling of this beautiful portrait Fernando did. I think you folks are very, very fortunate to have such a great artist in your midst,” said Joyce Freeman, wife of Meredith Freeman. She noted that the eyes in the painting are remarkable because one shows a hint of mischievousness as well as a serious eye.
Next, Rev. James Mole ’50 provided the invocation before dinner. Following dinner, featured speakers James Alexander Thom and Dark Rain Thom, storytellers who addressed the alumni and students.
James Alexander Thom explained the differences between historians and historical novelists. He said he has to take you back and make you feel like an event in the past is occurring now and that you do not know what the outcome is going to be. He tries to get your full senses involved and to make you feel the way the characters felt in his stories. He shared how his book had inspired so many readers in different ways, including convincing one woman not to commit suicide. He said those inspirations must be what inspired storytellers to continue this tradition.
Dark Rain Thom shared the story of a European woman who visited the Shawnee culture and left her children with them. “We are blessed with two priceless treasures in our life, our elders and our children and we try to spoil each of those generations and do it lovingly for the generation that took care of us when we were children and for those children who will take care of us when we are old,” she said.
“She was not leaving her children with people who had no conscience or culture … she was leaving them with a sophisticated people, and her own community was not safe. Her children literally were safer living in the villages of the Indian tribes,” she concluded.
Rosalie Peck thanked everyone for coming and led the audience in singing the Alma Mater.
PHOTO: Michael Sizemore, sculptor; Jared Tice, SGA president, 2005-2006; and Sean Noland, SGA president, 2006-2007, stand near the sculpture of the youthful mountain lion.
PHOTO: Instructor in Art, Mr. Fernando Porras; President, Emeritus, Dr. Meredith Freeman; and Mrs. Joyce Freeman, wife of the President, Emeritus, stand near the portrait painted by Mr. Porras.
Jesse Call, a senior majoring in political science and history, wrote this press release. His hometown is Pocahontas, Va.