Bishops on campus for Ohio Wesleyan's 2019 Reunion Weekend participate in the traditional Parade of Classes. This year's celebration reunited classes ending in 4 and 9. (Photo by Paul Vernon)

2019 Reunion Weekend

Ohio Wesleyan Alumni Celebrate their OWU Connection

By Molly Vogel

This was a truly historic Reunion Weekend for Ohio Wesleyan University, as approximately 800 alumni and friends returned to campus May 17-19 to celebrate reunions of classes ending in 4 and 9.

The weekend was launched in dramatic fashion with the announcement of a $10 million gift from an anonymous alumni couple to benefit the university’s ongoing $200 million Connect Today, Create Tomorrow comprehensive campaign.

The gift, the largest outright contribution in school history, will be used to help with the planning for the renovation and restoration of Slocum Hall and the recently announced $60 million Residential Renewal initiative.

Founders’ Circle

The gift was first announced during the annual Founders’ Circle Induction, recognizing those whose lifetime giving is $1 million or more, or $500,000 for Associate Founders’ Circle.

President Rock Jones welcomed Charlotte Patterson Hill and Larry Hill, both of the Class of 1957, to Associate Founders’ Circle.

The families of Board of Trustees member Ed Haddock ’69 and his wife, Edye Haddock, as well as that of Trustee Tom Palmer ’69 and his wife, Susan Palmer, were present as they were inducted into Founders’ Circle. Dale Dykema and Suzanne Williams Dykema ’67 were inducted to Founders’ Circle posthumously.

Class of 1969

Both Ed Haddock and Tom Palmer were celebrating their 50th reunion. Their Class of 1969 set records both in attendance, with 140 classmates, and fundraising with $4,138,955 raised, including $545,796 in cash and pledges to the Ohio Wesleyan Fund.

Eight class members participated in short mini-lectures for an “Alumni College” session, with topics including: “An Endangered Species: The Foreign Correspondent,” to “I Married a Man from Kentucky, and the Rest Is...Bourbon!”

Blues & BBQ – and a Special Toast

Jones shared the historic gift news with the wider campus audience at the Blues & BBQ dinner in its new location on the JAYwalk in front of Hamilton-Williams Campus Center. The weather cooperated to create a fun event for alumni to reconnect under the stars to the music of Jasey Schnaars ’72.

Parade of Classes

On Saturday, alumni gathered for the traditional Parade of Classes down the JAYwalk to the Celebrating Ohio Wesleyan program in Gray Chapel, at which Alumni Association Board of Directors President Sheila Fagan Plecha ’84 and Jones presented the year’s awards.

Alumni Awards

The Alumni Award for great service to the university was presented to: Grant Kurtz ’64, David Livingston ’94, Bob Morrill ’59, and Carleton Palmer ’64. Ali Chaudry ’04 was the recipient of the Young Alumni Award and Distinguished Achievement Citations were awarded to Doug Gordin ’78, Art Keown ’69, the late Robert E. Lee ’39, Jim Michaels ’79, and Donald Shaw ’69. Jeff Benton of Delaware was given the Honorary Alumni Award.

The weekend was capped off with class dinners, held for classes 1949 through 2014, and an all-alumni social on the JAYwalk.

Rededicating and Reuniting 

In addition to activities with their classes, alumni were invited to “coffee with the coaches,” a chance to meet with Athletics Director Doug Zipp and coaches from OWU’s 25 men’s and women’s varsity sports, as well as an admission presentation by Stefanie Niles, OWU’s vice president for enrollment and communications.

Affinity reunions welcomed back Greek alumni as well as multicultural and international alumni. The newly rebuilt Butler A. Jones House of Black Culture was rededicated in a gathering that was open to all and featured Trustee Aaron Granger ’93 and current members of the house.

Alumni couples were invited to meet at the “true love bench” by Elliott Hall to pose for photographs to commemorate meeting on campus.


View our Flickr albums from the weekend.