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ISSUE 117 VOL 19 PUBLISHED 5/14/2004

Past, future unite for Celebration Weekend

By Jean Mullins
News Editor

Friday, May 14, 2004

Celebrating alongside the seniors on the weekend of graduation are the class reunions  the class of 1979 and the graduating classes in five year increments from 1934 to 1979. Each class is raising money for a reunion gift, and this year is no exception. Each class has monetary goals and is led by a committee of alumni from that class. Celebration Weekend is full of activities not only for this years graduating seniors, but for the reuniting classes as well. "The weekend is about celebrating the whole part of being an Ole," associate director of Alumni and Parent Relations Carrie Carroll said. There are learning seminars planned for alumni, which are billed as "mini classes. One seminar planned is "Hats off to St. Olaf, and will explore the trends that have blown through St. Olaf in the past. Attendees are invited to wear a favorite hat (or other head covering) and to share the story behind it with others at the seminar. There is a 5K run/walk planned for alumni. There are also special concerts planned that blend current St. Olaf music ensembles with alumni. All former St. Olaf Band members are invited to the Band Reunion in honor of former conductor, Mity Johnson. The Band alumni will play with the current St. Olaf Band. The St. Olaf Choir will also be joined by alumni for a performance. Each class will also have their own dinners and functions. For example, the class of 1959 will display an art show, which will feature a number of works done by the alumni of the class of 59. These works of art can either be done professionally or for a hobby, and will take a number of forms, including a memorabilia display with "artifacts" from the era during which they were here at St. Olaf. "Alumni are very creative and energetic about this weekend," Carroll said. This years 50th reunion class, the class of 1954, is planning a myriad of festivities to celebrate over 50 years of being Oles. This year they have challenged the graduating class to meet their participation goals for their giving campaigns. While the class of 1954 has fewer people, the class of 2004 for now is still on campus and easier to contact. "Each side has advantages and disadvantages," Rebecca Otten said, director of Annual Giving. This years competition was inspired by the challenge last year to the graduating seniors given by the Alumni Board. The competition this year is close, and at this point. It is anyones guess who will come out on top: the class of 2004 or the class of 1954. "We really are happy with how they have responded," said Marlene Engstrom, chair of the 50th Reunion Gift Campaign. Either way, on May 16, the class of 1954 will reward the class of 2004 for all their hard work with ice cream sundaes, dished out by the Oles of 1954 themselves. President Christopher Thomforde will host the class of 1954 for a dinner during Celebration Weekend. The class of 1954 will also venture off campus on Saturday and Sunday for a class event. One couple will even be renewing their wedding vows; they were married 50 years ago on graduation weekend. Several Ole graduates will be receiving the Distinguished Alumni Award. Recipients of this award are nominated by others for their outstanding commitment to their professional lives, their church or community and St. Olaf College. This is the 51st year the award has been presented and there have been 240 recipients in the history of the college. This years honorees are Craig Dean 78, Maynard Dorow 51, Kenneth Jennings 50 and Laura Jervis 70. Dean has seen professional success as partner and managing director of AEG Partners. He volunteers his time to charitable organizations that serve the underprivileged and youth at risk. Dorow was one of the first American missionaries to South Korea. In his more than 40 years in South Korea, Dorow established churches and founded Luther College and Seminary in Seoul. Jennings joined the St. Olaf faculty in 1953 and advanced the St. Olaf Choirs reputation during his stint as its director. Jervis founded the West Side Federation for Senior and Supportive Housing in New York City, which provides safe housing for low-income individuals with special needs. Carroll comments that this is the first time that many of the alumni have been back. She encourages students remaining on campus to work at Celebration Weekend to talk with alumni. "Some dont know that Mohn as a high-rise exists," Carroll said. St. Olaf will house the reunion classes, as well as parents coming for graduation on campus in the vacated underclassmen residence halls. dorms

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