Homecoming 2010 will go down in the Biola history books as a weekend to remember—not just because of an all-campus power outage that lasted for an entire day, but because so many alumni were able to experience just what the theme promised: “Revisit, Reconnect, Reunite.”
The Friday schedule focused on the Golden Eagles, those alumni who graduated at least 50 years ago, and on the 2010 alumni award recipients, then ended with a Sweetheart Banquet for couples who met and married through Biola.
Golden Eagle activities included a luncheon where 1960 graduates—the newest class of Golden Eagles—were honored with an award, and where guests were able to share memories from their Biola years. Memories from the group spanned two campuses, as the 1960 grads were the first class to attend both the downtown Los Angeles and La Mirada sites. Along with the open microphone sharing, Golden Eagles heard from a young alumnus who continues their legacy of impacting the world for the Lord Jesus, as Mark Hopson (’06) shared about his work with the California Schools Project.
The Golden Eagles were also recognized at the annual alumni chapel in Chase Gymnasium, where alumni awards were also presented. Meredith Turney, a Torrey graduate from 1999, was presented with the Young Alumni Award for the contribution she is making through her work in the political arena with Americans for Prosperity, and Stan and Sherry Power (’67) received the Volunteer Appreciation Award for the hundreds of hours they have given to the University, serving in a variety of different capacities. The Impact in Media award was given to Frank Pastore (Talbot ’94) for his contribution to Christian radio through his dynamic and relevant talk show, heard locally on KKLA.
Biola couples gathered Friday evening to revisit the place where their romance got its start, enjoying the second annual Sweetheart Banquet. According to Deannah Baesel, assistant manager of advancement events, “The Sweethearts Banquet was a personal highlight, as I love hearing how Biolans met and fell in love. It's the perfect way to embrace the famous ‘ring by spring’ mantra, and it's surely an event that will continue to grow each year!”
Saturday’s events took an interesting turn as heavy rains moved into the area, relocating events scheduled to be held outside into a variety of on-campus venues. The rain’s impact was overshadowed, though, by a power outage that rendered the entire campus dark. Facilities and catering personnel scrambled to improvise activity venues and food services, and the Biola community—students and alumni, alike—responded with good humor and grace.
The day began with the Sutherland Sizzle—an all-community brunch that was reminiscent of the days when then-president Dr. Sam Sutherland would make pancakes for the entire student body. BiolaFest followed, moved from Metzger Lawn into the Café, with a variety of booths available for games and other activities.
The afternoon brought together a host of reunion groups, including nursing alumni, Christian Education grads from the 1980s, former tennis players and former wrestlers. There was also a dinner for multi-ethnic alumni, which seems likely to be the beginning of a multi-ethnic alumni chapter. There was plenty of time to renew old friendships through the reunions and through the hospitality area, where alumni were invited to congregate for conversation and to walk down Memory Lane as they looked through old yearbooks. Rick Bee, senior director of alumni relations commented, “Homecoming was a great weekend of fun and reminiscing with alumni from Golden Eagles to recent grads! If you missed it, you missed a wonderful opportunity to see Biola and enjoy the re-kindled friendships!”
A generator to the gym supplied lighting for the Homecoming games, with Biola besting Cal Baptist in both the women’s and men’s game. Senior players were saluted during both games, as were men’s basketball alumni from 1980, and two students won Lakers tickets for their winning efforts in the halftime competition.
The weekend wrapped up on Sunday, with the education department dinner, an annual reunion favorite for education alumni.
In summary, Baesel noted, “Homecoming 2010 was a great time here at Biola, where alumni were able to revisit, reconnect, and reunite. Despite our massive power outage, the Alumni Office was thrilled to see people journey back to their alma mater and enjoy the time they spent here.”