Written by: Jonathan Clayton and Jazmine Cooper
On October 25, the OKWU Alumni Association hosted a dinner where students from years past could get together and reminisce. Most of them were students from 50, 25, and 10 years ago. They enjoyed a complimentary meal from Pioneer College Caterers, while waited on by the softball team. While there, awards were given to certain alumni who have exhibited exceptional qualities since their graduation. The night also featured the musical performances from the OKWU Chorale, Relentless, and David Romanko playing his violin. The evening was filled with nostalgia and joy.
The winners of the alumni awards were Rachel Hammond, Professor Keri Bostwick, Reverend Mike Skor, and Reverend Dan Denison.
Hammond, an ‘08 graduate from the School of Education at Oklahoma Wesleyan University, won the Young Alumna of the Year Award. When accepting the award, she admitted that she would rather be playing the piano than speaking, but she was grateful for the honor.
Professor Bostwick, a ‘98 graduate from the School of Education at Bartlesville Wesleyan College, also received an Outstanding Alumni Service Award. She joked that she did not deserve the award, but said, “Homecoming is an opportunity to see so many of the people who have poured into my life or into the school as an institution and it is just a humbling opportunity.”
Reverend Skor, a ‘91 graduate from the School of Ministry at Bartlesville Wesleyan College, received an Outstanding Alumni Service Award. It was a real honor for him, and he truly believes the best is yet to come for the school. “The church desperately needs schools like this,” he said with confidence.
Reverend Denison, a ‘70 graduate from the School of Ministry at Miltonvale Wesleyan College (Miltonvale, KS), received the Outstanding Service Hall of Faith Alumni Award. His response when he was given his trophy, all he could say was, “God is good.” This initiated the common response from the crowd, “All the time!” He said he would rather have been a spectator for the event, but he was very honored to come back and loved looking back on all the blessing the school brought him.
Speaking about the banquet and weekend of activities, Mark Bush, President of the OKWU Alumni Association said that “Homecoming is always a great time because we get to see alumni come back, and when they come back we get to celebrate what they’re doing for the kingdom. It’s great to have a president that supports our alumni.” He also thanked Dr. and Wendy Dunn for hosting the banquet and for their support of the alumni during homecoming.
Dr. Jim Dunn, OKWU’s President, when asked for his thoughts on the event said that “Homecoming is a great time for people to come home and be a part of the university again and have great affinity for the school. It’s always good for current students and faculty and staff to see and interact with them (alumni). It’s amazing that people who went to school fifty years ago have come back and still have great love for the school.” He also hopes that OKWU can continue to see people transformed, as the university has a long history of this.
Roger Skelly, Vice Chair of the OKWU Board of Trustees and a 1974 graduate, called the event a “neat deal”, and specifically talked about how much he enjoyed kicking of the weekend of activities with a banquet. He also especially enjoyed the performance by the OKWU Chorale!
Marilyn Rust, a 1967 graduate of Miltonvale Wesleyan College, said that “This place holds so many memories for so many of us from fifty years ago or more.” She talked about the importance of reconnecting with the OKWU community and the special place it is to her.
Relentless, OKWU’s a capella choir, performed X, arranged by X. Then, the Chorale was invited up. They sang two African spirituals, one completely in Kenyan: Wana Baraka, a fun piece where the choir split in, at some points, seven different parts. The other, Keep Your Lamps, is one of director Dr. Stewart’s favorites, but assistant Lauralynn Beldan conducted for the performance. They were both very fun pieces that kept the audience on their toes with the dynamics. At the end of the night, the alumni who were once a part of the Chorale were invited to sing Great is Thy Faithfulness with current members. It was a beautiful moment for all.
Overall, the night was a great time for everyone, full of entertainment and awesome conversation, looking back at some of their favorite times at the school!