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STILLPOINT Archive: last updated 04/16/2008


ARTICLE: Homecoming and Family Weekend 2007

Homecoming And Family Weekend 2007

October 4-6, 2007
Homecoming 2007 was a rich time of reconnection as the Gordon and Barrington communities came home for a refreshing weekend together. The unseasonably warm weather allowed alumni and their families to fully enjoy many outdoor as well as indoor activities. During the week leading up to Homecoming, students responded to many "blasts" of a bagpipe during Spirit Week activities. Bagpiper Rob Knechtle '09, in full regalia, led the Homecoming convocation processional, playing "Amazing Grace." On Thursday night, October 4, Soul Searching: A Movie about Teenagers and God, a new film by Alumnus of the Year Christian Smith '82, premiered at Gordon and was followed by a faculty panel discussion.

On Friday the festivities began in earnest. Alumni attended convocation and had their choice of many classes to sit in on. In the evening they gathered to honor notable fellow alumni at the Great Scots Awards Dinner. Saturday's activities began with a 5K Scot Trot through the Gordon woods. The reunion classes gathered to share a meal and memories. On the quad they rooted for the "Fighting Scots." Children moon-bounced and got their faces painted. The Saturday night finale was truly grand. NODROG, the annual faculty/staff talent show, gave about 1,000 students, parents and alumni a lot to laugh about and fun memories to take away.


ALUMNI AWARDS

Attending the Alumni Awards ceremony were Christian Smith '82; Brandi (Anderson) Bates '92; Ralph
Jensen '71 and Jan (Jensen) Carlberg, on behalf of their mother, Margaret Jensen; Alberta '43 and Martha '59 Simms; Brendan '95 and Erin '97 Cooney, on behalf of their parents; Marilyn (Arnold) '68B and James Cooney.

Alumnus of The Year: Christian Smith '82
Chris is professor of sociology and director of the Center for the Study of Religion and Society, University of Notre Dame. He has been author, coauthor or editor of many books and articles, most recently the award-winning Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers (Oxford University Press).

Jack Good Community Service Award: Dana '93 and Brandi (Anderson) '92 Bates
Dana and Brandi have served since 1995 in the coal mining Jiu Valley of Romania, where they founded Viata ("Life"), a summer adventure program for teens styled after La Vida. They are currently developing a national network of service learning clubs in Romanian schools.

A. J. Gordon MIssionary Service Award: Alberta '43 and Martha '59 Simms
Alberta's desire to work with Muslims led her to the Sudan Interior Mission (SIM) as a teacher, where she participated in the founding of a girls' school. In later years she traveled back and forth between Niger, West Africa, and Massachusetts, where she worked with Dr. Winifred Currie at Gordon's Reading Center.

Martha Simms prepared for the mission field by attending Bible college, nursing school and Gordon College, as well as working at a dental clinic. She served for decades as a nurse with the SIM in Niger and, in recent years, at the SIM headquarters in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Winifred Currie Award In Education: Marilyn (Arnold) '68B and James Cooney
Marilyn taught hearing-impaired children in Rhode Island for 20 years and Jim was a teacher, coach and high school principal for 35 years. Since their "retirement" in 2000 they have been serving as directors of the Gospel School for the Deaf in Fiji.

Lifetime Acheivement Award: Margaret T. Jensen
Nationally known author and speaker Margaret Jensen--mother of Jan Carlberg--wrote 15 books, including First We Have Coffee, and developed a strong connection with Gordon students during her many visits to campus. The College's theatre was named in her honor.


The Third Thursday in July--A New Tradition
By David Nystedt '50B

For the past several years the third Thursday of July has been known by many as "PBI (Providence Barrington Institute) Reunion Day." What began as an informal gathering at the homes of retired missionaries has grown, by word of mouth, to over 60 alumni of our beloved Institute. The Potting Shed Restaurant (known as The Shed), nestled in an apple orchard in Acton, Maine, has been the setting for our reunion. Folks have gathered from all over New England and beyond to rejoice together in what God has done and is doing in their lives. As our numbers have grown (along with the number of wheelchairs, walkers and canes), the crescendo of sound has grown too: "Do you remember when (fill in the blank)?" "You haven't changed a bit."

Rev. John Barney is our jovial song leader and emcee. Fran Woods '41B says, "The time of singing and sharing is always a blessing. We rejoice in God's many blessings. Jesus walks as close to each of us as we allow Him to! See you in July--if not here, see you in glory."


An Enduring Tradition
By Nancy Mering

Scott Kennedy '99 first attended Homecoming in 1979--when he was 2 years old--and he has come back nearly every year since. It has always been a favorite family getaway weekend for Scott and his parents, Sharon '67, and Bob '65.

In 1995 Scott came to Gordon as a student. He met his wife, Jen '99 (Rolsing), their freshman year, marrying in 2000. They now live in Old Bridge, New Jersey. Scott is a financial advisor with Merrill Lynch in New York City, and Jen stays at home with their boys, William Edward, born in 2004, and Luke Brendan, born in 2006.

Jen writes: "Scott broke his 'Homecoming streak' when we attended the wedding of Christopher Jolie '00 and Christy Handschumacher in Aruba in the fall of 2006. We continue to attend Homecoming to catch up with the good friends we made during our time at Gordon and to carry on the family tradition of visiting the North Shore every fall with our own children. Scott has childhood memories of being dragged through the craft shows in the hockey rink bubble, kids' science fairs in Emery, the dedications of Jenks Library and A. J. Gordon Memorial Chapel, and La Vida demonstrations outside of Frost. All of this exposed Scott to the welcoming Gordon community at a young age and made Gordon his first and only choice after touring a handful of other schools."

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