Gettysburgians reconnect, engage with community during 2023 Homecoming and BOLD Weekend

The newest inductees into the Hall of Athletic Honor
The newest inductees into the Hall of Athletic Honor were recognized on the opening night of Homecoming Weekend (Photo by Doug Huber ‘06/ProArts Media).

Gettysburg College welcomed hundreds of alumni and their families back to campus for Homecoming and BOLD (Burgians of the Last Decade) Weekend on Oct. 13-15. The exciting weekend featured special celebrations for the 5th (2018) and 10th (2013) reunion classes, first reunion for the Class of 2023, and Gettysburg Alumni of Color Council (GACC) and BOLD Council sponsored events. In all, more than 700 alumni and friends returned to celebrate together.

While the weather dynamic quickly changed throughout the weekend, alumni enjoyed journeying across campus visiting classrooms, meeting with faculty, and investigating new and improved facilities. The weekend was rife with celebratory activities each day, allowing Gettysburgians to reconnect and relive the memories they created together as undergraduates, while also building enthusiasm for the College’s future.

Check out some of the highlights below from an exciting Homecoming Weekend!

Lifelong learning

John Nelson ’13, assistant professor of Early North American History at Texas Tech University giving a presentation
John Nelson ’13, assistant professor of Early North American History at Texas Tech University, gave a presentation on his research on cross-cultural interactions between native peoples and European colonizers in Joseph Theater (Photo by Corey Jewart).

A handful of returning alumni offered presentations for their peers, former mentors, and current students on how Gettysburg College helped shape their professional and personal lives by providing knowledge, skills, and mentorship. Sessions included a talk by mathematics doctoral candidate Bailey Heath ’19; the Annual Psychology Homecoming Colloquium, featuring Julia Superka ’13; an alumni panel with graduates of the English Department; a history presentation by John Nelson ’13, a professor at Texas Tech University; and a panel discussion with alumni representing the Economics Department.

A BOLD Homecoming

Members of the Class of 2018 strike a pose for a class photo
Members of the Class of 2018 strike a pose for a class photo in Christ Chapel (Photo by Doug Huber ‘06/ProArts Media).

The Classes of 2013 and 2018 celebrated their 10-year and five-year reunions, respectively, and were part of a large contingent of BOLD alumni that returned to Gettysburg. Many of the alumni visited departmental receptions and open houses across campus, shared their personal and professional stories with current students, and reconnected with faculty mentors. The Class of 2013 enjoyed an evening together in the Atrium on Friday before participating in games inside Weidensall Hall and taking a class photo in Christ Chapel on Saturday. Meanwhile, on Friday night, the Class of 2018 gathered at the nearby Mason Dixon Distillery before taking their own class photo in the Chapel Saturday afternoon. All BOLD alumni then convened for fun and festivities at The Attic on Saturday afternoon.

Happy birthday, Ike!

A group of people pose for a photo
The Eisenhower Institute hosted a celebration in honor of Dwight Eisenhower’s 133rd birthday during Homecoming Weekend (Photo by Kailey White ’21).

President Dwight D. Eisenhower, a former member of the Gettysburg College Board of Trustees, was honored Friday for his 133rd birthday with a celebration hosted by the Eisenhower Institute (EI) at The Junction. Recipients of the Eisenhower Society scholarships and Brigadier General Samuel Kenric Lessey, Jr. ROTC Award were also recognized as part of a reception at the Dobbin House in downtown Gettysburg.

Hall of Athletic Honor

Donna Bourke ’92 poses with her family
New Hall of Honor inductee Donna Bourke ’92 (front) poses with her family during the induction ceremony (Photo by Doug Huber ‘06/ProArts Media).

The Hall of Athletic Honor added seven new inductees to its ranks of legendary sports figures. More than 200 people gathered inside the CUB Ballroom to pay tribute to student-athletes covering over six decades of competition and representing seven athletic programs. This year’s class included Julika Blankenship Olliver ’04 (lacrosse), Donna Bourke ’92 (basketball), Jessica Cortese Wolverton ’05 (volleyball), Tim DeMore ’95 (lacrosse), Steve Jirgal ’80 (track and field), Jason Vishio ’00 (soccer), and Henry Schwartz ’42 (wrestling, posthumous). The living inductees also met with current student-athletes from their respective programs, relating their personal journeys as undergraduates and how they used those experiences at Gettysburg to vault into professional careers that include law, coaching, sales, college administration, and professional leadership and development.

The Orange and Blue

Campus was awash with orange and blue décor for visitors to grab and use to cheer on their favorite teams (Photo by Doug Huber ‘06/ProArts Media).

The cold and rainy conditions didn’t hamper the varsity athletic teams from taking the field to battle with the opposition. More than 500 student-athletes from over two dozen institutions ran across the open fields north of campus and trails around Quarry Pond for the Aubrey Shenk Cross Country Invitational early Saturday morning, with the Gettysburg women placing eighth and the men placing 13th. After the football team faced off with nationally-ranked Muhlenberg College at Shirk Field at Musselman Stadium, field hockey scored a dramatic 2-1 overtime victory over No. 18 Ursinus College on the same turf. The soccer teams closed out the weekend with a doubleheader against Washington College on Clark Field Saturday evening. Alumni cheered from afar as volleyball, the lone team competing away from the friendly confines, defeated host Swarthmore College in four sets to improve to 17-4 this season.

Connecting across campus

Students and alumni gathered for brunch
Students and alumni gathered for the Myra T. Herron Awards and Networking Brunch in the Atrium (Photo by Sofia Gutierrez ’26).

Doors across campus were open for alumni to walk through and relive memories in familiar classrooms or with their favorite co-curricular programs. On Friday, receptions and networking events were hosted by Sociology, English, Mathematics, Chemistry, Theatre Arts, and Economics departments. The Center for Career Engagement (CCE), Garthwait Leadership Center (GLC), Office of Multicultural Engagement (OME), Eisenhower Institute (EI), and Gender and Sexuality Resource Center (GSRC) all hosted open houses for alumni to learn about current programs and to engage with students. That evening, a joint fraternity and sorority reception, made possible through a generous donation by David F. Thompson ’65, was hosted in The Attic.

On Saturday, OME and the Gettysburg Alumni of Color Council (GACC) held a networking event in the Atrium for recipients of the Myra T. Herron Memorial Fund. The afternoon featured an interactive project for BOLD donors at the Innovation and Creativity Lab, where each invitee was able to create their own special Gettysburg College tote bag in honor of their support of the institution during the 2023 fund year.

Exhibits on display

A display of Special Collections
“Many a Misdemeanor: Gettysburg College Pranks and Hijinks” is currently on display in Special Collections (Photo by Corey Jewart).

Highlighting the displays in the library is an exhibit of art once owned by beloved English Prof. Mary Margaret Stewart, who was a member of the faculty from 1959-1996. Following her passing in 2021, Stewart left her extensive art collection to the College which is now adorning the walls of the Stair Tower Gallery. The library also features photography of Charles “Jim” Lott, renowned for his depiction of local farm life in Adams County in the 1930s and 1940s. In Special Collections, a new display called “Many a Misdemeanor: Gettysburg College Pranks and Hijinks” shares some of the mischievous and mythical moments in the College’s history.

The art gallery features the exhibition “Drawing on the Susquehanna” curated by Rob Evans, which includes 18th- and 19th-century prints, paintings, books, and objects that examine the history and significance of the Susquehanna River on art and culture.

Gettysburgians everywhere

A display of Special Collections
Alumni gathered for several off-campus events hosted by Alumni Relations prior to Homecoming, including in New York City (Photo by Jasmine Fedrick).

Gettysburg wasn’t the only place for alumni to catch up. With a powerful network of 32,000 alumni spread across the globe, the Office of Alumni Relations helped bring Homecoming festivities to alumni who couldn’t make it back to campus by hosting events in five different cities across the United States: Chicago, Washington D.C., New York City, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh. More than 100 alumni from 15 different classes registered for the events with every class since 2010 represented.

Homecoming 2023

Join us for future events for alumni and parents, including Family Weekend on Oct. 27-29!

By Corey Jewart
Photos by: Corey Jewart, Doug Huber ‘06/ProArts Media, Kailey White ’21, Sofia Gutierrez ’26, Jasmine Fedrick
Posted: 10/19/23

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