Hundreds of alumni return for successful Homecoming 2007
Alumni Association - posted on 10/8/2007
Hundreds of alumni returned to create new memories as Lakeland College celebrated Homecoming during a weekend filled with activities.
Beginning with the class reunions and the Super 70s party on Friday night, the alumni tailgate and banquet on Saturday and the Ley Chapel service on Sunday, it was a full weekend made even better by picture-perfect weather.
Nearly 100 people attended the alumni awards and reunion banquet, and several hundred alumni, current students and friends attended the pre-game tailgate.
Lakeland's athletic teams did their part as the football, women's soccer, men's soccer and volleyball teams all recorded home victories, and alumni returned to test their skills as women's basketball, volleyball and baseball all held alumni games.
Three people were honored at Saturday night's banquet.
Richard Preuhs `65 was named the winner of the inaugural President's Richard Preuhs Award. This new award honors alumni who have distinguished themselves as extraordinary faculty or staff members of Lakeland at some time in their career.
The winner of the award, which will be given only occasionally, must be an alumnus of Lakeland College/Mission House, have been an employee of the college for a significant number of years after graduation, have shown extraordinary commitment to the mission of the college and have noteworthy achievements in fostering student success, campus community or stewardship of campus resources.
Preuhs transitioned from being a mid-year graduate right into employment with the college when he was asked by then-President John Morland to manage the new Campus Center when it opened in 1965. He ran the Muskie Inn before leaving Lakeland to open a supper club in Cedar Lake with fellow Lakeland graduate Paul Krueger, and he taught at Lakeshore Technical College.
For the past 25 years he has owned and operated Country Store, an award-winning candy store in Eagle River, with his wife Debra, a 1974 graduate.
Rick Gaumer `74 was given the Service to the College award. This award goes to a graduate that has demonstrated excellent service to the college in at least two or more of the following: student recruitment, financial support, leadership in the LCAA, volunteer support of college programs, administrative/teaching efforts as an employee of the college, internships and/or job placement.
Gaumer, who also won the 2007 Underkofler Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award earlier this year, is the architect behind Lakeland's award-winning accounting program.
Following a nearly 30-year career in the private sector, Gaumer returned to his alma mater and spearheaded the creation of several high-profile initiatives that have positioned Lakeland's accounting program as one of the biggest and best among Wisconsin colleges and universities.
Mike Devaney was named the winner of the Honorary Alumni Award. The award goes to someone that has performed service to Lakeland, church and/or community, in two or more of the following areas: leadership in voluntary organizations, sustaining financial support, contribution of special skills.
Devaney, the chair of Lakeland College's Natural Sciences Division since 1992 and a member of the college's faculty for nearly 30 years, passed away in June of this year following a courageous battle with cancer. He was 58 years old.
Devaney joined Lakeland's faculty in 1978, and was promoted to professor of mathematics and computer science in 1984. He received the college's Outstanding Teacher of the Year Award in 1982 and its Underkofler Award for Teaching Excellence in 2000, and served Lakeland in numerous leadership positions.
A total of 35 people participated in the 5-kilometer Homecoming Run on Saturday morning.
Three current Lakeland students were the top three finishers, with Chris Wray leading the pack in a time of 22 minutes, 26 seconds. Tina Filipovic was second at 23:17 and Avdo Omerbegovic third in 24:57.
The first female Lakeland graduate to finish was Marilyn Barner `87 of Elkhart Lake. Her time of 31:42 was good for eighth overall. The first male Lakeland graduate to finish was Kurt January `76 of Cheverly, Md. His time of 39:33 was good for 10th overall.
Lakeland's undergraduates also got in on the fun with a week of activities. Tom Kelly, a senior from Oak Lawn, Ill., who is the starting center for the football team and a member of the Mu Lambda Sigma fraternity, was crowned Mr. Muskie on Thursday during that annual competition, and named Homecoming king during a pep rally on Friday night. Kenya Ward, a junior from Milwaukee who is a member of the Alpha Psi Alpha sorority and the Black Student Union, was named Homecoming queen.
Two former Lakeland athletes were inducted into the Lakeland Athletics Hall of Fame on Friday night. Travis John (TJ) Teunissen `96 and Dawn (Schmelzer) Thorson `94 bring the membership of Lakeland's Hall to 131 members.
Teunissen, who came to Lakeland from neighboring Cedar Grove, was a standout in basketball and cross country. Known for his tenacious defense, he finished his career as the college's all-time steals leader with 303 and he scored 1,011 career points and was a key member of the 1993-94 team that advanced to the NAIA National Tournament and won the Lake Michigan Conference title.
Thorson is one of Lakeland's most successful and decorated athletes. She was an all-conference and all-district honoree in both her junior and senior seasons in three sports: volleyball, basketball and softball. She was a two-time winner of Lakeland's Female Athlete of the Year award.
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