On October 3-4, Cairn University celebrated its first Homecoming of its second century. Homecoming weekend is a time for alumni from throughout the years to gather with current students, faculty, and staff for a weekend of celebration.
While Homecoming weekend took place October 3-4, Cairn students participated in Spirit Week and attended special alumni chapels in anticipation of the big weekend. On Monday, September 29, Director of Alumni Relations Nate Wambold welcomed alumni Heather Evans (Co-Founder of the Valley Against Sex Trafficking) who spoke on sex trafficking and the Christian’s call to respond. On Wednesday, October 1, Nate greeted four Cairn graduates back to the Chatlos Chapel: Kevin Skaer (Principal of The Christian Academy), Becca Brittain (Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the Lakeside Education Network), Jonathan Hardesty (Artist and Classical Methods Art Teacher), and Kyle Canty (City Representative for LifeWay Christian Resources and Assistant Pastor at Great Commission Church in Philadelphia). They encouraged students in their faith and their education as they shared about their lives after Cairn and answered questions from current students. To wrap up the week of alumni chapels, on Friday, October 3, Alonzo Johnson of Northeast Bible Fellowship shared his testimony of how he came to Christ and emboldened students to impact the Kingdom now and make a difference for Christ.
On the evening of Friday, October 3, Cairn University hosted a community-wide Tenth Avenue North and Matt Maher concert. Tenth Avenue North kicked off the weekend with its popular songs, “When Light Meets the Dark,” “This is Where the Healing Begins,” “Love is Here,” and “You are More,” as well as songs from their new album Cathedrals (2014) and their surprise EP “Islands.” Their performance was high-energy and comedic as the members of Tenth Avenue North bantered back and forth on stage. Lead singer Mike Donehey did not simply deliver an emotional performance, but encouraged the audience to experience and encounter the truth of the gospel. As a partner of Compassion International, he also advocated for the Child Sponsorship Program, bringing awareness to human trafficking and sharing how the organization makes a difference in the lives of children internationally.
Although Saturday, October 4 started off with cloudy skies and light rain, the day soon cleared up, and the University community enjoyed a beautiful, event-filled day. There were various activities and games along the Campus Walkway with Cairn’s first ever rock climbing wall, the annual Build-a-Boat competition, an Arts @ Cairn Artist Reception with Victor Atkins, and Cairn Highlanders athletic games.
There were also three reunions that took place: a Chorale reunion performance, a 60th reunion for the class of ’54, and a “Faithful Generations” reunion in which alumni from all decades gathered together to mingle with members of their own class and other classes, and interact with President Dr. Todd Williams, Provost Dr. Brian Toews, emeriti faculty, and current professors.
Other activities included tours around the school, including the University Tour, the Cairn Memorabilia Tour, and the University History Tour around Fairview Manor. There were various panels with an Emeriti Professor Panel in which Dr. Jonathan Master, Professor and Dean in the School of Divinity interviewed Dr. Marti MacCollough, Dr. John Master, and Dr. Robert Wenger, and discussed scholarship, disciplines, faith, and experiences at Cairn. Dr. David “Coz” Crosscombe, Professor and Director of the Urban Ministry First Year Program, also moderated “Cairn in the City,” in which various Cairn alumni (Rev. Manny Ortiz, Rev. Trevor Chin, and Rev. Damon Jones) shared their experiences at Cairn and in working in an urban context.
There was something for everyone at Cairn’s Homecoming 2014, whether it was watching sports games, touring the “Come and Play” arts exhibit, engaging in panel discussions, or simply reconnecting with old friends. Nate Wambold sums up the weekend this way: “With Friday night’s sold out 10th Avenue North concert, the robustly-attended Faithful Generations reunion in Chatlos Chapel, the special 60th reunion, alumni and professor panels, Ferris wheel, athletics, games, and (of course) food, alumni seemed to make use of every square inch of Cairn’s campus. It was a fantastic weekend!”
Homecoming 2014 was a time to reflect and remember fond memories and all that God has done, as well as celebrate and rejoice in God’s plans for the next steps of the University.
Perspective: It’s an important word. It is full of meaning, and its implications are profound, both for us as individuals and for us as a society, a society that seems,