News Story

Homecoming 2011 Survives the Storm

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30-year reunion

30-year reunion
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40-year reunion

40-year reunion
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Alpha Year reunion

Alpha Year reunion
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Alumni Banquet

Alumni Banquet
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Lisa and Bill Shuler, Dr. Cheri Schneider: Alumnus of the Year honorees

Lisa and Bill Shuler, Dr. Cheri Schneider: Alumnus of the Year honorees
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Dr. Paul Osteen, Alumnus of the Year honoree

Dr. Paul Osteen, Alumnus of the Year honoree

A record snowfall in Tulsa on Feb. 1 could not stop ORU Homecoming from happening.

Yes, there were lots of alumni whose travel plans were whited out, and a number of events were canceled, but those who managed to reach campus found plenty to do (and plenty to eat).

Most departmental open houses were canceled, as were Souls A'Fire's four events. (Souls has rescheduled its 40th anniversary celebration concert, "Unquenched," for April 1 at 7 p.m. in Christ's Chapel.)

Bill and Lisa Shuler, Alumnus of the Year award winners for Distinguished Service to God, arrived safely from Washington, D.C. Bill was the chapel speaker on Friday at a landmark service: President Mark Rutland announced plans for the long-awaited Student Union Building.

Nearly every seat was taken at the College of Business Power Luncheon. With the dean, Dr. Steve Greene, snowed in at home, Dr. David Dyson gave an update on the college. He was followed by Dr. Jim Russell, who talked about upcoming business missions trips to Costa Rica and Paraguay, and Dr. George Gillen. Gillen talked about being "the only" -- the only business professor in 1965, the only economist at ORU for many years. He also bragged (and rightly so) that in 42 years, he never had a 7:50 class. Not many faculty can claim the same!

The Class of '81 reunion dinner had a larger-than-expected attendance. With the '91 and '01 dinners canceled, those graduates and their guests were invited to come to '81's dinner and hear former ORU chaplain "Brother Bob" Stamps. The Class of '71 dinner, held in the Trustees Dining Room, featured guest speaker Clifton Taulbert.

The Health Professionals and Legal Professionals dinners took place as scheduled on Friday night, wrapping up a day that saw three-and-a-half more inches of snow added to the fourteen that fell on Tuesday.

The sun came out on Saturday to warm things up just a little and melt some of the snow. It was sunny inside Timko-Barton where the Alpha Group met for their reunion, and was a welcome sight to those who came to hear Dr. Rutland and Board Chair Mart Green at the fourth annual ORU Update in Zoppelt.

Kennedy Chapel was nearly full as alumni and students celebrated Communion. Allen Voth led worship and Brother Bob Stamps conducted the service.

The Women's Luncheon, with guest speaker Diana Green (wife of Board Chair Mart Green), was bustling with dozens of women -- alumni, friends, RAs, and wing chaplains. Green talked about God's power to heal longstanding hurts and free us up to live and love the way He created us to do. Vocalist Amanda Preslar subbed for sister Casey Preslar Urwin (stranded by weather) to provide musical entertainment, and Anna Grothe Zarlengo handed out door prizes (premium courtside seats for the men's basketball game).

The Bison of North Dakota State were no match for the ORU women's basketball team. Led by Kevi Luper and her 32 points, the Golden Eagles notched their 11th straight win, 98-69, and remained unbeaten in the Summit League. Later that night, the men took down NDSU, 81-73. It wasn't just any win for the Eagles, however; it was head coach Scott Sutton's 215th victory, making him ORU's winningest men's basketball coach.

Between the games, alumni gathered in the cafeteria for the Homecoming Banquet. They enjoyed a tasty meal, music from the ORU Singers and Amanda Preslar (who subbed for Kristen Steveson Schriks, absent due to the weather), and a keynote address from President Rutland. There was plenty of applause for this year's Alumnus of the Year awardees: Bill and Lisa Shuler, Dr. Cheri Schneider, and Dr. Paul Osteen. (Dr. Osteen was unable to attend; he was in Israel.)

Every Homecoming weekend concludes with the after-game reception on the Mabee Center court. It's a good time for alumni, faculty, friends, and families to touch base one last time before returning to their homes or hotels for the evening. This year, of course, much of the conversation concerned the snow, and road conditions, and harrowing tales of hours spent in airports.

What we'd like to say to one and all is this: Thank you for coming. Thank you for defying the snow and ice and bitter-cold winds to join us on campus. Thank you for rescheduling your flight for the second, and third, and fourth time to get here.

Thank you for making this a Homecoming we'll never forget for all the right reasons.

"Next year in Tulsa," alumni!

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Business Power Luncheon

Business Power Luncheon
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Bill Shuler spoke in chapel

Bill Shuler spoke in chapel
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Health Professionals dinner

Health Professionals dinner
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Legal Professionals dinner

Legal Professionals dinner
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Post-game reception

Post-game reception
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Diana Green was the keynote speaker at the Women's Luncheon.

Diana Green was the keynote speaker at the Women's Luncheon
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Anna (Grothe) Zarlengo handed out door prizes at the Women's Luncheon

Anna (Grothe) Zarlengo handed out door prizes at the Women's Luncheon