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Sept. 24, 2010

125 years in the making – DWU brings in anniversary with a bash

MITCHELL — Contrary to popular belief, Dakota Wesleyan University didn’t begin with a cornerstone, nor can its inception solely be attributed to its letters of incorporation.

It has always been people who breathe the life into an institution. The moment the first student set foot on the grounds, Dakota Wesleyan became what it is today – a place of learning and self-discovery.

And it is as much for the people, as it is the place, that DWU celebrates its 125th anniversary this year during Blue & White Days Oct. 1-2. There are multiple events open to the public, and the entire weekend culminates with the Blue & White Bash Saturday, Oct. 2, with the Village People at the Corn Palace.

The Blue & White Bash is as much for the campus as it is the community that has helped make Dakota Wesleyan University what it is today, a vibrant institution with a mission to educate and serve. Tickets are $30 for general admission and can be purchased at the Corn Palace or online at www.cornpalace.com.

Jeff Olson, a 1975 DWU alumnus who still has family in Mitchell has been touring as the Cowboy with Village People since fall 1980. At DWU he studied biology, history and music and got involved in a band, Step Child. When the band broke up, he moved to California to pursue music and even acted. He then modeled in the U.S. and Paris before being discovered by a music producer for Village People.

The DWU alumni quartet from The 1960s Highlanders, will open for the Village People at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 2, with the main event beginning at 8:30 p.m.

There will also be multiple people honored Friday, Oct. 1, during the Legacy Banquet. These people are honored for their service and/or patronage to the college. There will also be three Distinguished Alumni Awards given.

Jim McLaird, class of 1962, will be awarded the Distinguished Alumni Award for the College of Arts and Humanities. Carol Nogle Lucas, class of 1961, will receive the Distinguished Alumni Award for the College of Healthcare, Fitness and Sciences; and George McGovern, class of 1946, will receive the Distinguished Alumni Award for the College of Leadership and Public Service.

The Kugel Reunion Choir will also perform at the Legacy Banquet – these are students of the former music professor, William Kugel.

The following events will lead up to the big Bash and are open to the public:

Friday, Oct. 1
11 a.m. – The Opperman Lecture, Sherman Center, Jim McLaird, professor emeritus and 1962 DWU graduate, will present “Writing for Pleasure,” a discussion about writing and researching “The Dakota Wesleyan University Memory Book, 1885-2010,” and what it means to be an investigative historian. Open and free to the public. Book signing will follow until noon.
1:30 p.m. – Book Signing, McGovern Library, Jim McLaird will sign copies of “The Dakota Wesleyan University Memory Book, 1885-2010.”
2 p.m. - Rededication Ceremony of the “Little Tree that Never Grew,” north of Smith Hall – Students from the ’60s will recall the story of the little tree and how in 1968, it was vandalized and cut to nothing more than a stump. Well, it grew and is beautiful today, a true reminder and metaphor of the resiliency of DWU and its students. A special ceremony will recreate that piece of DWU’s history.
6:30 p.m. All-class football reunion, Highland Conference Center, pre-registration required, www.dwu.edu/125.
8:30 p.m., 1970s era reunion, call 995-2603 for information.
8:30 p.m., pep rally and burning of the “W,” Jackson Plaza.

Saturday, Oct. 2
9 a.m., Anniversary Worship, Sherman Center, This worship service, led by the Rev. Kermit Culver '77, features the 70-member Kugel Reunion Choir and will acknowledge all South Dakota and North Dakota clergy.
9:30 a.m., Fun Run/Walk for Water, Main Street, meet at CorTrust Bank parking lot on Main Street, one block north of the Corn Palace. Preregistration required, go to www.dwu.edu/125 to sign up.
10 a.m., pre-parade alumni gathering at CorTrust Bank parking lot on North Main
10:30 a.m., Homecoming Parade
Noon, Buffalo Barbeque, outside Joe Quintal Field
1 p.m., Homecoming football game, Joe Quintal Field, DWU Tigers vs. Midland Lutheran College Warriors.
5-7 p.m., Classes of 1960-1961 reunion dinner, Knox Conference Room, preregistration required, www.dwu.edu/125
5-7 p.m., All-class nursing reunion dinner, Wild Oak Golf Course, preregistration required, www.dwu.edu/125
7 p.m., Blue & White Bash, with the Village People, Corn Palace, tickets are $30, buy on site or in advance at www.cornpalace.com.

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Last updated: 9/24/10