Beacon College welcomed home a larger wave of its own April 9 during the Second Annual Alumni Reunion.
Forty alumni — nearly doubling the inaugural event — enjoyed the two-day festivities that opened with a social event Friday night at the Via Port entertainment center in Leesburg and continued with get-togethers, speeches and enrichment workshops Saturday.
After Friday’s bowling and bonding at Via Port, the Saturday activities opened with President George Hagerty’s State of the College address. He gave context regarding the extreme makeover to facades and new buildings that recently have modernized the campus.
Alumni paid their respects to Chris Hall, Beacon’s longtime director of facilities and new development, who died in February. Faculty and alumni ignored the clock at the well-attended, emotional memorial service at United Methodist Church for a man beloved for as much for his music and sports prowess as his love of life.
Keynote speaker John Crossman, president of Crossman & Co., one of the Southeast’s largest real estate management companies, struck a chord sharing his “secret shame” of dyslexia and how it powered his success in his speech, “Slaying the Giants: Overcoming Doubt and Disability for Victorious Living.”
“I believe as we go through our lives that we have wounds,” he said. “It’s important to process them and use them as tools to be better adults and successful. … I learned at 42 that I was ‘super-duper’ dyslexic. It was helpful to know that I am not stupid.”
He added, “Peace, contentment and joy come with finding peace with yourself and giving back to others.”
Two enrichment workshops preceded a campus tour, a social hour mix and mingle and an alumni dinner.
Susan Ward, coordinator of the Career Development and Outreach Center at Beacon College, presented “New Career Resources & Changes for Beacon College Alumni.” Alumni appreciated her roundup of resume-building, interviewing and job-hunting services now available for their career pursuits.
“We had several alumni say during and after her workshop that this was so helpful and they can’t wait to use all the new resources to help them further their career,” said Chelsea Eubank, director of alumni and parent relations.
Meanwhile, Dr. Rosalyn Johnson, clinical supervisor and coordinator of therapeutic services at Community Health of South Florida in Miami, Fla., conducted a workshop on how to “Prepare for Success in Graduate School.” She provided tips for succeeding in graduate school and setting aside valuable “me” time.
When she wasn’t presenting, Johnson frolicked with her Class of 2009 classmates.
“It felt refreshing and wonderful to be reunited with so many familiar faces … many of whom I had not seen in the seven years since I graduated,” says Johnson, Beacon College’s first Ph.D. “I look forward to [the reunion] every year getting better and better as the Alumni Association continues to grow. I hope that the number of alumni who attend the [reunions] continues to grow as well.”
Andrew Marvin, Class of 2010, now Beacon’s assistant director of admissions, also gave his thumbs up.
“We are almost 27 years old as an institution and as the second alumni campus reunion, it was a great showing,” he said. “I hope for many more times were we can come together as a community of diverse learners and lives.”
Beacon’s most recent graduating classes represented: Alumni from the classes of 1999, 2001, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 participated.
“Of course, I would love to see every class year attending the reunion,” Eubank said. However, “I know as we grow that will for sure happen.”
To that end, the Class of 2016 received invitations to hobnob at a Saturday social hour with their soon-to-be fellow alumni. Five future alumni embraced the early opportunity to network.
“We had more people attend that were out-of-state alumni,” she said. “The guest speaker hit it out of the ballpark. I was just so happy overall with the turnout.”
Still, in keeping in step with myriad changing alumni tastes, she vows an evolution next year.
“It still is in the works,” she said, “but we are thinking something a bit more social and that it might include adventure.”