The following is a collaborative reflection by Editor-in-Chief Cameron Kelly and section editors Kirsten Marsteller and Quynh Nguyen:
Between October 21 and 23, the University of Redlands welcomed proud Redlands graduates and family members as they joined current students on campus to celebrate Homecoming & Family Weekend 2022.
Kicking off on Friday, the main event of the day was the Celebrating Endowment and Legacy Luncheon held in the Orton Center. There, donors and members of the Cortner Society gathered to reunite with old friends, mingle with fellow alumni and university faculty, and meet current students.
The George P. Cortner Heritage Society is named after the University of Redlands’ business manager who served from 1914 to 1946. Cortner also served as mayor of Redlands. To be eligible for membership in the Cortner Society, you must have named the university as a beneficiary of your estate, a charitable remainder annuity trust or unitrust, a qualified retirement plan, or a cash-value life insurance policy or a commercial annuity. Those who transfer certain real property to the university subject to a life estate or who name Redlands as an income beneficiary of a charitable lead trust are also eligible.
I had the privilege of sitting with Cortner Society members Bob and Jean Erikson, class of 1961, at the luncheon. Mr. Erikson was involved in the chapel choir during his time at the university, where he studied education. Mrs. Erikson, meanwhile, studied psychology, as they would both go on to dedicate their lives to education. Mr. Erikson served as a junior high principal and school superintendent, while Mrs. Erikson was a fourth and fifth grade teacher.
Melina Estrada, a senior at the university and president of the Maroon and Grey Student Ambassadors, gave a heartwarming speech thanking our donors for their ongoing support. In her speech, Melina outlined all the experiences and opportunities she was exposed to thanks to her education at the University of Redlands. The entire event was a pleasant experience in which current students were able to connect with alumni over their shared Redlands education. The event concluded with a passionate Och Tamale chant.
Throughout the weekend, alumni gathered together to celebrate numerous class reunions. On Friday night, the class of 1997 gathered together in Hunsaker to reconnect with their peers. During the reception, these alumni mingled, laughed, and reminisced over their time together here at the University.
As dinner was served, alumni gathered around the tables with their spouses and old friends to continue the evening. Soon, several alumni requested to sing karaoke to everyone’s delight and amusement. As dinner began to come to a close, one alumna came forward to give a speech. She thanked everyone for traveling out and discussed the community that she and her fellow alumni have found in each other. Even after 25 years, she concluded, her University of Redlands experience and the people she met throughout it remain close to her heart.
On Saturday, Community Service Learning (CSL) hosted their Homecoming event at the Sustainable University of Redlands Farm (SURF). I had the privilege of briefly working at the Big Buddies table, as I am a mentor in the program. We decorated paper bags with a Halloween theme for visitors to fill with popcorn while they enjoyed the garden.
The CSL event welcomed students, alumni, and families to explore the SURF Garden where students have the opportunity to learn about sustainable agricultural practices.
The event provided food, live music, and activities, including pumpkin painting, pony rides, and even a petting zoo. Food trucks from local small businesses provided lunch for purchase directly outside the garden including tacos, chicken wings, and an array of loaded fries. Inside the farm, participants had the opportunity to grab some free snacks, including popsicles from local ice cream shop, Nicho’s. A bar was also provided for any participants over the age of 21 who were interested in purchasing alcoholic beverages while enjoying the event.
Earlier the same day, students and alumni interested in the creative writing process networked at the Writers’ Room Coffee Connection held in the Hall of Letters. The event was joined by alumna Leslie Ferguson ‘95, award-winning author of the memoir titled When I Was Her Daughter, who shared her experiences and expertise in the industry to aspiring students.
The highlight of the weekend was the all-university Dinner on the Quad. There, guests played games like cornhole and giant Connect 4, and enjoyed dinner, cotton candy, and kettle corn. The event was well-attended by current students, families, and alumni.
Photo by Photo Editor Kyle Eaton.