We were reminded recently that not everyone understands what we do in the office everyday. I was approached by a questioner who wanted to know what we were working on. The questioner certainly understood the general purpose of the Foundation, but was unsure what could keep three people busy all the time.
Great question, and an eye-opener for me. Most of our activities are cyclical in nature and so become routine to us. However we forget that for many each yearly event is brand new.
Such an event is happening this month. I’m going to attempt to help you capture some of the excitement generated by that activity. Each May at graduation, which falls during the Memorial Day weekend, the MLS Foundation gives special recognition to the class which graduated 50 years ago. These certainly are very important members of the Seminary family. Planning begins a year or more in advance but becomes really intense in March. Working in conjunction with a committee from the class I send a letter inviting the honorees to their special weekend. As the replies begin to arrive the excitement builds.
Many have not returned to MLS since their graduation and are curious about changes which have taken place. One of my first tasks is to create a website which they can view and begin to reconnect with each other and the school. The Foundation covers the cost of the website for one year, and several classes have continued it beyond that year. This is the site for this year’s group: MLS Class of 1962
Classmates send in questionnaires so that I can compile a commemorative booklet for them. It’s great fun to see the then and now pictures. It also amazes me year after year to see the wealth of talents God has given to each class and the way He has made use of those talents.
We call this event “Lifelong Friendship.” This is so evident when the classmates begin to arrive. The friendships formed at MLS live on. On Friday afternoon they park in a reserved area at MLS and come to the MLS Commons for an hors d’oeuvre reception hosted by the Foundation. Smiles, hugs, and reminiscences! Truth is, the class is usually too busy visiting to eat the snacks. Then they receive an extra special treat, a ride on a school bus. Who wouldn’t want that? The bus ride whisks them away to an elegant dinner and more time to visit. A professional photographer takes a class picture and each receives a print to take home as a memory. After dinner the class gets back on the bus and rides back to MLS for the MLS Commencement Concert. After enjoying the talents of the current students they stay at their seats and greet well-wishers. If you would like to say hello to them, the concert takes place Friday, May 25 beginning at 7:00pm.
Saturday morning the class comes together again to tour the school. We learn so much as members say, “When we were here this was the…” or “This wasn’t even here in 1962.” Back from the tour, the class sits in specially designated seats for the graduation service. During that service their “names ring once more in these hallowed halls” as each is introduced individually.
The class meets on its own Saturday evening for dinner, usually right on campus. There we have one more treat for them, a then and now slideshow created from historic and current photos of MLS and their yearbook and current pictures. They get together one more time for brunch after church on Sunday.
I can’t express the joy it gives me to give this weekend to our treasured alumni. You can help to ensure that the Foundation has the information it needs to keep this recognition running smoothly. We maintain an alumni directory, and appreciate all the updates we receive. You can logon here: Alumni Directory.
MLS Foundation Records Specialist
PS As always, feel free to share this with those who would find it helpful