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LWC's 81st Homecoming Weekend Celebrates College's Growth

Posted on Sunday, November 04, 2012 [1:13 AM]

COLUMBIA, Ky. -- Lindsey Wilson College President William T. Luckey remembers the first LWC homecoming he attended in 1983.

That weekend's highlights were wrapped up in three events: an alumni awards banquet and a men's and women's basketball game.

"Homecoming has become much more than just a couple games," Luckey said at Saturday at the annual Alumni Awards Brunch in Roberta D. Cranmer Dining & Conference Center. Overall, the weekend's events marked the college's 81st homecoming weekend.

"This place has blossomed right before our very eyes," said Luckey, who has been LWC's eighth president since 1998. "We've seen it happen, in slow motion almost."

As an example of LWC's dramatic changes over the last three decades, Luckey recited several of this year's homecoming weekend activities: three basketball games, two soccer matches, a football game, a performance by a world-renowned classical violinist, two theater productions, a 5K run/walk, multiple reunions and the rededication of an auditorium.

"You can't see the grass grow, but it's growing; the same thing with this college," Luckey said. "Sometimes you're so close to it that you can't see it. But if we step back for just a moment, this college is just blossoming here."

At the Alumni Awards Brunch, the LWC National Alumni Association recognized three individuals: 1961 alumnus Ben Breeding, an Adair County native who now lives in Springfield, Ky., received the Distinguished Alumnus Award; 1997 alumna Amanda Main of Louisville, Ky., received the Outstanding Young Alumna Award; and Tula Peterson of Campbellsville, Ky., received the Honorary Alumna Award.

On Saturday afternoon, the LWC student body crowded the homecoming queen and king during halftime of the LWC-Bethel (Tenn.) University football game at Blue Raider Stadium. Emily Ramage of Columbia was crowned queen, and Musa Muwanda of Kampala, Uganda, was crowned king. Ramage represented the Lindsey Wilson Singers, and Muwanda represented the men's soccer program.

The weekend was rounded out with a Saturday night rededication of V.P. Henry Auditorium, which proceeded a performance of the French farce Don't Dress for Dinner, directed by LWC Assistant Professor of Theater Robert Brock.

Part of one of LWC's original three buildings, V.P. Henry Auditorium was expanded during Henry's presidency, which was from 1942-54. Over the summer and fall, the college spent more than $150,000 to overhaul the century-old space was more than $150,000 in renovations.

"I feel very fortunate," Brock said during the rededication ceremony. "To work at a college where you have these kind of people at the top who believe in this kind of thing and are going to get behind it -- that doesn't happen everywhere."

Luckey said that without the Henry family, LWC might not have survived the 1950s. That's why he said the Henry family is "perhaps the most important family in the 109-year history of Lindsey Wilson College."

During Henry's tenure as the college's third president, enrollment dropped to 62 because of World War II. Henry, however, was not discouraged. He served at least three years without salary while continuing to work for the Louisville Annual Conference.

After LWC narrowly avoided an effort to close it, Henry turned the college around. The Emily Hundley President's Home and the T.D. and Rowena Everett Building -- which was originally the college's first free-standing library building -- were built, and LWC also received its first accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

"We owe an entire debt of gratitude to the entire V.P. Henry family," Luckey said.

Ed Henry, who is one of President Henry's two surviving children, marveled at how LWC has remained true to its mission while also expanding exponentially.

"It is a gratifying thing for us, as members of the Henry family, to see what is happening at this school at this time during these years," he said at the rededication ceremony.

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Click here to see more than 500 pictures from homecoming weekend.

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