Reunion 2014 Calls Alumni to Remember, Celebrate
WILMORE, Ky. — It’s been nearly 60 years since Dick Smith first experienced Asbury, but the memory is fresh.
“My first time in Hughes Auditorium, we sang the hymn, ‘And Can It Be’ — which I know I had sung before,” he said. “But when they cranked up the pipe organ and everyone joined in, goose bumps ran up my back and I thought I must be close to heaven. I was 17 years old.”
Smith returned to the Asbury University campus this weekend with hundreds of fellow alumni for Reunion, an annual gathering of graduates and their families who return to share old stories and make new memories. Events kicked off Thursday evening with a “Bluegrass at the Bridge” dinner featuring live music and upscale cuisine, followed by a performance of “The Beams Are Creaking,” presented by Asbury students in the Theatre & Cinema Performance program.
On Friday, alumni were welcomed back to the heart of Asbury’s campus, the historic Hughes Auditorium, with a Chapel service led by Rev. Dan Baer ’09. He encouraged the alumni to allow the faith-filled stories of their past to prepare them for new work in their future.
“Scripture gives a clear call to us, as a people of God, to remember,” he said. “But remembering is the means to an end: preparing for things still to come. We remember what God has done for us to prepare for what God will do for us.”
Throughout the afternoon, friends reconnected, former roommates got caught up, spouses were introduced and a new generation began making their own Asbury memories through a variety of activities geared to kids and families. Everyone came together for an evening program featuring SandArtist Joe Castillo, whose artistic abilities were affirmed in 2012 across the nation on the hit show, “America’s Got Talent.” His innovative depictions of creation, the United States, freedom, the parable of the Prodigal Son and the Passion of Jesus earned a standing ovation for their spiritual clarity as well as his technical skill.
“Where else do you find a college or university with the integrity this one has?” wondered alumnus Benis Lutz, a member of the Class of 1954 and longtime educator and lay leader in his church. “The staff and professors are dedicated to the task and the mission. It’s just a special place.”