Perfect weather and exciting athletic successes for the baseball, men’s volleyball, and women’s tennis teams marked Alumni Day 2016 at Erskine College, as several hundred alumni and family members gathered on the Due West campus Saturday, April 23, for class reunions and the renewal of friendships.
Dr. Clifton Earl Linderman ’59 and Harriet Elizabeth Smith Linderman ’60 of Statesville, N.C., were joint recipients of this year’s Alumni Distinguished Service Award. Director of Alumni Affairs and Annual Fund Buddy Ferguson ’82 presented the award during a meeting of the Erskine Alumni Association in Lesesne Auditorium. “This year it is an honor to recognize a wonderful Erskine couple with this award.”
Dr. C. Earl Linderman, an ARP pastor who has received several degrees from both the college and seminary, retired in 2001 and was named pastor emeritus of New Sterling ARP Church. Harriet Smith Linderman, who worked as a high school math teacher and church pianist, was the first recipient of the E.B. Kennedy Scholarship at Erskine. Both have served Erskine and the ARP Church in numerous capacities over many years and have endowed the Dr. J. Calvin Smith Scholarship. Their three children, Bill, Carol, and Susan, are fifth-generation alumni of Erskine College. “Erskine is very dear to our hearts,” Harriet Linderman said, and her husband added, “Erskine is a very special place—it’s like a second home.”
Rebekah Jean Carson ’00 received the Outstanding Young Alumni Award. A missionary with World Witness, an agency of the ARP Church, Carson serves in Germany in the area known from 1949-1990 as East Berlin. Erskine President Dr. Paul Kooistra, who presented the award, said he felt he knew Carson since she had served on a mission team that included representatives from the Presbyterian Church in America’s Mission to the World, an agency he led for many years. Carson said Erskine had taught her to be a lifelong learner, preparing her for her work in Berlin. As a missionary, she said, she learned it was essential to “First go in as a learner—learn about the struggles and joys of the people there.”
Kooistra was called back to the podium when Alumni Association President Andy Byrd ’88 made the surprise presentation of the Erskine Service Award to the Erskine president. Saying he was humbled by the award, Kooistra noted the presence of some of his family members in the audience, saying, “It was a surprise to me when they showed up here.”
Honored in absentia was David J. Vickery, who was named an honorary alumnus. Professor of Music Dr. J. Brooks Kuykendall ’97 said that Vickery, who is married to Lind Fant Vickery ’65, retired after 30 years as an educator and became director of Christian education for the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. He has served as a member of the Erskine Board of Trustees, the Bonclarken Conference Center Board, the James Love Education Fund, and Lucyle Love Foundation, and the James Love Bonclarken Foundation.
Ferguson gave an update on the Erskine Annual Fund. The goal for 2015-16 is $1.8 million. “As of today, we have received a total of $1.488 million,” he said. Explaining that an anonymous donor has offered to match up to $50,000 in new or increased gifts, he added, “We will make sure that our students reap the benefits of your generosity.”
Members of the Alumni Board of Directors rotating off this year were recognized, and included Amy Cunningham Alexander ’91, David A. Danehower ’74, Scott Fleming ’77, Jo Ann Griffith ’56, Harriet Smith Linderman ’60, and Lewis N. McKelvey ’81.
Alumni Association President-Elect Angie M. Grooms ’77 presented the slate of Alumni Board nominees. Chosen to serve were Barry Eller ’70, Jim Bradford ’71, Laura B. Quillian Rogers ’80, Trip McGill ’82, Tripp Boykin ’92, and Rob Kuykendall ’94.
Activities for the day included class meetings and reunions on and off campus as well as athletic events, among them three pivotal matches in which baseball won its first-ever Conference Carolinas championship, men’s volleyball captured its second conference championship in three years, and the women’s tennis team won its regular season conference championship.
Sharing the beauty of the Due West campus with returning alumni Saturday were prospective students and their families, who received an introduction to Erskine, took campus tours, and enjoyed a barbecue lunch under the Towers during Erskine Admissions’ Spring Open House.
See more photos from Alumni Day here.