Alumni Day 2017 at Erskine brought alumni and friends back to a spring-green campus April 22 for festivities that included family fun, good food, athletic events, and musical entertainment.
Following a brief concert by the Erskine Choraleers, the Class of 1967 presented its 50th reunion gift, a check for $50,000. Half the amount is designated for establishing an endowed scholarship, with the remaining $25,000 to fund refurbishment of the fountain near Carnegie and placement of two new scoreboards, one for softball and the other for soccer and lacrosse.
The Rev. Howard Max Bolin ’77, a graduate of Erskine Theological Seminary, and Cynthia Coulter Bolin ’76, a graduate of Erskine College, were joint recipients of this year’s Alumni Distinguished Service Award. The Bolins’ daughter, Assistant Athletic Director Rebecca Bolin Magee ’06, presented the award to her parents during the Alumni Association meeting in Lesesne Auditorium.
The Rev. Max Bolin, an ARP pastor who served for 29 years at Old Providence ARP Church in Spottswood, Va., was seminary student body president at Erskine and has served several terms on the Erskine Board of Trustees. “It is a privilege to be part of the Erskine family,” he said, and added that although he was “drafted” for various tasks at Erskine, he had “a sense of God’s call” to that service. He stressed the importance of ensuring that Erskine be “a place where Christ is honored.”
Cindy Bolin graduated from Erskine College with a double major in English and psychology. Co-editor of the Erskine Review, she was active in ODK, Chi Women, and Choraleers, and won the Edgar Long English Award. She is a retired middle school teacher and has taken leadership roles in choir, adult Sabbath school, vacation Bible school, women’s Bible study, and women’s denominational ministries. “It has been my honor to say I’m an alumna of Erskine, to have my daughter follow me there, and to support Max as he served on the Erskine Board,” she said.
Jamey Dagenhart ’08, who majored in business administration at Erskine College and went on to graduate from Erskine Seminary in 2010, was given the Outstanding Young Alumni Award, presented by Alumni Association President Angie Grooms ’77. He is director of public relations and human resources for Riverview Medical Center in Rock Hill, S.C., and serves as chaplain for Riverview Hospice and Palliative Care.
An elder at First ARP Church in Rock Hill, where he teaches Sunday school and leads the youth group, Dagenhart helped to spearhead a disability ministry at First ARP, “Just Joy,” and now serves as chairman of that ministry’s board. Co-director of All American Athletes, a sports league for children with special needs, he also works with the Church Equipping Team of Joni and Friends to help churches integrate special-needs families into active church life. He is married to Tiffany Driscoll Dagenhart ’10 and they are the parents of Parker, age two, and Caleb, six months.
The Erskine Service Award was given in absentia to Dixon Cunningham and Dody Mauldin Cunningham, members of the Class of 1963. Vice President for Alumni and Advancement Buddy Ferguson ’82 said the Cunninghams served on the staff of the Mirror as students and went on to serve on the Board of Counselors. Dixon Cunningham has been a member of the Erskine Board of Trustees, providing assistance to his alma mater on the investment committee and the finance committee. “This great team has built a life of service,” Ferguson said. “Much of their effort has been directed toward service to their alma mater.”
Named an honorary alumna this year was Dena Hodge, a longtime Erskine staff member and mother of Jay Hodge ’96, Cary Hodge ’02, and Millie Hodge Runyon ’02. She has served in the facilities and advancement offices and is now assistant to Interim President Dr. Robert Gustafson. When Ferguson called her to the podium from backstage where she was helping to distribute the awards, she was clearly surprised. “You caught me totally off guard,” she said. “Buddy Ferguson pulled a fast one on me.”
Hodge said that since beginning work at Erskine in 1990, she has worked with many wonderful people and has seen the contributions of others who have been named honorary alumni. “It’s very humbling,” she said. “I’m very thankful.”
Members of the Alumni Board of Directors rotating off this year were recognized, and include Mary Alex Senn Kopp ’11, Jane Boswell McDonald ’53, James H Moore ’77, Linda Young Price ’68, Cory O.B. Robinson ’11, and Tara Cox Setzler ’04. Also honored was outgoing secretary Ann Clarke Judd ’74.
Grooms conducted the election of new board members. Chosen to serve were Andrew Calcutt ’85, Phillip Cook ’92, Jane Shelton Dale ’73, Zachary S. Davis ’08, Shawn Marler ’07, and Brandon Wright ’10, as well as Ashley Aldridge Weyer ’97, secretary, and Herb Jordan ’68, president-elect.
Interim President Dr. Robert Gustafson offered opening comments, acknowledging the contributions of the grounds staff and noting that Erskine is ranked second among most beautiful Christian college campuses in the South by Christian Universities Online. He also thanked others whose work is not often recognized, including those who provide housekeeping and dining services at Erskine.
Gustafson asked alumni to consider an unrestricted gift to Erskine’s Annual Fund. “Your giving to Erskine does matter, and matters deeply,” he said, explaining that 70 to 80 percent of unrestricted funds support professors and students.
Ferguson spoke candidly about this year’s Annual Fund goal of $1.65 million, saying contributions are behind where they should be at this time. “I ask you to pray that funds would be found,” he said. “Prayerfully consider what you can do for the Annual Fund.” Contributions to the 2016-17 Annual Fund are accepted through June 30, 2017.
Grooms welcomed alumni and friends, and Ross McEwan, outgoing president of the Student Christian Association, gave the closing prayer. McEwan, a graduating senior from Glasgow, Scotland, spoke about his conversion to Christ during his early days as an Erskine student.
Activities for the day, beginning with the Red Eye Run at 8 a.m., included class meetings, dinners, and reunions, as well as baseball games against Belmont Abbey and a softball game against Southern Wesleyan. Pianist Mac Frampton ’66 presented a free concert in the afternoon, and the Student Christian Association hosted an evening concert by “I Am They,” a band from Nashville, Tenn.
See more Alumni Day photos here.