Two momentous ceremonies were the highlight of Alumni Day 2019 on June 1 — the ribbon cutting opening the newly renovated Eyre Dorm and the groundbreaking marking the beginning of the construction of the Betty and Russ 5W0 Harvey Athletic Field.
After one year of refurbishing, Eyre Dorm was made like new, ready for the 2019-2020 school year. It is now cleaner, healthier, more comfortable, a safer place for students to live in, has a floor plan that enhances a sense of community, and is in compliance with all major codes. Also, the historical integrity of the building, designed by Frank Furness, famed Victorian era architect, was maintained. The project gave students valuable hands-on trade experience, including carpenters, masons, painters, and horticulturists, working under the leadership of carpentry instructor John Capuzzi 0W2, who was the project supervisor. A big thank you goes to the funders of this project — the Connelly Foundation, the Crystal Trust, the George I. Alden Trust, the McClean Contributionship, and the 25th Century Foundation. Taking part in the ribbon cutting were: Mark Specht 7W7, chaplain; President Michael Rounds; Christopher Thomas, Class of 2W0 president; Josephine Mandeville, chair of the board of the Connelly Foundation; William Bonenberger 7W9, board chairman; and John Capuzzi 0W2, carpentry instructor and project supervisor.
The construction of an artificial turf, multi-sport athletic field officially opened with a ribbon cutting. With three varsity sports played on the main athletic field — football, soccer, and lacrosse, practices, intramurals, and pickup games — the field receives a great deal of wear and tear. The new field, no matter how much use it receives, will be in great shape each time a team sets foot on it. The new field is being named the Betty and Russ 5W0 Harvey Athletic Field in honor of the long-time drafting instructor, who passed away April 18, and his wife. Among his many contributions, Russ taught drafting for 36 years and often was involved in athletics. Betty played piano in chapel every morning for years, helped in the College Store, was a volunteer in the Student Clothes Closet, and was there whenever help was needed. A big thank you goes to the funders of this project — The Rowan Family Foundation and The Crystal Trust. Taking part in the groundbreaking ceremony were: Lisa McCormick, daughter of Russ and Betty, William Bonenberger 7W9, board president; Daniel Flood 8W1, trustee and Alumni Association president; Christopher Thomas, president of the Class of 2W0; Daniel Drake, head football coach; Dale Plummer, athletic director; and Mark Specht 7W7, chaplain. Betty Harvey and Brian McCormick, Lisa’s husband, were also in attendance.
The day kicked off with the invitation-only President’s Breakfast under a tent on the lawn in front of Rowan Hall. After an opening prayer by Rev. Mark Specht 7W7, the group enjoyed a breakfast buffet prepared by Tim Burbage, director of food services, and his staff. Then, opening words were given by Mary Nell Rounds and President Michael Rounds.
Arlene Snyder, vice president for institutional advancement, then spoke on the importance of joining the Wanamaker Society, a way of supporting Williamson through wills and other planned gifts. Then, new Wanamaker Society members who were present received their society pins. They are: Frank Cross 6W1, Joyce Decker, Bruce Everett 6W9, Daniel Flood 8W1, Richard Getz, and Donald Zimmerman 4W8.
Throughout the day, guests enjoyed such activities as the Classic Car Show and the Family Fun Zone, which included a moonbounce and other activities for children. Popcorn, snow cones, and cotton candy were provided free by Richard Rothe. A sand sculpting demonstration was presented by horticulture instructor Chuck Feld, who sculpted Williamson’s core values.
President Rounds and Bill Bonenberger 7W9, board chairman, in the Clara Schrenk Memorial Chapel, gave an update on the state of Williamson, including the accreditation process, implementation of Pell/PHEAA, results of a recent alumni survey, and the plan for trade program assessments.
There also was an alumni chapel service, concert by the De La Salle String Band Orchestra, and an Alumni Association meeting. Throughout the day, guests enjoyed the College Store, the Auxiliary’s sale of crafts and baked goods, and touring the shops.
The day ended with the Class of 6W9; John Becker, president of the Class of 2W1; and President Rounds standing in front of the Class of 2W1 as the flag was lowered.