Cornerstone Day has long been a celebratory day around North Central College. An annual celebration, it commemorates the College’s move to Naperville from Plainfield and the laying of the cornerstone for Old Main on May 17, 1870. This year’s Cornerstone Celebration Picnic just happened to fall on the same date—May 17—and the College invited the whole community to the party.
Held at the Riverwalk Gateway, the picnic drew some 2,000 people from the campus and community. They enjoyed a free lunch prepared and served by various Naperville eateries: Angeli’s, The Bangkok Village, Belgio’s Catering, Cafe Buonaro’s, Chartwells, Kernel’s Gourmet Popcorn, Kuma’s Asian Bistro, Nancy’s Pizza, Q-BBQ, Quigley’s Irish Pub, Sullivan’s Steakhouse, Twisted Olive and Whole Foods Market.
Residents of the Monarch Landing retirement community said their favorite food was the Thai cuisine. Members of the men’s cross country and track & field teams were simply enjoying the change in menu options.
North Central College students provided musical entertainment throughout the picnic. Several musical theatre students performed, including Max, Billy, Mark and Brett who sang as near-perfect imitators of Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons. Vocalist Alyssa Allgood ’14 and the Big Band and Combos student jazz ensembles also performed.
Local residents Esther Mosher and Mary Kelley especially enjoyed the music. “We come to everything you have, all the music and theatre shows, going way back, and just love them all,” said Esther.
Alumna Brenda Gaines Hunter ’82 read about the picnic on Facebook. “I just returned to the area and wanted to stop by campus, see what’s new and hopefully catch and talk to my English advisor.” Elisabeth Volkamer ’13 came to the picnic at the urging of her roommates. “I’ve never been before and didn’t want to miss this before I graduate.”
Last year’s Cornerstone Picnic was held at its new site—the Riverwalk Gateway—and included a ceremonial groundbreaking for the gateway project, then under construction. This year’s picnic enjoyed the landscaped and brick-paved walkway of the Riverwalk Gateway, which was completed in fall 2012 and has enhanced pedestrian access and beautified the campus for the enjoyment of the community.
Prior to the event, attendees were invited to participate in a campus-wide food drive and bring donations of nonperishable food items to be donated to Loaves & Fishes Community Pantry. All spring term, the campus community has been working to collect 5,000 pounds of food by June 10 toward the Loaves and Fishes’ Freedom from Hunger Community Food Drive. Ministry and service staff provided collection boxes on site.