North Central College - Naperville, IL

A Night to Remember

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Hal and Benna Wilde, first dance
Hal and Benna Wilde, first dance

North Central College celebrated its Sesquicentennial in grand style Friday night, Nov. 11. More than 2,200 guests that included students, alumni, faculty, staff and community members gathered in the Residence Hall/Recreation Center for an evening of dining, dancing and entertainment.

The occasion marked the 150th anniversary of the first day of classes on Nov. 11, 1861.

“For 150 years, the mission of this college has been about faith and hope, about preparing the men and women who will shape the future, as citizens and leaders,” North Central President Harold R. Wilde told the audience. “That mission has never been more important.”

The 60,000-square-foot arena within the Res/Rec Center was transformed into a great hall of more than 220 tables, a stage, dance floor and dramatic lighting. Mobile kitchens were brought in to prepare the gourmet meal for guests. Visitors were entertained by students performing a medley of songs from the current production of “Guys and Dolls.” Entertainment included songs performed by fine arts alumni Alex Mersman ’09, Holly Schuetz ’00 Friend, Michelle Maves ’05 Delgenio, Doug Pawlik ’07, Andrea Larson ’10, Angie Snodgrass ’11 and Lucia Spina ’97.

Earlier Friday, College faculty, staff and others convened in Wentz Concert Hall for Convocation at the Sesquicentennial. The ceremony included a salute to veterans, with students singing a moving rendition of “Battle Hymn of the Republic.” Medals were presented to five people who produced books and video documentaries about the College’s 150-year history: Ann Durkin Keating—the Dr. C. Frederick Toenniges Professor of History; Pierre Lebeau, professor of history emeritus; Kim Butler, archivist; Chuck Savage, author and photographer; and Elizabeth Braham Spencer, adjunct professor of broadcast communication and executive director of Naperville Community Television.

Also honored were Outstanding Alumni Award recipients Dr. J. Charles Eldridge ’65, Colonel Stephen P. Taylor ’75 and Esther Benjamin ’90; Alumni Recognition Award recipient Ryan Dowd ’00; and Wall of Witness honoree the Rev. Dr. James Will ’49.

Friday was declared “North Central College Day” in the City of Naperville.

North Central Now Annual Report 2011