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Opening ceremony kicks off Homecoming festivities

More than 100 members of the Elon community attended the Oct. 17 event that kicked off this year’s Homecoming festivities with the recognition of eight distinguished alumni and class and affinity volunteers.

Associate Director of Alumni Engagement Durice White ’09 leads the audience on an Elon cheer.

The excitement was palpable as Elon alumni, faculty, staff and friends gathered on the second floor of Moseley Center Friday evening to celebrate the accomplishments of eight outstanding alumni and officially kick off the 2014 Homecoming Weekend.

The event opened with Associate Director of Alumni Engagement Durice White ’09 leading the audience on a cheer and closed with a thunderous rendition of the school’s fight song by the school band, The Fire of the Carolinas.

During the event, which included remarks by Elon President Leo M. Lambert and Board of Trustees Chair Dr. William N.P Herbert ’68, eight outstanding alumni were recognized with the 2014 Elon Alumni Awards for their professional success, community engagement and loyal support of Elon as partners, advocates and investors. Honored were:

  • Louis M. “Mike” Riccio JR. ’85 P’18, chief financial officer, La-Z-Boy Incorporated, Alumnus of the Year
  • Gail Hettel LaRose ’64, former educator and lifelong Elon supporter, Alumna of the Year
  • David L. Morrow II ’07 L’10, Legal Counsel, PayPal, Young Alumnus of the Year
  • Kim Spurgeon Hayes ’05, film office analyst, Nevada Film Office, Young Alumna of the Year
  • The Rev. Erin M. Keys ’05, acting head of staff, First Presbyterian Church of Greenwich, Conn., Service to Church & Society
  • T.J. Reynolds-Emwanta ’01, Supplemental Security Income/Social Security Disability Insurance outreach, access and recovery specialist, CenterPoint Human Services, Alumni Service Award
  • Tim Johnson ’09, director and editor, and Max Cantor ’10, independent filmmaker and writer, Distinguished Service to Elon Award
(l-r) 2014 Alumni Award recipients back row: Tim Johnson ’09, Max Cantor ’10, Louis M. “Mike” Riccio JR. ’85 P’18, The Rev. Erin M. Keys ’05, David L. Morrow II ’07 L’10; front row: T.J. Reynolds-Emwanta ’01, Gail Hettel LaRose ’64 and Kim Spurgeon Hayes ’05.

“Alumni are not about the past of this university; alumni are about the future of this university because the reputation of this university will be based on the accomplishments of its alumni,” Lambert said during his remarks. “Think about these people and the contributions they are making to this world.”

The event also honored class and affinity reunion volunteers who came back to campus this year to connect, engage and celebrate their milestone reunions with their classmates, friends and the Elon community. The groups continued the tradition of giving back to their alma mater by presenting checks to the university. In all, class reunion and affinity groups raised $1.57million in support of their alma mater.

“Your support, whatever way it takes, means so much” to the development of Elon, Herbert said, “[because] this is our school.”

Keren Rivas,
10/17/2014 9:15 PM