From 1964 to 1966, Hesston College brought eight students from across the country to Erb Hall where they bonded by living, studying, playing, pulling pranks and going to chapel together.
Orv Gingerich, Duane Kauffman, Richard Kauffman, Harley Kooker, Michael Lambright, Lloyd Mumaw, Lorne Rideout and Duane Sauder formed deep friendships during their time at Hesston. They all went their separate ways after graduation but managed to stay in touch from time to time.
In 2001, 35 years after graduating from Hesston College, Sauder proposed all eight men, along with their wives, meet at his house in Archbold, Ohio, for a weekend reunion. That reunion was the first time they had all been together since 1966.
“It was one of the most incredible weekends of my life,” recalls Kooker. “We spent one whole day just sitting around and catching up. There was a lot of laughter and tears as we remembered our years at Hesston College and what has transpired in our lives since then.”
The 2001 reunion was the beginning of a tradition for the group. Since then they have managed to meet every other year. The 2009 reunion was postponed because of the college’s centennial celebration, but October 2010 found all eight men and their wives at Kooker’s cabin in the Pennsylvania mountains for another weekend of reminiscing and reconnecting.