Homecoming 2019 to celebrate and dedicate new campus spaces

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Hesston College’s annual Homecoming Weekend, Sept. 26 to 29, will include dedications and celebrations of the new and renovated facilities for nursing and athletics. Along with class reunions and other traditional homecoming activities, the weekend lineup, which is also part of the community-wide Home Sweet Hesston event, includes events for people of all ages from the campus and larger community.

“Homecoming celebrations in Hesston have become a community effort over the last few years,” said Dallas Stutzman, Hesston College director of alumni and church relations. “Representatives from several community organizations work intentionally to highlight our wonderful community and the variety of resources and services offered here. We want the whole Home Sweet Hesston week to be fun for all ages.”

A full weekend schedule of Hesston College events, registration and other information can be found online.

The dedications of three new campus spaces – The Bonnie Sowers Nursing Center, Bess Mullet Softball Field, and a renovated Yost Center – are the highlighted focus of the weekend. The projects were part of the $6.5 million Be Greater capital campaign that opened in the summer of 2016 and wrapped up in fall 2018 with construction beginning in January 2019. Each facility will have its own dedication ceremony and program, honoring donors who made the project possible, as well as students and programs who will most directly benefit from the campus additions.

The dedication and ribbon cutting of the Bess Mullet Softball Field will be at 4 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 27, on the field south of Bontrager Student Center. The field was made possible by a lead gift from the family of Bess and Roy Mullet, whose sons own neighboring Excel Industries and have maintained a decades-long relationship with Hesston College.

Following the dedication, the field will host its first activities with a student home run derby, an alumni vs. varsity softball game and recognition of Lark softball teams who have made national tournament appearances. A hamburger and hot dog picnic meal catered by the Water’s Edge will be available for $8 for adults and $4 for kids over the age of four.

With athletics as the theme for the evening, a dedication ceremony for Yost Center will be at 7 p.m., Friday, Sept. 27, in the newly renovated facility. In addition to the renovation, Yost Center also received new additions of an entryway and a student weight room and fitness center.

To round out the dedication celebration, the Lark women’s and men’s basketball teams will take the floor in Hoopla, a kickoff the upcoming basketball season with introductions of the team, audience contests, gifts, prizes and recognition of national tournament basketball teams from the college’s history.

The Bonnie Sowers Nursing Center will be dedicated at 4 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 28, at Hesston Mennonite Church on the Hesston College campus, followed by a ribbon cutting outside of the facility and an opportunity to tour the space. The nearly 10,000 square foot addition to the existing nursing facility is named in honor of faculty emerita and former Nursing Program Director Bonnie Sowers, who served at Hesston College from 1970 to 2018.

Nursing facility tours will also be available from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. on Saturday.

Community-wide homecoming events at Hesston College include:
• Food truck meals, 5 to 7 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 25, in the north Main Street Hesston College parking lot
• Home Sweet Hesston parade, 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 25
• Homecoming Golf Benefit in honor of Floyd Sowers, 1:30 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 26, Hesston Golf Park. Registration and information.
• Late Night at the Lincoln Perk, until 11 p.m., Friday, Sept. 27
• Community breakfast and bake sale, 8 to 10 a.m., Saturday, Sept. 28, at Water’s Edge
• Free coffee bar and live music, 9 to 10:30 a.m., Sept. 28, at the Hesston College Larks Nest patio
• The Manickam Mosey two-mile run/walk, 9 a.m., Sept. 28. Registration and information available.
• Reception for John Blosser art exhibit, 10 to 11:30 a.m., Sept. 28, at Friesen Center for the Visual Arts. Blosser is a Hesston College emeritus art professor who taught at Hesston from 1978-99.
• Hesston College disc golf tournament, 1:15 p.m., Sept. 28, Hesston College disc golf course. No registration, but a minimal pay to play fee will be charged on site.
• Lark Volleyball vs. Ottawa JV., 2:30 p.m., Sept. 28, in Yost Center
• Free kids’ festival with games, bouncy houses, face painting and music entertainment, 5 to 7 p.m., Sept. 28, lawn east of Yost Center
• Barbecue meal, 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., Sept. 28, lawn east of Yost Center, catered by Knackies Catering and topped off with homemade ice cream by the Water’s Edge. Adults, $13, children over four, $6. Community attendees can RSVP for the meal by calling 620-327-8147.
• Lark Volleyball vs. Sterling College JV, 7 p.m., Sept. 28, in Yost Center, with free admission for all. Tours of the new facility will be available, as well as audience contests, gifts, prizes and recognition of Lark Volleyball national tournament teams from the college’s history.