• Eric Johnson, the current president of Kappa Sigma, stands next to the state historical marker on his fraternity house.
    Eric Johnson, the current president of Kappa Sigma, stands next to the state historical marker on his fraternity house.
  • Members of Kappa Sigma fraternity are celebrating their 125th anniversary at Homecoming this year.
    Members of Kappa Sigma fraternity are celebrating their 125th anniversary at Homecoming this year.

Southwestern’s long history will once again be on display as alumni return to campus Nov. 4-6 for the 2011 Homecoming and Reunion Weekend.

Among the more than 70 events planned for the weekend are 125th anniversary celebrations for the Texas Gamma chapter of Phi Delta Theta and the Iota Chapter of Kappa Sigma. Both were founded during the 1886-1887 academic year and are expecting to host more than 100 alumni and guests at Homecoming.

“I’m looking forward to meeting people who have shared the same traditions and to learning how the fraternity has evolved over the years,” said Eric Johnson, a senior biology major who is the current president of Kappa Sigma.

The Kappa Sigma house, which bears a Texas State Historical Marker, is the third one the fraternity has called home and was completely renovated over the summer to celebrate the anniversary. “It’s really great to see how far we’ve come,” said junior member  Robert Loomis.

Among the past members of Kappa Sigma was John G. Tower, a 1948 Southwestern graduate who went on to become a United States senator. Members of the fraternity will dedicate a tree in his memory near the A. Frank Smith Jr. Library Center at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 5.

Another dedication scheduled for Homecoming Weekend is the dedication of the  “Monstrance for a Grey Horse” sculpture, which was installed over the summer outside the library. The sculpture dedication will take place at 1 p.m. Nov. 5.

While Southwestern celebrates its past, it also will be looking toward the future at this year’s Homecoming and Reunion Weekend. The theme for the weekend is “You! The Fundamental Element,” which was selected to tie in with the university’s ongoing effort to raise money for a new science building. Several science-related events are planned for the weekend, including tours of the current Fondren-Jones Science Building.

The 11th Annual Jameson 5K Fun Run/Walk, which benefits students majoring in the sciences, will begin at 8 a.m. Saturday. Kenda Evans ’92 has organized the run since 2001 in honor of her brother, who graduated from Southwestern in 1990 with a degree in chemistry. To register for the event, go to www.Jameson5K.org. The race will start and finish on Southwestern Boulevard next to Joe S. Mundy Hall.

Two retiring members of the Mathematics and Computer Science Department – Barbara Boucher Owens and John Chapman −will be honored at a reception from 10-11:30 a.m. Saturday in the Mood Bridwell Atrium.

Alumni and friends also will have the chance Saturday to honor former Professor Emeritus of Religion and Philosophy Norman Spellmann, who died in September. A short ceremony will be held at the Norman & Betty Spellmann Memorial Grove on the east side of Kurth Hall at 3:30 p.m. and the group will walk to the Alumni Hospitality House in the Howry Center.

Other highlights of the weekend include the annual Homecoming Parade on the Academic Mall and the traditional Homecoming Picnic, where classes of Southwestern students from over the years join together over local barbecue from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Saturday.

Alumni also will have the opportunity to attend some “Classes Without Quizzes” and do a service project in San Gabriel Park with members of Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity. The Association of Southwestern University Alumni will present its annual Alumni Awards Saturday evening.

Alumni who hold records in Southwestern’s various sports also will be honored Saturday evening at a “T-shirt and Tennis Shoe” Reception.

A new addition to Homecoming and Reunion Weekend this year is a competition to see which student organization will receive the Homecoming Cup. Organizations will win points toward the Cup based on their performance in the annual SING! competition, the Homecoming Parade and a Capture the Flag game.

In conjunction with Homecoming and Reunion Weekend, the Williamson Museum is sponsoring a self-guided tour of the historic I.O.O.F Cemetery behind Southwestern on Saturday, Nov. 5, from 4-6 p.m. The tour will feature costumed interpreters who will tell stories about people who are buried in the cemetery. Tickets may be purchased for $10 on site or at the Williamson Museum, 716 S. Austin Ave. The cemetery is located at 701 Smith Creek Rd.

Homecoming weekend also will be the centennial celebration for the Williamson County Courthouse. The official celebration will be held at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday and the public is invited to stop by for cake.

The complete schedule for Homecoming and Reunion Weekend is available here.

- Ellen Davis and Jasmine SayGan



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