The Gaither Vocal Band – featuring Bill Gaither, Michael English, Mark Lowry, David Phelps and Wes Hampton – performed Saturday (October 2) for a capacity Homecoming Weekend audience at Indiana Wesleyan University’s new 3,800-seat Chapel-Auditorium. The event concluded Spirit Week, the Board of Trustees Meeting and Homecoming.
The Grammy Award-winning band, along with special guests Gordon Mote and Buddy Greene, were joined by the 90-voice IWU Chorale – plus 100 former chorale members – for the three-hour concert. The concert also featured a University string quartet, brass ensemble and male quartet.
“Indiana Wesleyan University was honored to host the Gaither Vocal Band, as well as hundreds of alumni, students, Trustees and friends this past week,” said Dr. Henry Smith, IWU President. “The campus was energized by the men and women participating in worship and reunion activities, celebrating long-standing and new friendships, and seeking God’s guidance for the future of IWU.”
A day earlier, the IWU Student Center – the largest building on the residential campus in Marion - was renamed in honor of Dr. Jim Barnes and his wife, Professor Tommie Barnes. Jim Barnes was president of IWU from 1987 to 2006, and then served as University Chancellor before retiring on December 31, 2009. Tommie Barnes has taught in the Education Department since 1988 and is a former Director of Student Teaching. The Barnes Student Center, which covers 200,000 square feet, was built and expanded three times during Jim Barnes’ 19-year tenure as President.
The previous weekend, IWU students began their Homecoming activities by participating in Clean Up Marion, an annual day in which students serve the community. This year’s efforts focused on picking up trash along the Cardinal Greenway through Marion.
Dr. Diane Foley and Dr. Steve Foley, husband-and-wife physicians in Colorado Springs, received Alumni Outstanding Service Awards for their work in organizing medical teams in the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake. Diane Foley, a 1980 IWU graduate, was reared in Haiti where her parents were missionaries. Steve Foley graduated from IWU in 1979.
IWU seniors Lisa Massey and Erik Longenecker were named Homecoming king and queen. Massey is an International Relations major, and Longenecker is majoring in Elementary and Special Needs Education.
In addition to the traditional class reunions, two other IWU milestones were observed during Homecoming: the 40th anniversary of women’s athletics at IWU and the 35th anniversary of IWU nursing programs.
Homecoming 2011 is scheduled for September 30 through October 1.