This fall, The University of Olivet’s Homecoming is going to be like no other. The institution will kick off its 175th anniversary as well as welcome alumni home for many annual favorites and new events, including the Alumni Awards Celebration and President’s Panel. In addition, the weekend schedule also boasts the special All Alumni Block Party, welcoming all alumni and friends to honor Soronian’s 150th anniversary.
Registration for all events is open now.
Soronian Turns 150
Soronian, also known by the Greek letters Iota Kappa Omicron, has been an integral part in The University of Olivet’s rich history since it’s founding as a collegiate society in 1847. In fact, the organization is recognized as the oldest all-female collegiate literary society in the continental United States. In 1868, the society officially became known as a sorority, marking its 150th anniversary this year.
To honor this incredible milestone, Soronians of all generations are hosting the first annual Alumni Block Party Saturday, Sept. 29 following the football game at the organization’s residence – Sperry Hall, located on the corner of Shipherd Street and Cottage Street in Olivet. The party will include a DJ, dance floor, games, raffles, silent auction and much more. A variety of food trucks will also be serving an array of sandwiches, Mexican dishes and craft beer.
“The meaning of this event is hard to put into words,” said Kim Whitney ’95, one of the Soronian alumnae who have taken on an impromptu role as party planner. “It’s very much a feeling – it’s incredibly important for alumni to get together. It’s very exciting that Soronian will be celebrating its 150th anniversary alongside The University of Olivet’s 175th. Sperry Hall is a representation of the love all of our sisters have for each other, and we’ll be able to share that in a new way with other alumni.”
For Kim, she says pledging to Soronian as a sophomore was the best decision she has ever made. Still today, despite living in Chicago, Kim is surrounded by her sisters, and more importantly, a close-knit family. She says it’s these relationships built while at The University of Olivet that have inspired her to stay engaged with the college decades after her graduation.
Those same relationships are also why Kim encourages fellow alumni and friends of the college to come home to OC during Homecoming and attend the All Alumni Block Party. The celebration will serve as a platform to make new connections and strengthen old ones, in a fun and unique way. In fact, Kim has already experienced this simply through planning the party.
“It has not been a chore to plan the All Alumni Block Party,” Kim said. “It’s been a great reason to reach out to sisters who I haven’t talked to in years and ask them to get involved. Every time I’ve been met with excitement and big ideas. I think that’s an example of our sisterhood – it doesn’t feel like it’s been years since we’ve connected. I know the same will be true for other alumni when they return to campus – it will never feel like they’ve left because the sense of community and family lives on regardless how long it has been since you’ve graduated or visited.”
Reflect on the Past, Strive for the Future
While the All Alumni Block Party stands as an opportunity for alumni to celebrate and connect over OC’s 175-year history, it is also a time to engage in the college’s future. Funds raised during the All Alumni Block Party will play an important role in ensuring the organization’s home will serve generations of future Soronians.
“The house is in need of major repairs,” Laura Markin ’11 explained. “Currently, the second floor porch, which has served as a gathering place for so many sisters, needs a structural renovation, as well as a few main areas like bathrooms and our chapter room floor. We need places to connect, both Soronians and all alumni, and we’re proud to serve the alumni base in this way.”
To attend the All Alumni Block Party, connect with fellow Comets and help Soronian launch its next 150 years, purchase your ticket by Aug. 31 for a discounted price. All alumni, friends, staff, faculty, students and community members are invited to join the celebration.
“It’s kind of mind blowing for Soronian to turn 150 and for The University of Olivet to celebrate its 175th anniversary,” Laura exclaimed. “It’s really special, and I think we should all be really proud, whether you are a Soronian or an Olivetian. This is the perfect time to reflect on how far we have come, celebrate the Comets who are doing great things and continue to strive to make Olivet what it is today into the future.”
Learn more about 2018 Homecoming and OC’s 175th anniversary celebration, and register for events now, including the All Alumni Block Party. Also, check out the Alumni Awards Celebration Friday, Sept. 28., when Mike Fales ’75, Lou Diaz ’59 and Breanna (Bath) O’Keefe ’08 will be honored for their commitment to The University of Olivet, and Laura Fiorino ’02, Chris Gumper ’96, Vern Hazard ’83, David Millward ’97 and Kathy (Hughes) Roche-Wallace ’00 will be inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame.
Contact Samantha Pearl ’00, director of alumni engagement, at 269.749.7644 or firstname.lastname@example.org for questions.