October 1, 2018, Carlinville, IL – Blackburn College hosted hundreds of alums from across the country at the annual Homecoming celebration on Sept. 28-30. A cool, rainy start to the day did not detract from the celebrations that were held all across Blackburn’s campus.
Several alums celebrated milestone class reunions, while many enjoyed soccer and volleyball games, toured new additions to campus since they were last at Blackburn, and attended entertaining and enlightening presentations. Kicking off the weekend with an all-campus cookout on the patio of Demuzio Campus Center, attendees could participate in the annual Beaverthon 5K race, an actors’ studio workshop with veteran actor and fellow alum Randy Steinmeyer, and tours of the dorms that brought memories of their college years back to life. Blackburn professor of English and Communications Dr. Karen Dillon entertained with stories relating to her newly published book The Spectacle of Twins in American Literature and Pop Culture, while Biology professor Dr. Ed Zalisko presented a fascinating photo narrative on his most recent trip to Iceland.
Homecoming 2018 culminated with a touching musical tribute to former Blackburn Music professor Dr. Roger Hatlestad, who passed away in April 2018. Coordinated and directed by Blackburn Music professor and Chair of the Music & Theatre department Dr. Elizabeth Zobel, the event was held in Blackburn’s beautiful Clegg Chapel. The stirring tribute recognized Dr. Hatlestad’s contribution to Blackburn’s and Carlinville’s music culture from 1971-1995, and also paid homage the outstanding character of the beloved former professor, mentor, and friend. Performed by the Blackburn College Choir, Blackburn Voices (Madrigal Singers), Blackburn alumni, and community singers, the moving pieces included Blackburn Hymn (John Forbes, Harold Lowe), When I Survey the Wondrous Cross (Gilbert M. Martin), Like as the Hart Desireth the Waterbrooks (Herbert Howells), Gloucestershire Wassail (Traditional English arr. Elizabeth Zobel), Sicut cervus (As the deer) (Giovanni da Palestrina), Sing We and Chant It (Thomas Morley), Ave verum corpus (Hail, true body) (Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart), Still, Still, Still (Austrian Carol, arr. Norman Luboff), and The Lord Bless You and Keep You (John Rutter).
Founded in 1837, Blackburn College is a four-year, Presbyterian-related, co-educational liberal arts college located in Carlinville, Illinois. One of the seven work colleges in the U.S., Blackburn is the only one with a student-managed Work Program. Blackburn was also ranked by US News as one of the Top 50 Midwest Colleges in 2016 and the #5 Best Value in Regional Colleges in the Midwest; and The Washington Monthly ranked the college as the best baccalaureate college in Illinois for 2016 and among the top 50 in the U.S.