Greater Columbus Regional Association receives charter
When asked why she chose to study mathematics at Marietta College, and why she remains connected to her alma mater more than 50 years after earning her degree, Sally Heckert Uhde ’63 had a ready answer.
“For myself, in addition to acquiring a top-notch education, I also formed many lasting memories and lifelong friends,” Uhde says. “Excellent education, lasting memories and special friendships are just a few of the reasons why I along with five of my Sigma Kappa sorority sisters and their spouses — most spouses are not Marietta graduates — have returned to campus for Homecoming every five years since graduating in 1963. We all have a deep affection for Marietta and look forward to coming back for our 55th in 2018.”
Though it had only been a couple of weeks since Uhde had visited campus, she and her husband, Dick, were among the first alumni to arrive to the chartering ceremony for the Greater Columbus Area Regional Association in mid-April. More than 50 alumni and friends registered for the event, which was held at the Grange Insurance Audubon Center on April 18.
President William N.Ruud gave the crowd updates on what’s been happening at the College including the new branding strategy, burgeoning academic programs and news on the athletics front. As the seventh Regional Association formally chartered by the College, Ruud issued a challenge to “Lucky No. 7.”
“Here is my challenge to you,” he says, “figure out how to muster up as many events in the Columbus area as you possibly can. There are about 3,000 alumni living in the greater Columbus area; find ways to get together and then take it a step further.”
He encouraged the group to share with fellow alumni and other Regional Associations what they’re doing, whether it’s attending a baseball game, coordinating volunteer projects or establishing scholarships for future Marietta College students coming from their region.
“I know you won’t be able to attend every event planned, but we’re still going to invite you to every one of them,” he says. “You will always be welcome.”
That invitation struck a chord with Ellen Beaver Rumpff ’97.
“This is the first event (in Columbus) I’ve been able to attend,” she says. “With work and raising a family, it’s not always easy to get away to these types of things, so I’m happy (Ruud) said that.”
Rumpff was happy to see a familiar face at the launch, Jessica Vaughan Melfi ’97.
“We didn’t know each other well but we were in the same class,” Melfi says. “I wasn’t sure if I’d see anyone I knew, so it’s nice to catch up.”
Ruud also invited alumni to come back to Marietta for Homecoming Weekend (Oct. 19-22).
“This is our 20th reunion this year,” Melfi says. “(Ellen) and I talked about possibly making it a girls’ weekend at Homecoming.”
Melfi and Rumpff haven’t made it back to Homecoming for a number of years, but both always take a detour through campus whenever driving past Exit 1 on Interstate 77 to see the place that provided so many fond memories and dear friends to so many generations of alumni.
“You asked, ‘Why Marietta?’ It doesn’t take long to realize that Marietta College is truly a very special place, not only for graduates,” Uhde says, “but for anyone who has had the opportunity to experience Marietta College from the outside looking in.”
- Gi Smith
Special bond helps Philly-area alumni stay connected to Marietta
Near the end of the evening, Katie Transue ’16 and Eileen Walsh ’16 started to laugh and debated whether there was any sort of retroactive discipline that could be levied against them.
Confident they would be OK, they started to share their big secret as students at Marietta College.
“We had a paper or a project for Dr. (Carolyn) Hares-Stryker’s class, and we knew we wouldn’t get it done if we went back to our room,” Transue says.
“So we hid in a cabinet in Legacy Library until they locked up the place,” Walsh finishes. “Are you sure we won’t get into trouble?”
Transue and Walsh were among about 25 Marietta College alumni gathered at the Bourbon Blue in Philadelphia to help launch the College’s eighth regional association — Cincinnati and Cleveland will be added in June. Attendees snacked on items like shrimp cocktail shooters, crab cakes and meatball lollipops, while sampling a special Marietta drink … yes, it was blue.
“We came tonight to reconnect with people and it’s nice to see some familiar faces, and also see how the College is doing,” says Kim Malsin Glynn ’95. “It’s nice to know what’s coming up, what’s new and see how we might contribute.”
Glynn, who experienced a near-fatal car accident as a student, says Marietta is the type of school who helped her graduate despite her long recovery.
“My life is my life because of Marietta,” she says. “I met my husband (Tom ’95) and we have two kids. I knew my professors by name and that small community was important.”
Transue, who carpooled with Kelsey Schenck ’16 and Benjamin Burkhart ’14, reminisced a bit on the 90-minute drive from New Jersey.
“We talked about the professors we had, as well as the lives we had outside of the class,” says Burkhart, who grew up in Barnesville, Ohio. “I’m still meeting people from the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s who had similar experiences, and that’s Marietta.”
Schenck said they all agreed they weren’t quite ready to say goodbye to Marietta after graduation.
“On the drive over we talked about how none of us packed because when we graduated our parents showed up and we weren’t packed and ready to leave,” she says. “We didn’t want to leave. We weren’t prepared to leave.”
Walsh echoed those sentiments.
“I feel like Marietta is this gem that not a lot of people know about. I’m so excited to be here and meet other people from Philly and New Jersey,” she says. “We’re here to see how our experiences were and reminisce on that and share the spirit of it. Marietta is a spirit of trueness. People are so genuine at Marietta. I love Marietta and that we can have (a regional association) here.”
Tim Bennett ’85, a member of the Marietta College Alumni Association and champion for the Philadelphia area having a new regional association, is looking forward to seeing how Marietta alumni from this region continue to come together in the name of the College.
“Back in the late ’80s, Philadelphia had a very active regional association, or club, as we called it. Having just graduated Marietta, and moving to a new city, the regional club was a great way to maintain my connection to the College,” he says. “Thirty years later, the same holds true. The regional associations are a way to stay connected, and in many cases, re-engage with Marietta College as evidenced with the Philadelphia launch. There are so many positive things happening at Marietta College right now and we should all join in and be part of the success. If you can’t make it to Ohio, your regional association is the next best thing to celebrate the Navy Blue and White.”
- Tom Perry