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Big 10 basketball coach, Pulitzer Prize winner, President Emeritus and former First Lady among honorees at Taylor’s Homecoming and Family Weekend

  • By: James R. Garringer, Director of Media Relations
  • Published:
People sitting outside food trucks at Homecoming & Family Weekend

Taylor alumnus and Ohio State men’s basketball coach Chris Holtmann, President Emeritus and former First Lady Gene and Marylou Habecker, and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Chrissie Thompson Fink are among those being honored next weekend at Taylor University’s Homecoming and Family Weekend, scheduled October 12-14.  

The annual event draws as many as 3,000 alumni, parents, family members and friends to the campus for a weekend of reunions, athletics, food, and this year, a Saturday evening concert performance by beloved musical artist Michael W. Smith.

Smith’s Saturday evening concert marks the third time the multi-platinum, three-time Grammy and 45 Dove Award-winning artist singer has performed on the Taylor campus. Alumni officials say less than 100 tickets remain for the concert, which begins at 7:30 pm., in the Rediger Chapel/Auditorium. For tickets, click here.

President Emeritus Gene Habecker and his wife and former Taylor Board of Trustees member Marylou will be inducted into Taylor’s Legion of Honor—the highest honor accorded by Taylor. They served Taylor as President and First Lady from 2005-2016. Highlights during Habecker’s tenure as president include:

  • $160 million raised for endowment and capital projects;
  • Construction of major campus facilities including the Memorial Prayer Chapel, Euler Science Complex, and the LaRita Boren Campus Center;
  • Construction of the Campbell and Wolgemuth student apartment complexes and Breuninger residence hall;
  • Construction and renovation of athletic and physical education facilities including the a combined football and soccer stadium and lighted practice facility, the Eichling Aquatics facility, and renovation of Odle Arena;
  • Establishment of international centers in Greystones, Ireland, and Cuenca, Ecuador and articulation agreements with Hongdong University, Korea; Verbo Church in Cuenca, Ecuador;
  • And nine straight years during which Taylor was the Midwest’s number one regional college nine straight times, as recognized by U.S. News and World Report.

Also among the honorees by the Taylor Alumni Association is 2008 alumna Chrissie Thompson Fink, who last spring was part of a Pulitzer Prize-winning team from the Cincinnati Enquirer that produced the investigative piece Seven Days of Heroin, a report on the heroin epidemic in Cincinnati, Ohio. The rest of the honorees include:

  • James B. Hall, M.D. ’69—Distinguished Service Alumnus
  • Suzy Roth ’90—G. Roselyn Kerlin Women in Leadership)

Chris Holtmann originally transferred to Taylor after his freshman year at Brescia University in Kentucky. Over the next three years, the guard led the Trojans to high national rankings, including the nation’s number one ranking his senior year, and multiple trips to the NAIA’s national tournament. After his playing career ended, Holtmann joined the Taylor coaching staff and began to rise through the coaching ranks, eventually landing head coaching positions at Gardner Webb, Butler, and Ohio State Universities. In seven years as a head coach, Holtmann has been named a conference coach of the year three times: once each in the Big South, Big East, and Big 10. Last year, his first year at Ohio State, Holtmann led the Buckeyes to a second-place finish in the Big 10, defying pre-season predictions the team would finish no better than 11th. Holtmann, who is being recognized for his playing career, is among four inductees to the Taylor Athletic Hall of Fame. The rest of the 2016 Hall of Fame class includes:

  • Betsy (Brown) Martinez—volleyball
  • Ryne Otis—baseball
  • Bill Jones—football (posthumously)

Event planners say a number of food vendors will be on campus providing a variety of dining options for Taylor’s students and guests. Food choices include: hot dogs, barbecue, tacos, burritos, Venezuelan food, Thai food, ice cream, and shaved ice.

Partial schedule:

Friday, October 12

8 am–8 pm: Mala Iqbal Art Exhibit, Modelle Metcalf Gallery

8 am–5 pm: Classes open to guests, academic buildings

10 am: Chapel, Rediger Chapel/Auditorium

1–3:30 pm: C.S. Lewis Center Open House, Zondervan Library

1:30–3 pm: Alumni Award Recipients’ Reception, Euler Science Complex: Legacy 64 Commons

3–4 pm: Lifelong Learning Session: Make Your Own TV Show, Rupp

7 pm: Alumni Flag Football Game, Turner Stadium

7:30 pm: Taylor Music Department Concert, Rediger Chapel/Auditorium


Saturday, October 13

8 am: Taylor Bike Ride, Randall Science Center parking lot

8 am: 5k run, west side of Rupp Communication Arts Building

9 am: Hall of Fame Brunch, Hodson Dining Commons

9:30 am: Presidential and Faculty Reception, Lembright Atrium, Euler Science Complex

11:30 am–1:30 pm: Reunion Row Lunch, Kesler Student Activities Center Fieldhouse

12 pm: Cardboard Boat Regatta, Taylor Lake

1 pm: Football vs. Marian University, Turner Stadium

2–8 pm: Food Trucks, Odle Parking Lot

4 pm: Men's Lacrosse Scrimmage w/Alumni, Lacrosse Field (west of Boyd Maintenance Complex)

6 pm: Men’s Soccer vs. Saint Francis University, Turner Stadium

7:30 pm: Michael W. Smith Concert, Rediger Chapel/Auditorium

Sunday, October 14

9 am: Presidential Prayer Brunch, Hodson Dining Commons

10:30 am: All Campus Worship Service, Rediger Chapel/Auditorium