Skip to Content
Entrance to Taylor University

Taylor Officials Expect Big Crowd for Upcoming Homecoming and Family Weekend

  • By: James R. Garringer
  • Published:
Taylor University Entrance Wall

Taylor University officials say a crowd of more than 2,000 alumni, parents,, and family members is expected on campus this weekend for the 2019 Homecoming and Family Weekend at Taylor. 

This year’s installment of the annual event is scheduled Friday through Sunday, October 4-6, and includes numerous reunions, musical and athletic events, open houses in residence halls, and other special programming. Event planners also say a number of food vendors will be on campus providing a variety of dining options for Taylor’s students and guests. 

The Taylor alumni council will also present service and recognition awards to a group of alumni who include: 

  • Russell Balikian '09, Distinguished Service Young Alumnus: Balikian served as a law clerk to Justice Clarence Thomas during the 2018-2019 Term of the U.S. Supreme Court. Prior to clerking for Justice Thomas, he practiced law for four years in the Washington, D.C. office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, where he specialized in civil appellate litigation and administrative law. He earned his J.D. from Yale Law School in 2012, and he studied Political Science and Biblical Literature at Taylor University.  
  • J. R. Briggs '01, Distinguished Service Alumnus: Briggs is a pastor, author, and speaker who launched Kairos Partnerships in 2011 where he serves leaders in the roles of whole-life leadership coach, consultant, speaker, professor, equipper, preacher, author and encourager of leaders. He received his Masters of Missional Theology degree at Biblical Theological Seminary and is currently finishing a Doctor of Ministry degree from Missio Seminary, writing his doctoral thesis on the need for question-based leadership in the future of the Church in North America. 
  • Whitney Fry '03, G. Roselyn Kerlin Women in Leadership: Fry has nearly 15 years of professional involvement in global health and gender-based violence prevention, with a particular focus on social science research and positive systems change. Applying strengths-based methodologies such as Appreciative Inquiry to facilitate transformation amid complexity, Whitney has steered vision to improve the public’s health in Egypt, Sri Lanka, Jordan, Sudan, South Sudan, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Somalia, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya and the United States. She holds a BA in biology from Taylor University, an MPH in International Health and Complex Emergencies from Tulane University, and a DrPH in Health Policy and Management from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is based in Nairobi, Kenya.     
  • Todd Syswerda '91, Distinguished Service Alumnus: Syswerda is a member of the faculty at Indiana Wesleyan University where he teaches music composition, songwriting, and music theory. He holds a degree in Music Composition from Taylor University, and a Master’s and Doctorate from the University of Northern Colorado. 
  • Daphna Tobey H'19, Honorary Alumna: Tobey is President of the Newberry Group of Indianapolis, which owns and manages long-term care facilities in the Indianapolis area. She is certified in Health Care Administration and is a Dementia Training Specialist. Daphna has served the local church as an ordained elder and has served on Taylor University's Board of Visitors since 2014. She is actively involved in her local Great Banquet community serving as its Spiritual Director and trainer. She is a teacher on John 17 Ministries radio program, Daphna’s Daily Bible Readings, which transmits to over 70 countries every week. 

Additionally, the Taylor Athletic Hall of Fame will induct five new members: 

  • Rick Atkinson '69, Baseball and Coaching: The 2019 campaign marked Atkinson’s 16th overall season as assistant coach for Taylor Baseball. As a student he played for Taylor from 1966-68 under Coach Jack King, and helped the Trojans to a conference championship. After graduating he signed a contract with the Atlanta Braves. He was later inducted into the Indiana High School Baseball and Grant County Halls of Fame. In 2009 he was named President of the Grant County Hall of Fame. 
  • Tyler Beachler '12, Men's Soccer: Beachler was named 2011 NAIA Third-Team All-American and was a four-time All-MCC standout, including 2011 MCC Player of the Year. He was Taylor’s 2011-2012 Gates-Howard Award recipient and two-time team captain. 
  • Casey Coons '13, Men's Basketball: Coons was two-time NAIA Honorable Mention All-American (the seventh player in Taylor Men’s Basketball history to earn multiple NAIA All-American honors) and four-time All-MCC standout (including 2009-2010 MCC Newcomer of Year). He was the 2012-2013 Taylor Gates-Howard Award recipient, and two-time CoSIDA Academic All-American (first player in Taylor Men’s Basketball history to be named CoSIDA Academic All-American). In 2011-2012 he was named CoSIDA MBB Academic All-American of the Year (the first player in TU history to be named CoSIDA Academic All-American of Year). He finished his career as Taylor’s second leading scorer with 2,138 points and first with 359 three-pointers made, while leading Taylor in scoring all four years. 
  • Molly (Drooger '14) Currens, Women's Soccer: Currens was named a 2012 NAIA Honorable Mention All-American, and was four-time All-MCC selection, including two-time MCC Offensive Player of the Year. She was three-time NSCAA All-Region performer and Taylor’s 2013-2014 Natalie Steele Award winner. Currens finished as Taylor’s all-time leader with 59 goals and 131 points, while netting 19 game-winning goals, also a program record. She scored at least 15 goals in three of four seasons and helped Taylor to eight or more wins in all four seasons. 
  • Tanya Crevier, Meritorious Service: Crevier has been a long-time friend of Taylor Athletics as consistent performer at Taylor Basketball Camps and half-time shows for basketball games for nearly 40 years. She is a legendary basketball handler and inspirational speaker who has performed nationwide with NBA, WNBA, and for numerous colleges. She made it to the live shows on America’s Got Talent and also appears at camps and at Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Upward Basketball programs around the country. Her outreach extends as she shares her message of hope with audiences around the world. 

Partial schedule: 

Friday, October 4

  • Allison Luce Art Exhibit, 8 am–5 pm, Modelle Metcalf Visual Arts Center Art Gallery
  • Chapel, 10 am, Rediger Chapel/Auditorium
    Alumni Award Recipients’ Reception, 1:30 pm–2:30 pm, Boren Campus Center: Howell Galleria
    Basin and Towel Sculpture Dedication, 3:30 pm, Gift of the Class of 1969)                                                                     
  • C.S. Lewis Lecture, 4 pm, Zondervan Library: Main Level Meeting Room
    Harvest Festival Dinner, 5 pm–7:30 pm, Hodson Dining Commons
    Reunion Dinners, 5 pm, various locations                                                                                           
    Volleyball vs. Lincoln Christian University, 7 pm, Odle Arena
  • Taylor Music Concert, 7:30 pm, Rediger Chapel/Auditorium
  • Intramural Flag Football Championship Games, 8:30 pm, Turner Stadium
  • Rice Pilaf (student improvisational comedy group), 9:30 pm, Rediger Chapel/Auditorium ​

Saturday, October 5

  • Taylor Bike Ride, 8 am, Randall Science Center Parking Lot (registration at 7:30 am)
  • 5K Run, 8 am, in front of the Rupp Communication Arts Building (registration from 7–7:45 am)                
  • Athletic Hall of Fame Brunch, 9 am, Hodson Dining Commons
  • University Update by Interim Leadership/Faculty Open House, 10 am, Euler Science Complex: Lembright Atrium/Rotunda
    Student/Faculty Research Poster Presentations, 10:30 am, Euler Science Complex: First Floor
    Tailgate Lunch, 11 am–2 pm, Odle Parking Lot (in case of rain, Hodson Dining Commons)
  • Reunion Row Lunch, 11:30 am, Kesler Student Activities Center Fieldhouse
    Kids Zone, 12–4 pm, Kesler Student Activities Center Fieldhouse
    Men's Soccer vs. Grace College, 1 pm, Turner Stadium
  • Cardboard Boat Regatta, 2–4 pm, Taylor Lake
  • Live Music: The Jungle Cats, 2–4 pm, Boren Campus Center: Wheeler Stage
  • Food Trucks, 2–8 pm, Odle Parking Lot
  • Alice Hamilton Bust Dedication and Reception, 3 pm, TBD
  • Football vs. Indiana Wesleyan, 7 pm, Turner Stadium 

Sunday, October 6

  • Prayer Brunch, 9 am, Hodson Dining Commons
  • All Campus Worship Service, 10:30 am, Rediger Chapel/Auditorium