Julie Conlon

Equinox Staff


On Oct. 14 and 15 Keene State College celebrated Homecoming in a weekend filled with athletic accomplishment and Owl pride.

On Saturday, KSC Women’s Soccer dominated Rhode Island College, Women’s Field Hockey crushed Eastern Connecticut State University, and Men’s and Women’s Rugby beat Castleton and Bates, respectively.

Before the athletics took place on Saturday, “3 Ways ‘Til Sunday,” KSC’s improv team, performed for a packed house of students and alumni in the Night Owl Café in an hour-and-a-half show of improvised games.

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“It’s great to show the alumni what we as students are carrying on with since they’ve left,” Dan Gannon, a second year member of the team, said.

Saturday morning at the Alumni Center, following a Student & Alumni Brunch, Norma Walker from the class of 1951, and Ken Goebel, director of development for KSC, unveiled a new owl statue for the courtyard of the Alumni Center. Beneath “Hooty” a plaque read, “In Honor of Our 60th Reunion, June 3, 2011, Class of 1951.”

Other highlights included opportunities for students to sign a beam to be placed in the new TDS Center, and the chance to view “The Goonies,” a movie which played outdoors on the Fiske Quad.

But it was the calm before the storm on Friday afternoon where the first real win of the weekend took place with the “Life After Liberal Arts Alumni Panel” in Centennial Hall at the Alumni Center.

With a mix of 21 students and faculty in attendance, Mary Pleasanton, coordinator of Employer Relations and a career advisor at KSC, introduced a panel of seven alumni. Each panelist arrived prepared to share what they accomplished after graduating from KSC.

Chris Cameron, a 2006 graduate and now professor of history at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Norman Murray, now a third year student at Suffolk Law School, encouraged students to explore beyond their major, so as to gather a “broad spectrum of education” while in college.

2011 graduate Paula Raymond made the point to tell her audience to find something that, at the end of the day, made a difference. She also told her listeners she regretted discontinuing her study of French as she stressed the importance of becoming bilingual.

On the subject of language, Corey Henderson, a 2007 graduate, credited KSC for giving him the chance to create his dream future of being a Spanish teacher.

Henderson said, “Keene prepared me to do so much… follow your dreams, because you can do and you should do everything you want.”

The last to speak was Angie Frazier from the class of 2000. While at KSC, Frazier worked as executive editor of the Equinox. Currently, Frazier has four young-adult fiction novels with Scholastic.

Frazier encouraged her audience to become passionate about something and explore everything possible within that passion. When asked for advice on how students might stay positive when setbacks arrive, Frazier said, “You have to be stubborn…You have to be persistent and almost delusional that you’re going to make it-you’re not going to fail.”

With talk of accomplishment leading the way, expectation turned toward George Barber, Ryan Costa, and Jenaya Paradis, all 2011 graduates.

Having been in the “real world” for only a matter of months, these individuals relied on their enthused spirit to captivate their audience as they told the group of their dreams as they enter their new chapters.

Barber, who graduated with a degree in American Studies, spoke highly of his years at KSC when he said, “Most people are fortunate to have one or two good things happen to them in school, and I’ve certainly had many.”

Costa, who studied English and minored in writing, stressed the need for students to remain aware of their finances throughout their college years.

Paradis, who graduated with a degree in English and a psychology minor, told the audience she is “not doing at all” what she had expected following graduation, but said she was okay with still figuring out her life.

The three displayed their enthusiasm for their future when they discussed their baby creation, “Public House Press,” a blog they started only months before. The blog is a place for people to submit any kind of writing to be promoted on the web.

The three admitted the risk taken in their dedication to their “from-scratch” creation.

It was this element of fresh excitement and eagerness that allowed these individuals to outshine the list of accomplishments the other panelist provided.

It was this moment that defined Homecoming weekend for President Helen Giles-Gee.

Giles-Gee showed gratitude toward the panel of alumni when she said, “The alumni spoke so eloquently of the impact of a liberal arts education. I don’t think I could speak any better than they did.”

Following the event, she commented on the panel’s gift of story and advice when she said, “The passion they had, the entrepreneurial spirit…their ability to go out and do things they hadn’t even anticipated to do…I was so impressed and proud of what they talked about.”

Giles-Gee continued when she explained this year’s panel exists as the very first “Life After Liberal Arts” event.

She said she expects to see more students at the event next year, because “the message from recently graduated students to their colleagues about what they need to do, what they should expect, and how to handle it, is invaluable.”

With homecoming behind KSC and six busy weeks ahead before break, students can be reminded by the alumni’s words to remain loyal to what drives them amidst the craziness of college.


Julie Conlon can be contacted at jconlon1@ksc.mailcruiser.com

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