Memorable Weekend for Alumni | Benedictine College

Memorable Weekend for Alumni

Monday, June 15, 2015

ATCHISON, KAN. – Nearly 500 alumni of Benedictine College and its founding institutions, Mount St. Scholastica College and St. Benedict’s College, returned to Atchison for the annual Alumni Reunion June 12 – 14. The weekend featured the presentation of the Benet Awards, which date back to the founding institutions and honor prominent female and male alumni. This year, LenéWesterman ’85 received the 2015 Offeramus Medal and Byron Thompson ’55 received the 2015 Kansas Monk Award.

Mount St. Scholastica College, which joined with St. Benedict’s College in 1971 to form Benedictine College, established the Offeramus Medal in 1957 for alumnae who had distinguished themselves in their profession, showed a prominence of service to the civic community, demonstrated outstanding loyalty to the alma mater, and reflected honor on the college through family and social life.  In 1960, St. Benedict’s established the corresponding Kansas Monk Award for its graduates.

“I would not be the person I am today without Benedictine College,” Westerman said in an emotional acceptance speech during the ceremony. “The friendships that are so deeply established and the faith that I share with each and every one of you in this room tonight are very important to me. I am eternally grateful to those who steered me here to Atchison.”

Westerman spent her school years in Catholic education, from St. Paul the Apostle Grade School in Richardson, Texas, and Bishop Lynch High School in Dallas, she ventured to Atchison, Kan., where she attended Benedictine College, graduating in 1985. Today, she serves on Benedictine’s Board of Directors, where she is chairman of the Advancement Committee. She has also served for the past four years as co-chair of the annual Benedictine College Scholarship Ball, the school’s major fundraising event. She has followed in the footsteps of her late parents, Laura Jane and Howard G. Westerman Sr. ’50, as a firm believer of giving time, talent and treasure to her alma mater and community.

Byron Thompson is currently the chairman of Country Club Bank, based in Kansas City, Mo. He was born in St. Joseph, Mo., in 1932 and attended St. Benedict’s College, now Benedictine College, where he was involved in much of campus life, serving as senior class president, editor-in-chief of the College newspaper, The Rambler, and many other clubs and intramural sports. He graduated cum laude in 1955 with a Bachelor’s degree in economics.  He served in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War and was the crew chief on a B-26. He is the father of 11 children … with collective education provided to them of 59 years beyond high school.  He is also the grandfather of 47.

“This is an academic setting, that’s what this college is all about, and in an academic setting you’re taught to get those As and Bs, no Fs, no Fs. But tonight, I’m going to focus on Fs,” Thompson said in his moving acceptance speech. “I’ve had a Full life of Faith, Family, Friends, Fun. And what does education do except teach you ways to have a better Future? …And then it’s about Finish. Finish your life well. That’s the target. That’s what I hope I did. I love you all, thank you.”

Reunion Weekend

More than 460 graduates from as far back as 1945 returned to the Benedictine campus over June 12, 13, and 14 for the annual Alumni Reunion Weekend.  Many attendees brought spouses, children, and even grandchildren along to enjoy the camaraderie and festivities.

The reminiscing got underway Friday evening with special dinners for the designated class years. The Heritage Alumni, those beyond the 50th anniversary, had their own gathering, along with those celebrating their 50th reunion, 45th reunion, 40th reunion, 30th reunion, 25th reunion and 20th reunion. Following the dinners, which took place at venues across the campus, everyone gathered for the “Dance around the Fountain” in the Academic Quad. The rain held off and those attending enjoyed dancing under the stars to the music of Soca Jukebox.

Saturday was filled with events, including a gathering of Physics and Astronomy alumni, the All-Alumni Picnic, the traditional Ice Cream Social at the Mount and a wine and cheese tasting in the Murphy Room looking out over the Missouri River valley from the top floor of the Ferrell Academic Center. The celebrations culminated in the annual All-Alumni Reunion Banquet that evening. On Sunday, attendees were able to renew their wedding vows during Masses at both St. Benedict’s Abbey Church and at Mount St. Scholastica Chapel.

Founded in 1858, Benedictine College is a Catholic, Benedictine, residential, liberal arts college located on thebluffs above the Missouri River in Atchison, Kansas.  The school is proud to have been consistently named one of America’s Best Colleges by U.S. News & World Report.  It has also been named a Leader in Educational Excellence by Colleges of Distinction as well as one of the top Catholic colleges in the nation by The Newman Guide and First Things magazine.  Benedictine prides itself on outstanding academics, extraordinary faith life, strong athletic programs, and an exceptional sense of community and belonging.  It has a mission to educate men and women within a community of faith and scholarship.