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Corban University

October 23, 2019

Corban Celebrates 50 Years in Salem with Music, Food, and Fun at “A Corban Homecoming”

The plink of banjo strings could be heard half way across campus as the Severin Sisters graced the air with Americana music. The banjo, joined by acoustic guitars and a fiddle, set the stage for A Corban Homecoming with bluegrass and country renditions of classic songs. You could even hear people gently singing along as they waited to order food truck fare. One student hummed, “Rock me, mama like a wagon wheel” as she stood in line for So Cheesy, while others lined up for The Big Noodle, Spud Bus, and Island Girl’s Lunchbox.

Freshman Aimee Sygney said, “I ate at So Cheesy. I had the mac and cheese, and a giant ice cream cone. It was really good.” She added, “My family was here for the first half hour, so it was really fun to catch up with them and take some pictures.” Although Aimee’s parents only drove the 45 minutes from Dallas, Oregon, other families traveled even greater distances to make it to Homecoming. Alexis Gonzalez’ parents came all the way from Idaho, and even purchased matching “Celebrating 50 Years in Salem” Corban anniversary T-shirts.

Shirley Turner, Alumni Coordinator, remarked that Corban’s 50th anniversary made this particular Homecoming extra special. “50 represents, culturally, a significant number,” she said, adding, “It represents the longest stretch of time that Corban has been in one place!” 50 years in Salem suggests “a sense of stability for Corban in terms of a landing spot and place of growth.”

In addition to special T-shirts for purchase, Corban celebrated 50 years by going all-out for this year’s Homecoming with carnival games and affinity booths. As students, parents, alumni, and Corban friends arrived, they could stop and visit booths sponsored by different staff and faculty departments. From the Hoff School of Business to HR to Student Life, employees from across campus had gathered together to represent their different areas and greet guests with fun activities. Students could decorate a heart at the HR booth, in response to Corban’s 2019-20 theme “Take Heart,” or they could fill out a prescription for “Literary Therapy” at the booth manned by Dr. Colette Tennant and Dr. Ryan Stark for the English department.

Seeing faculty at Homecoming was the highlight for many alumni, including Craig Johnson (’12, Psychology). Craig said, “It’s a fun time to get reacquainted with people you haven’t seen in a while,” especially faculty and staff.

Just around the corner from the affinity booths was a series of carnival games. For no charge, guests could dunk a range of participants, including Dr. Sheldon Nord, in the dunk tank, play Jenga and cornhole, and even participate in an inflatable jousting competition.

Meanwhile, people who wanted to sit and enjoy live music and fellowship congregated under the main tent, savoring their recent purchases from the food trucks under the glow of heat lamps. Yellow mums adorned each blue-and-white checked table, reminiscent of both Corban school colors and the advent of fall.

When asked what she felt the biggest success of Homecoming was, Melissa Stupfel, Event Coordinator, said, “I think one of the biggest successes is seeing everyone having a good time. We have so many different activities that people can participate in, and it seems like people are finding their niche and enjoying themselves.” She added, “The dunk tank has been the biggest success.”

At 7 o’clock, guests transitioned to the gymnasium, where they cheered on the Corban women’s volleyball team in their match against Northwest University. Although the Warriors only triumphed in one of the four sets, ceding victory to Northwest University, Homecoming spirits weren’t dampened, and students, parents, alumni, and friends went forth with full hearts from the afternoon and evening of food, games, music, and fellowship.