Homecoming 2023 a Rousing Success
Homecoming started off on Friday, October 6th, with a 50-year reunion dinner for the class of 1973, held at the Blair Marina. A record number of classmates attended, 41 in all, plus spouses and several well-wishers.
Dana College Foundation president Bob Coffey and Alumni Association president Sandra Jensen were on hand to talk about campus progress and to hand out Venerable Viking medallions to all attendees. The event was hosted and planned by Patricia Rahn who, though she was in the class of 1972, made sure the annual reunion happened.
Saturday provided multiple opportunities for alumni to reconnect and relive their days at Dana. The day began with Kringle and Mingle at the Danish American Archives and Library in downtown Blair. Visitors could see the Dana Room, containing Dana artifacts, photos, and documents.
The on-campus activities took place in the atrium between Borup Coliseum and Gardner-Hawks Arena, thanks to the generosity of Angels Share as campus owners.
The morning also provided an opportunity for shoppers to browse the Dana Bookstore for gifts, logo gear, old yearbooks, and more.
The Alumni Association hired Smoke on Arrival to serve as the official food truck at Homecoming for the traditional Tailgate Lunch. Following lunch, the program began with welcomes from the Dana College Foundation and the Alumni Association. Foundation president Bob Coffey recognized this year’s scholarship winners and 50-year class reunion attendees while Alumni Association president Sandra Jensen emceed the program.
Toni (Ahrendt) Jensen received the Distinguished Alumni Award for her outstanding career in social work and having established Nebraska’s only current accredited Social Work Program at Nebraska Wesleyan University. Toni’s father, Paul Ahrendt (’68), was a previous recipient of the award. It’s believed to be the first time that two generations of the same family have received the honor.
Due to a scheduling conflict, the Dana Athletic Hall of Fame award had to be set aside until next fall.
Following the program, alumni and guests were treated to a cocktail gathering in the Atrium before heading out to class reunions scattered throughout Blair.
Next year’s Homecoming event will be held on Saturday, October 5, 2024. It’s always the first weekend in October, so place it on your calendar and plan to be there!
Alumni First to Hear of Angels Share, Lutheran Family Services Merger
Homecoming attendees were privileged to hear the first public announcement that Angels Share, Inc., owner of the Dana campus, has merged with Lutheran Family Services of Nebraska. The merger signals further redevelopment of the campus as a place to serve some of society’s most vulnerable populations.
Ed Shada of Angels Share introduced Chris Tonniges, chief executive officer of LFS to the audience. Chris pointed to the reconstruction work on Blair and Mickelsen Halls and told the crowd to expect more of that to happen. Their ten-year plan includes more restoration and repurposing of some campus buildings as well as potential new construction to provide a total of as many as 400 housing units on the campus.
Chris also promised to hold an open house at the renovated dorms prior to accepting their first tenant in January.
He explained that LFS’ first task is to open offices for practitioners to provide appropriate services on campus for its current residents, youth who have aged out of the foster care system. Services will include behavioral health, financial literacy, counseling and more.
Alumni gave rousing applause when Chris also revealed that the new name for the campus and its programs is to be Dana Village, a fitting tribute to the college that was here, and the new community that will serve others who need help to become productive citizens.