We tried something new for the 2nd Annual Alumni Day. This year we wanted to increase our emphasis on including students. We started the weekend with a reception in the Hall of Flags on Friday afternoon. All of USU was invited and the turnout was great! Looks like a keeper for next year.

The morning Leadership Symposium, featuring USU alumni, was both informative and inspirational. Jeff Longacre (SOM 1986), USU Vice President for Affiliations & International Affairs and Vice President for External Affairs (Interim), introduced Dean Hinshaw, Graduate School of Nursing, and Dean Kellermann, the newly appointed Dean of the School of Medicine. Jeff gave some of the latest statistics on performance of USU grads in military medicine – one in ten new medical school graduates is from USU, by mid-career one in four officers is from USU, and now one in three senior leaders is an USU alum. Leon Moores (SOM 1990), President of the USU Alumni Association, introduced the distinguished guest speakers. Read a summary of their presentations here.

For the main events on Saturday, the sky was overcast but luckily the torrential downpours held off until after the softball game. The alumni went undefeated once again! This paradox was not too unexpected as no scores were kept and two alumni represented over 6000 of us. Thanks to the students for their great turnout! The game was played at Forest Glen Annex due to the renovation of the recreation fields at USU (which are looking fantastic!). Next year we’ll be back on our home field. Better get those softball skills back in action to take on the students with a formidable alumni force! –and don’t forget your gloves!

There were enjoyable events for families including a moonbounce and an artist for face painting and creating balloon animals. Our “young at heart” alumni also took advantage of these attractions. A scavenger hunt enticing adventurers in USU trivia was added to the fun. Students hosted golf cart tours of the base showing off the recent developments. The Hall of Flags served as an exhibit space for posters showcasing some of the current research that is being done at USU.

The highlight of Alumni Day really is the Saturday evening social. We gathered for a customary cocktail hour in the Hall of Flags with an abundance of food and beverages. Kathryn Troutman and her staff from USU catering outdid themselves again this year. Her staff had transformed the cafeteria once again into a warm, inviting reception hall with mood-setting ambient lighting. Trees with miniature lights were artistically placed throughout the room. Fresh flowers and table linens adorned the tables. The buffet tempted with scrumptious offerings, topped off with cake.

We were serenaded by the tunes of “The Wright Touch Band”, who is a Washington DC staple. They play regularly for functions, large and small, for Washington events and society. The group danced to “oldies but goodies” as much as they liked. David and his band are very personable and interactive, making for a great time!

This year, thanks to the Awards Committee, and largely due to the efforts of Romney Andersen (SOM 1990) and Sandra Yerkes (SOM 1980), we had our first USU Alumni Association Awards Ceremony. All nominations were impressive and we are grateful to all those who participated. The details of the recipients and nominees are available here. It is important to mention that the truly heart-wrenching moment of the evening came as BG Rhonda Cornum, Ret., a former POW, was returning to her seat after receiving her award. She needed to pass by the Honorable Everett Alvarez, the longest POW held captive in Vietnam and a USU Board of Regents Trustee for 20 years. Mr. Alvarez stood up and pulled her into a huge bear hug, holding her there for a long emotional moment to the applause, shouts and standing ovation of all in the room. There was no better way to top our first ever Awards Ceremony and the 2nd Annual Alumni Day. We hope you will all join us next year!