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North Park University Welcomes Alumni to 2012 Homecoming Celebration

Robert Houdek, Joyce Nelson and Alicia (VerHage) Petersen
Three distinguished alumni were honored at the October 13 Reunion and Awards Breakfast. They are, from left, Robert Houdek, Joyce Nelson and Alicia (VerHage) Petersen.

Alumni honored at annual reunion breakfast, Hall of Fame induction

CHICAGO (October 18, 2012) — North Park University welcomed back hundreds of alumni for its 2012 Homecoming activities, with the theme "The Spirit Games." Activities included reunions, alumni honors, inductions into the Vikings Hall of Fame, athletic contests and other showcase events, including an October 13 "block party" in the North Park Gymnasium that drew as many as 2,000 people, said Melissa Vélez-Luce C'04, the University's manager of alumni relations.

A week-long series of Homecoming activities for the University community began October 8. One highlight was the University's annual Reunion and Awards Breakfast October 13 in Hamming Hall. In remarks to about 200 attendees, Dr. David L. Parkyn, president of North Park University, said change is a constant. "The 'place' of North Park University is ever-changing," he said. "This is not the same campus from which you graduated. Soon there will be a new front on Foster Avenue – a new front that will make our space better. Two years from now, we will open the Johnson Center for Science and Community Life. Wonderful things are happening."

"We welcome you back to this place. We welcome you back because this place is empty without you," he added.

Three North Park alumni were honored at the breakfast:

  • Distinguished Young Alumni Award: Alicia (VerHage) Petersen C'02, trainer and curriculum developer for Management Systems International (MSI), Washington, D.C.,
  • Distinguished University Alumni Award: Joyce Nelson C'72, retired after 28 years with the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, including seven years as president and chief executive officer
  • Distinguished Academy Alumni Award: Robert G. Houdek A'57, retired U.S. State Department foreign service officer, whose service included National Intelligence Officer for Africa, and advisor to the Chief of Staff of the Agency for International Development (AID) on the President’s Greater Horn of Africa Initiative during the Clinton Administration

About 80 people attended the Vikings Hall of Fame induction ceremony October 12, hosted by Dr. Jack Surridge, athletic director. Inductees were introduced by former coaches and family members:

  • John Douglass A'64, football, basketball, track and field
  • Nels "Art" Edstrom C'53, basketball and baseball, coach
  • Laura Mount C'07, basketball
  • Austin Person C'07, soccer

Alumni and students participated in the Spirit Games by visiting special North Park locations, filling in a game board, checking in via social media, and attending Homecoming events. Alumni who attended Homecoming included North Park graduates and students who attended the Academy, Junior College, University, and North Park Theological Seminary.


Use @npunews to follow North Park University News on Twitter. For further information or resources, contact John Brooks, Director of Media Relations and News, via email or at (773) 244-5522. Learn more about North Park University.

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