North Park Academy Alumni Reunite
Forty years after the high school's final commencement, graduates celebrate its legacy
CHICAGO, IL (April 21, 2009) – More than 300 alumni of North Park Academy gathered at North Park University for a reunion over the weekend, during which they celebrated the Academy’s history and its impact on their lives and future generations.
The high school once housed on the University campus opened in Chicago in 1894 and celebrated its last commencement in 1969. Faculty and students of classes dating back to 1935 attended. The weekend included a variety of activities, from tours of the city and campus, to a worship service, to a concert by the University Gospel Choir.
One of the highlights came during a luncheon on Saturday when John Douglass, a member of the North Park University Board of Trustees, introduced a new scholarship for Seminary students that will be named in honor of Ron Magnuson, Academy chaplain from 1960–1969. Funds are still being raised for the scholarship, which Douglass calls “a meaningful way to say thank you.” He informed Magnuson earlier in the day about the honor.
“Holy cow!” Magnuson said in an interview after the announcement. “It left me speechless. I never anticipated it.”
Former Academy faculty member Betty Nelson told of the day in March 1969 when everyone gathered for an assembly and heard that the school would be closing. She recalled that sometime during the night, people who were never identified painted the class numbers for the years 1969-1972 on a large rock in front of Old Main, the building where all classes were held.
Nelson asked if any of the painters were in the room. The mystery of that night was solved when Wes Lindahl, the current dean of the School of Business and Nonprofit Management, stood up.
Lindahl, who was the president of the class of 1972, said he and the presidents of the other classes painted the rock. “We just wanted to stake our name,” he explained.
Graduate Carol Economou said the school was as important for the students’ spiritually as it was academically. “It was the focus on religion that really made us who we are today.” To donate to the scholarship fund in honor of Ron Magnuson, contact us by email or call (866) 366-8096.