BLOOMINGTON — It’s been more than five decades since Dwayne Foote walked the Illinois Wesleyan University campus as a student.
On Saturday, Foote, a North Chicago resident, was back on campus. This time he was there to celebrate his 50th class reunion and to take part in the school’s homecoming events, which continue through Sunday with a service at 10 a.m. at Evelyn Chapel.
Foote also was on a mission while he visited his alma mater.
“I’m loyal to the school. I was an athlete. I played football and I had great mentors. My football coach pushed me to be successful,” said Foote, a retired North Chicago high school teacher. “Now I’m trying to get this guy motivated.”
Foote spent time Saturday encouraging current IWU students. During an alumni lunch, Foote was paired with Jarrod Hill, a senior economics major, who sought advice from Foote.
Anna Klemperer, a senior theatre major, also spent time with the class of 1962. She said visiting with alumni who return to campus was an opportunity to see what the graduates have accomplished.
“It’s nice to see that there are Wesleyan people out there in the world, living a full life,” said Klemperer, a Maine native.
Van Miller, assistant director of The Wesleyan Fund, which awards scholarships to students, said homecoming events are a long-standing tradition at the university which bring more than 1,000 alumni back to the Twin Cities. Those who return visit with former classmates and tour the campus to see upgrades. The connection between alumni and students was this year’s highlight, said Miller.
“From both sides, both alumni and students have a desire to connect with one another,” said Miller.
Those who return have an array of activities to participate in such as children’s activities at the Eckley Quad, tours of the school and the yearly Titan Games, where fraternities and sororities compete in relays, rope pulls and other competitions.