Homecoming: Blending Past and Present

November 03, 2014

By Melissa McCutchan

CIU Student Writer

Columbia International University alumni, students, faculty, and staff gathered to celebrate another year of God’s faithfulness during Homecoming weekend, Oct. 30-Nov. 1.  Campus was a blend of past and present as current students spent the weekend getting to know the more than 600 alumni who returned to CIU for the weekend.

Activities for the weekend were as fun and diverse as the CIU community, and included special chapel services, a “speed meeting” time with current students and alumni, a documentary premiere, and even a fireworks show. 

The weekend kicked off Thursday, Oct. 30 with a chapel service featuring CIU’s Alumnus of the Year, Bill Harding III (’50), who graduated when CIU was known as Columbia Bible College.  Harding and his family served as missionaries in Ethiopia, where they began clean water projects, built schools and orphanages, and helped with the treatment of the AIDS epidemic.  In 2013, he and his family dedicated the Harding Bible School in Yirgacheffe, Ethiopia, which serves to develop national church leaders.

“It is truly by God’s love and faithfulness that I have come this far,” Harding said.  “I’ll always be thankful for my years at [Columbia Bible College].”

The celebration continued that evening with the third annual “speed meeting,” in which current students were matched with alumni for five minutes at a time and asked to reminisce about favorite CIU memories, including favorite professors and pranks pulled on roommates.

Friday’s festivities included class reunions, a faculty forum led by the College of Intercultural Studies, as well as a presidential luncheon featuring Daniel Blomberg (’03), who served as legal counsel for the craft store Hobby Lobby in the famous Hobby Lobby v. Burwell Supreme Court case that ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby earlier this year. At issue was a mandate from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that would have required Hobby Lobby to supply employee health insurance coverage for potentially life-terminating contraceptives or pay fines to the IRS. 

“That God has better plans, and those plans are not mine, has been the story of my life,” Blomberg said.  “Like many Christians nationwide, I did not want to see our nation forcing businesses to provide contraceptives to employees, but God had better plans…. If the court had chosen otherwise, Christian leaders would have to choose between their beliefs and their businesses.”

Friday also included the premiere of the documentary “A Promise Kept,” which tells the love story of President Emeritus Robertson McQuilkin and his wife, Muriel, during her 23-year battle with Alzheimer’s disease.  Muriel went to be with the Lord in 2003.

“My prayer is that God will be glorified through this story around the world,” McQuilkin said at Friday night’s premiere.

Unfortunately, most of Saturday’s Homecoming activities were canceled or rescheduled due to weather conditions including the earliest recorded snow in the history of Columbia that morning. No snow accumulated on the CIU campus. Students and alumni were still able to fellowship indoors on a rainy afternoon, and alumni were grateful for their time back at CIU.

For more memories from Homecoming 2014, go to CIU's Flickr page: https://www.flickr.com/photos/ciuimpact/sets/72157646820031044/