Hens hatch a festive Dela-bration
The Dela-bration Mug Night drew 1,700 to a large tent on The Green.
YoUDee leads the charge as the Blue Hen 5K race gets under way.
Saturday's international picnic featured foods from around the world.
The Grease Band got alumni -- and mascots -- on the dance floor on Saturday night.
Judson Laipply brought his fancy footwork and words of wisdom and humor to the Forum & Reunion Weekend.
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12:22 p.m., June 8, 2009----Festive Dela-bration events were held across campus during the University of Delaware's Forum & Reunion Weekend, from Friday's well-attended Mug Night held under tents on The Green to Saturday morning's Blue Hen 5K run and walk, which drew about 300 participants to the Laird Campus and Creek Road.

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Events also included an international picnic, entertainment by Judson Laipply, a dance party and alumni gatherings.

Mug Night

About 1,700 alumni and supporters attended the Dela-bration Mug Night on The Green on Friday, June 5. The party featured live music by Love Seed Mama Jump.

Despite steady rain all day and into the evening, hundreds of people, most of them with a commemorative mug in hand, flowed into the huge tent on The Green at 8 p.m. to enjoy food and beverages, pose for green screen photos placed on their choice of campus backgrounds, pose for customized Dance Heads video clips with their choice of popular dance hits, dance and hold animated conversations with classmates and friends from years back.

"It's a great event and I hope they do it again next year," said George Sestak, a 1972 graduate of the College of Engineering, from Elkton, Md., as he caught his breath after dancing vigorously to the band's rendition of the Beatles hit, "I Saw Her Standing There." "I'm a UD graduate and I love the University!"

Monica Tadler, a 1979 graduate of the College of Health Sciences, from Wilmington, Del., said the event was reminiscent of her years as a UD student. "I used to go to Mug Night at the Deer Park Tavern, so I came for the memories," she said. "I love the band and I usually go to Dewey Beach to see it, so this is great!"

UD President Patrick Harker mingled and held jovial conversations with the guests, many of whom thanked him for hosting the event.

"People are extremely excited about coming together with their old classmates and reconnecting with the University, faculty and their old friends," Harker said. "It was an experience that transformed their lives, so this means a lot to them."

John Collins, a 2007 and 2009 graduate of the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Education and Public Policy (CEPP), respectively, from Townsend, Del., said the event was an excellent opportunity to reunite with friends and receive updates about the University directly from top administrators.

"What other opportunity would you get to talk with the president of the University in a relaxed, informal setting?" Collins said. "It's a great social event. It's a new day for UD."

Sara Persky Foulkes, a 1999 graduate of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, from North Potomac, Md., was reunited with three of her sorority sisters in Phi Omega -- Meredith Wagner, a 1997 graduate of CEPP, from Reading, Pa.; Kristen Wells, a 1997 graduate of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, from Earlysville, Va.; and Linsey Parker, a 1998 graduate of CEPP, from Berlin, Md. -- for the first time in 10 years.

"The Blue Hens have hatched an incredible Dela-bration!" said Tom Foulkes, Sara Persky Foulkes' husband, whose previous contact with the University was limited to regular stops for meals in Newark every time the couple drove through Delaware.

The event brought together seven siblings of the Tordella family, all of whom graduated from the College of Arts and Sciences: Kathleen Tordella O'Connor, 1968, from Golden, Co.; Jean Tordella, 1969, from Los Angeles; Stephen Tordella, 1973, from Arlington, Va.; Paul Tordella, 1974, from Los Angeles; Daniel Tordella, 1975, from Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Mary Tordella, 1977, from Milwaukee, Wis.; and Susan Tordella-Williams, 1979, from Boston, Mass.

The Tordella siblings were accompanied by two of their spouses, who also graduated from the College of Arts and Sciences: Kathleen Tordella O'Connor 's husband, Kevin O'Connor, 1968, and Stephen Tordella's wife, Margaret Frick, 1974.

Among the revelers was Newark Mayor Vance Funk III, a 1965 graduate of the Lerner College of Business and Economics.

"Incredible!" Funk said of the celebration as he nodded his head to the live music. "It's wonderful that they've been able to make so many alumni come back. It's a great step forward to the future."

Blue Hen 5K

The inaugural Blue Hen 5K on Saturday featured plenty of blue and gold -- balloons and banners, shirts and socks, feathers and ribbons. But Brad Lane, clad in blue and gold from head to knees, took home the grand prize for showing the most school spirit. Lane, who earned his bachelor's degree in physical education in 1972, sported a hat, a T-shirt, earrings and shorts with the UD logo, along with knee braces and blue and gold bandannas. Lane took home not only a gift basket of UD merchandise for the spirit award but also a first-place medal for the walk.

Close to 300 runners and walkers came out for the 5K on the first clear day of a rainy week at UD. The kids fun race drew another 20 participants.

The top three male finishers in the 5K included two alumni. Jeremy Muratore, who earned a bachelor's degree in communication in 1999, was first overall and fastest male alum, and Keith Jones, who earned a bachelor's in psychology in 1990 and a master's in physical education in 1993, was third.

All three of the top female winners were Blue Hens. Sophie Kaufman, a junior dietetics major, was first; Christine Kukich, a junior health behavior science major, was second; and Diane Kukich, who earned bachelor's and master's degrees in English in 1973 and 1984, was third overall and the first female alum to finish.

The College of Education and Public Policy, with a large contingent of alumni, faculty and staff, won the coveted President's Cup, leaving competing colleges vowing to ramp up and do better next year.

The race, which raised about $5,000 for the UD General Scholarship Fund, was kicked off by YoUDee, along with President Patrick Harker and track and cross-country coach Jim Fischer. The 5K was organized by Jessica Woodruff, associate director of donor relations, with event management provided by Races2Run.com.

International picnic

Also held under tents on The Green, the international picnic featured food from around the world and entertainment by the Rubber Chickens student comedy troupe. It also provided weekend attendees a chance to reflect on the activities.

Elizabeth Perry, and Catherine Miller, both 2004 graduates of UD, met during their junior year and became good friends. Perry now lives in Washington, D.C., and Miller in Manhattan. They see each other a few times a year, and Reunion Weekend seemed like the perfect occasion and midway location to get together. They stayed in the dorm and went to Mug Night. Perry says, “This has been a really nice event. It's only the second time I've been back since I graduated, and I'm having so much fun.” Miller says, “Five minutes after I got here, I ran into someone I knew. It's been great.”

Nancy Rappaport, who earned a bachelor's degree in 1998 and a master's in 2004, and her husband, Ross Rappaport, who earned a bachelor's in 1996 and a master's this year, live in Newark with their two children, 1-year-old Rachel and 3-year-old Ryan. Even though they live here, they welcomed the chance to come to a reunion event, especially one that was so family-friendly, they said. “We've met several people from my class,” Nancy says. “We saw information about the weekend on the Web site, and we thought it looked like something we'd enjoy and we knew the kids would have a good time.” The couple went to Friday's party, and Ross says, “Mug Night on The Green was just terrific. We had a phenomenal time.”

Ed Jackson and David Smith, both 1984 graduates, were both physics majors and good friends during their undergraduate years. The physics department was small, they say, and because students worked so hard, they became a close-knit group. Jackson, who lives in Newark, registered early for Forum & Reunion Weekend, and then he got a card from Smith, who lives in Randolph, N.J., saying he was planning to attend. The two hadn't seen each other in about 20 years, and they ate lunch together at Saturday's picnic and caught up. “Mug Night was a lot of fun,” says Jackson, who attended with his wife. “This whole weekend is one of those things that I'll definitely come back to again.”

Judson Laipply performs

Internet sensation Judson Laipply, whose "Evolution of Dance" is the single most popular video on YouTube with more than 150 million views, brought his fancy footwork, as well as words of wisdom and humor, to the Forum & Reunion Weekend Saturday evening in Mitchell Hall.

Laipply used humor, much of it based on childhood reminiscences, to make some serious points about life in the 21st century. Promoting the health benefits of laughter, he noted that children laugh 300 to 500 times a day, while the average for adults is seven to 14 times a day. "If you can laugh at it, you can live with it," he said.

Life is change, and the key is adaptability, Laipply said. "There are things you can control and others that you cannot control," he said. "The problem is figuring out which is which."

Worrying over things you cannot change only increases the stress in our already stress-filled lives, he said, citing as an example people who get upset at airports when flights are delayed.

At the same time that change is everywhere, Laipply stressed that individuals do have the power of choice. "You can create any change in your life through the choices you make," he said.

Improving relationships with other people will also make your life better, he said, giving the audience an assignment: "Get in touch with someone who's not in this room tonight and let them know that your life is better because they're in it."

Laipply said that his famous video, "Evolution of Dance," came about as he and friends were talking about ways to illustrate the idea that life is change. He concluded his program with his famous six-minute summary of 50 years of dance set to music by everyone Elvis Presley and Chubby Checker to Eminem and Outkast, drawing particular audience response to his take on Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean."

Historic Walking Tour a big draw

Alumni ranging from the Class of 1959 to the Class of 2006 joined David Ames, director of the Center for Historic Architecture and Design, on a Saturday morning tour of campus highlighting its growth and development from Old College to Gore Hall.

Participants learned how various buildings and landscapes on campus reflect the educational philosophies, fashions and sometimes budgetary constraints of the periods in which they were created, including a substantial period of gender segregation on campus in which even the landscape plantings mirrored masculine and feminine ideals in separate areas of campus.

“Large, strong trees such as those that line the Green north of Memorial Hall and straight, angular walkways were considered more suitable for the men's campus, while flowering plants and curving paths adorned the women's campus to the south,” Ames said.

The tour concluded in Alison Hall West, where participants viewed an exhibit of UD blazers and beanies from the period 1950-1971, at which time campus dress codes were relaxed. Dilia Lopez-Gydosh, assistant professor of fashion and apparel studies and manager of the department's historic costume collection, treated the visiting alumni to a behind-the-scenes look at the collection.

CHEP outstanding alumni honored

The College of Human Services, Education and Public Policy hosted a dinner for 120 alumni, family and friends in honor of the 2009 CHEP Outstanding Alumni Award winners Friday evening in Clayton Hall.

Gov. Jack Markell attended the opening wine and cheese reception and presented each of the four award recipients with a special commendation from the state of Delaware.

“The kind of people you are producing here at CHEP, the kind of people who are attracted to your programs, the kind of education and experience that they're getting when they're here -- all of you should go home tonight understanding that your people are literally changing lives for the better in this state,” Markell said.

Dean Michael Gamel-McCormick, who received bachelor's degrees in child development and psychology from UD in 1979, gave the annual alumni lecture after dinner. He introduced the college's new name, which will be the College of Education and Public Policy effective July 1, to the gathered alumni but promised that the name change does not reflect a change in mission for the college.

“Our focus is on communities, on organizations, on individuals and how all of these units interact, support and influence one another,” Gamel-McCormick said. “We care about how families interact with schools, how communities develop identities, how we simultaneously protect the rights and promote the citizenry of the most vulnerable among us. We care about access to and accountability of services. These are cornerstones that will not, and really must not, change for our college.”

CHEP Alumni Association President Gloria James (Ph.D. '94) then presented the outstanding alumni awards to Pearl E. Stewart (B.S '86, Ph.D. '03), associate professor in the Department of Family and Child Studies at Montclair State University of New Jersey; Rudolph F. Karkosak (Ed.D. '91), superintendent of the Kennett Consolidated School District in Pennsylvania; Michael S. Jackson (MPA '98), director of budget, development and planning for the Delaware Office of Management and Budget; and Rita M. Landgraf (B.S. '80), secretary of the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services.

Lerner alumni recognized

As part of Forum and Reunion Weekend, the Lerner College of Economics hosted its annual reception and presentation of its prestigious Awards of Excellence. Each year, alumni are recognized for outstanding contributions to their profession and their community. The awards were presented on Friday in the Lerner Hall atrium by Dean Bobby Gempesaw and College Alumni Association Member Dan VanSciver, a 1990 accounting alumnus.

Award recipients were Barry Crozier, Matt Martin and Dan Strickberger.

* Crozier is the managing director of Belfint, Lyons & Shuman in Wilmington, Del., one of the largest and most established certified public accounting and consulting firms in Delaware. Crozier is responsible for the daily operations of the firm and oversees client service efforts. During his tenure, the firm received several community service awards, most notably the Marvin S. Gilman Superstars in Business Award and the New Journal's “Best in the Business-Best Place to Work” award. He has held multiple leadership and board positions with area professional organizations and was instrumental in the successful passage of the state's accounting mobility law.

Described by his colleagues as compassionate, dedicated and tireless, he has volunteered for his church in a number of capacities ranging from president of pastor parish relations to treasurer and chairman of the Administrative Board. He also has served on committees, as a board member and in officer positions for several nonprofit, community and civic organizations.

Crozier graduated from UD as an accounting major in 1971. He also holds a master of science degree in taxation from Widener University.

* Martin is the senior vice president, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond and Charlotte Regional Branch Executive. In this role, he is responsible for branch leadership and regional outreach in the Carolinas. The Federal Bank of Richmond is one of 12 District Reserve Banks that together with the Board of Governors in Washington, D.C., make up the Federal Reserve System. Martin has been with the Federal Reserve Bank since 2006 and has served as a regional economist and as the interim manager of regional economics.

He also has served as the senior economist at Moody's Economy.com in West Chester, as senior economist and manager at ECONorthwest in Seattle, and as budget analyst in the Congressional Budget Office in Washington, D.C. A graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and subsequently an Army officer, he commanded a 16-member unit as part of Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. He has served as a board member of the North Carolina Council on Economic Education, Junior Achievement of the Central Carolinas and Community Link.

In 1998, Martin earned his Ph.D. in economics from UD.

* Strickberger is co-managing partner of DSM Capital Partners in Westchester County, N.Y., which he founded in 2001 with Stephen Memishian. At the end of March 2009, with 14 employees, the firm manages $1.2 billion. DSM Capital Partners is an SEC registered investment adviser.

Strickberger began his career in 1979 as a credit analyst, first at Morgan Guaranty, and later at Bank of Tokyo. He joined Oppenheimer & Co. as a securities analyst in 1982. Later that year Oppenheimer & Co. was sold, and he moved to Lazard Freres & Co. He was appointed director of research of Lazard Freres Asset Management in 1987 and was made a general partner of Lazard Freres & Co. in 1988. He was one of two senior portfolio managers supervising Lazard's domestic equity investments. Strickberger also developed and was the senior portfolio manager of Lazard's international equities portfolio. He joined W.P. Stewart & Co. in 1991, where he served as senior portfolio manager and equity analyst. He left W.P. Stewart in 2000 to co-found DSM.

Strickberger serves on the Investment Committee of the University of Delaware endowment, and he also serves on the Advisory Board of the Lerner College of Business & Economics. He and his wife, Carol, are supporters of a wide variety of local and national charities.

He holds a bachelor's degree in business administration and finance from UD and a master of business administration in finance and international business from New York University.

Laboratory Preschool celebrates

More than 100 University alumni, faculty and community guests enjoyed the balmy Saturday evening on the playground of the University of Delaware Laboratory Preschool, where Caribbean cuisine provided by Cheeseburger in Paradise and Jimmy Buffet-inspired music by Bob Stretch added to the “Playground in Paradise” theme.

The party served both to kick off the preschool's 75th anniversary year and to raise funds for a playground to be installed at the school's new location on Wyoming Road when it opens in the fall of 2009.

The evening included a silent auction and a raffle for tickets to an upcoming Jimmy Buffet concert.

Article by Martin A Mbugua, Diane Kukich, Ann Manser, John Brennan and Beth Chajes
Photos by Kathy F. Atkinson, Ambre Alexander, Doug Baker, Mark Baker, Mark Campbell, Greg Drew, Duane Perry and Kevin Quinlan