Alumni Weekend got off to a smashing start on Friday evening, June 13, 2008, with a roast of retiring Weekend College Dean Jane Preston Rose. Although I didn’t know Jane while I was an under graduate at Hiram, I did get to know her as an MAIS student, and was delighted to be one of a “tent-load” of people who gathered on the campus green to honor Jane on the evening of Friday the 13th. There was a theme in that, too – Jane has been with the College for 13 years and she had married her husband George on Friday the 13th. Well, all superstitions aside, that number seems to work for Jane, and none of the 150 or so folks attending Jane’s roast seemed bothered by the number, either! Besides the fact that the food was fantastic and abundant, the company and camaraderie – and comedy – were delicious as well!
After everyone had a chance to mingle, drink, and fill up their plates with summer barbecue fare, Jennifer Prugh ’91 vice president of the Alumni Executive Board, kicked off the roast; she was followed by Warren Blazy’91, who quipped that, “Roasting Jane is like roasting Mother Teresa.” That didn’t stop him, however, or several others, including Hiram President Thomas V. Chema, and Professor Emeritus of Classics Robert Sawyer, who composed limericks for the occasion:
How to honor in poetry or prose
A beloved dean whom everyone knows?
Framed Gertrude Stein
Defined the sublime
as “A rose is a rose is a rose.”
Perhaps the highlight, however, was a Jane Rose Parody by Professor Emerita of Music Damaris Peters Pike, who dressed up as Jane, and mimicked her well-known and beloved mannerisms perfectly. Damaris brought the house (well, tent) down, as she touched perfectly on some of Jane’s foibles – talking and gesturing effusively about “indicting people into Phi Beta Kappa,” and the excitement about starting the new MAIS program – a Master of Arts in Skiing – “And we’re not even in ski country!”
No one seemed to derive more pleasure at her own expense than did Jane herself, who was dissolved in hysterics for the entire program.
Not to be outdone, Jane also had honors to bestow; she recognized the stellar contributions of the entire Weekend College staff, crediting them with the success of the program. And she presented a special award to Warren Blazy. She told of Warren’s perseverance as a Weekend College Student, and his inspiration to and support of all of the classes that came after him. She noted that he had attended every Weekend College Orientation, telling the new students of his conviction that they, as had he, could do it, and to never let the “candle go out.”
After the official roast, alumnae, friends, and colleagues mingled, visited, and continued to eat and drink, and the first evening of Alumni Weekend 2008 began to wind down… and with perfect timing – just before summer thunderstorms rolled in, temporarily knocking out the power, and adding just another element of adventure to an exciting, entertaining, and rewarding Alumni Weekend.