Slight-Sweazy Alumni Celebrate 20 years of Friendship
It felt like Thanksgiving in July in the Mustang Grill at The Master’s University. Two long tables were filled with children and another two filled with their parents, talking and laughing like no time had passed.
But, it had been 20 years.
These brother and sister wings from Slight Hall and Sweazy Hall had not been together in one place since the first of them began to graduate in 1997.
Jeff Case was a college senior and one of four resident assistants in Slight Hall in 1997–98. He “really wanted to develop a team feeling in (his) room and wing,” he said, so he printed “Slight 11” t-shirts (which a few alumni brought with them to the reunion) and planned wing events and sister-wing events. That initial idea established numerous friendships and six marriages that are still intact today.
After 18 months of planning by alumnus Charles Heck (’99) (TMS ’02) and coordinating with Shayna Anderson, the alumni relations coordinator at Master’s, this group of over 50 people spent July 13–15 together, eating meals in the cafeteria, taking a tour of campus, cooling off in the pool, recreating a mini Master’s Cup for their families and having a BBQ and movie night on Swixon Lawn.
Alumnus and missionary Eric (’00) (TMS ’03), who serves with his wife and children overseas, watched the children interact and observed that “they all are playing and chatting and having a good time, but they really don’t know each other. However, they are all similar ages but they have a lot of commonalties with how they are being raised and churches they are in. It seems like they have a lot in common, which is, I believe, because of the education their parents’ received.”
Though this reunion was a way for alumni to spend time with old friends, it was also a chance to expose their children to one of the most pivotal places in their own lives, in hopes their kids will want to come here one day.
“I learned so much here,” Teresa Durbin (’00) said. “I remember the first day of Mike Forgerson’s tax accounting class. He brought out the internal revenue code, which is the bible of the IRS, and slammed it on the podium and said, ‘In your career you may learn these backwards but don’t let this be the only thing you know. Make sure you know the Bible better than this.’” Durbin is an accountant and has never forgotten the influence that simple reminder had on her.
Case is a detective with the Lancaster Police Department, and though he isn’t in vocational ministry, he said, “We are stewards of even the things that we learn. (The education at Master’s) wasn’t all just for us. We need to take what we learned and apply it to others. I’ve seen that a lot at work. I am so thankful for what I learned at the university, because even though there are things I haven’t considered in years…, I still am able to communicate them with my coworkers and the people I meet.”
For the missionary couple, their passion for missions was established at The Master’s University, and “everything (we’ve) learned at The Master’s (University) and everything I’ve done since then has been trying to wave that banner and carry that on,” Eric said.
Their time was spent reminiscing about everything from pranks and performances to the ways they have seen God work in the 20 years since graduation. The stereotypes in the dorms have changed slightly: Waldock apparently used to be filled with the sweater-wearing nerds and weekend Frisbee golfers, and Slight was where the cool kids lived. They all laughed about the aspects of Master’s culture, like “DTR” and “Ring before Spring,” that have not changed a bit.
Ultimately, “though it looks nicer, it feels the same,” Caleb Graham (’99) said. “Master’s hasn’t lost the essence of what it is. But, don’t wait 20 years. Come back at the 10-year point. We waited too long. If you know the people, encourage it to happen much sooner.”
The Master’s University is a liberal arts college just north of Los Angeles.
Alumni of Master’s? To plan your own Master’s alumni event, contact Shayna Anderson in the Alumni office at firstname.lastname@example.org or 661.362.2203.