Alumni returned to Cleveland University-Kansas City Oct. 9-11 for Homecoming 2015 and found a celebration that offered a touch of Hollywood. The theme this year was “We’re rolling out the red carpet for YOU.” When the red carpet was rolled out, the people rolled in, as a robust crowd of more than 650 people participated in the festivities. Attendees could earn up to 20 hours of Continuing Education Units (CEUs), and with an exceptional group of speakers throughout the weekend, it was a star-studded affair for Cleveland and the profession.
Guests made the red carpet walk into the building, passing a slightly smaller version of the world famous Hollywood sign. Inside, they heard from a host of featured speakers to enlighten, educate and entertain. Dr. Dan Murphy, Dr. Claire O’Neill ’95, Dr. Heidi Haavik, Dr. Deborah Denno, Dr. Kelle Plotner ’96, Dr. Mark Charrette, Dr. Georgia Nab ’94, Dr. John Nab ’94, Dr. Brian Porteous ’81, Dr. Jeff Tucker and Dr. Ty Talcott addressed a broad range of topics. Longevity of life, static posture and movement analysis, pain management, wellness and spinal adjustments, and women in chiropractic pediatric health, were just a few of the areas covered by the group.
Held in conjunction with the Cleveland homecoming, was the Kansas Chiropractic Association’s annual convention. Vendors were also present for consultations and product demonstrations. The number of vendors rose sharply with 38 present this year, versus only 29 in 2014.
Sarah Hilliard, director of alumni services, coordinated Homecoming 2015. It was an event she felt was an award-winning performance by all involved.
“Overall, the weekend went just about as smooth as possible,” Hilliard said. “Our planning leading up to the event really paid off,” Hilliard said. “Feedback has been positive. I have received several emails indicating that we outdid ourselves, the event ran very smoothly, and the presenters were ‘top notch.'”
Dr. Clark Beckley, vice president of campus and alumni relations, echoed her sentiments.
“I think it was a huge success, and early responses from our survey support that, with almost a 100% satisfaction rating,” Beckley said. “This was truly a group effort by the entire campus community and I would like to express my thanks to everyone for making Homecoming 2015 such a great success.”
In addition, Beckley praised the efforts of Hilliard, who he said does “an excellent job organizing and managing” the event. He also recognized Peg McKee, institutional advancement officer, and Trish Thedinger, administrative assistant in alumni relations, who also devoted countless hours of work to prepare for the weekend.
Friday’s CEU sessions were followed by a special ceremony in the Health Center to honor the memory of a Cleveland alum who worked tirelessly for the chiropractic profession during his 40-year career at Cleveland. Through the efforts of McKee, Beckley and a host of generous donors, the Health Center waiting room was renamed the Gerred Reception Area, in honor of Dr. Dwight Gerred. It was a befitting way to honor the long-time Cleveland clinician and administrator.
Following the sessions on Saturday, a social event and awards assembly was held in the Assembly Hall. The Cleveland Alumni Association gave “Alum of the Year” honors to Dr. Claire O’Neill ’95, who traveled from Los Angeles to be a seminar presenter, and ended up leaving with the association’s highest honor. O’Neill was one of a group of Clevelanders making the trip from the West Coast, in a reunion that was long overdue.
The KCA also presented their awards. Dr. Justin Fulk ’05 was named KCA’s “Young Doctor of the Year,” and Dr. Kendall Payne ’01 earned “Doctor of the Year,” honors. Also, there were three Clevelanders elected as new officers, Dr. Thad Schneider ’07, president, Dr. Tobi Jeurink ’01, vice president and Dr. Scott Risley ’07, secretary/treasurer.
Those with special roles in this year’s production were alums in Cleveland classes from 1955, 1965, 1975, 1985, 1995 and 2005, who were celebrating anniversary years. Some of these reunion doctors shared their thoughts on their time at Cleveland and reminisced about the past. Others gave thanks for a career that allows them to make a difference each day.
Student response to Homecoming was favorable. Derek Garcia called the event “exhilarating,” and said he was pleased with many different aspects of the weekend.
“The speaker I attended Friday morning, Dr. Kelle Plotner, was very energetic and full of good information,” Garcia said. “She did not adhere strictly to her Powerpoint, and was willing to go off on tangents that we showed interest in. I thought this allowed for a more interactive and enjoyable presentation.”
Garcia was also impressed with Dr. Jeff Tucker, who led sessions on Friday afternoon and Saturday morning.
“He was extremely knowledgeable and interactive in sharing his experiences with chronic pain and their relation to upper and lower cross syndrome,” Garcia said. “I learned a lot from both of the presenters and was fully engaged for the entirety of both presentations…”
Fellow student, Megan McRell shared Garcia’s enthusiasm about Tucker’s presentation.
“I loved how active Dr. Tucker’s seminar was,” McRell said. “I gained a wealth of knowledge from him about rehab.”
McRell went on to say that attending seminars is sometimes difficult on a student budget, but Homecoming allowed her to attend 20 hours of seminars at no cost.
“As a student, that was like Christmas in October,” McRell said.
The Homecoming theme this year, “Rolling out the red carpet for YOU,” involved more than just a rug, it was symbolic of a royal welcome for cherished guests. It greeted an extended family of stars in health care, who share not only a profession, but a bond. Events like Homecoming ensure the bond remains strong, and Beckley offered a fitting summary of the weekend in support of that point.
“Obviously offering quality continuing education opportunities for our alums and friends is important, but Homecoming is so much more than just a CEU seminar,” Beckley said. “Homecoming is about renewing friendships, taking pride in your alma mater, remembering those who came before us making chiropractic such a great profession and paying our respects to those we have lost in the last year. Homecoming is an opportunity to come home and reconnect with your Cleveland family.”
And now, the countdown begins for Homecoming 2016. Make plans to rejoin your Cleveland family next Oct. 7-9.