Activities Planned for Community Appreciation Week

The week culminates on Saturday, Oct. 26 with Community Appreciation Day activities and Founders Day observance, recognizing the college’s founding 133 years ago.

Alma in 1886: Recitation Hall (left), known later as Old Main, and Ladies Hall, known later as Pi... Alma in 1886: Recitation Hall (left), known later as Old Main, and Ladies Hall, known later as Pioneer Hall.

Alma College Planetarium Alma College PlanetariumAlma College celebrates Community Appreciation Week Oct. 20-26 with a packed schedule of family-friendly activities that include theatre, recreation, Halloween treats, athletic contests, space exploration, children’s crafts, petting zoo, storytelling and much more.

The week culminates on Saturday, Oct. 26 with Community Appreciation Day activities and Founders Day observance, recognizing the college’s 133th birthday since its creation in 1886.

“In large part, Alma College exists today as a result of the generosity and collective effort of members of the Alma community,” says Bill Arnold, senior director of alumni and family engagement. “From the original gift of land and buildings in 1886 to the innumerable gifts, service and support in the decades that followed, members of the Alma community helped make Alma College a place like no other. Community Appreciation Week is simply a chance for students, faculty, staff and alumni to demonstrate our appreciation and gratitude.”

Alma College Community Appreciation Events
Sunday, Oct. 20 through Saturday, Oct. 26

Oct. 20/Alma College Theatre presents a matinee performance of “The Music Man” by Meredith Willson at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 20 in the Remick Heritage Center, Presbyterian Hall. Tickets are $15 for adults, $5 for seniors 62 and up, and free for Alma College staff, students and youth 18 and under. Seating is reserved. Call (989) 463-7304 for ticket information.

Rock-climbing wall in Stone Recreation Center. Rock-climbing wall in Stone Recreation Center.Oct. 21/Come explore space at Alma College. The Alma College Planetarium in the Dow Science Center offers a free show at 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 21. Experience the night sky and learn where to find planets and constellations.

Oct. 22/The Stone Recreation Center at Alma College offers a “community free day” on Tuesday, Oct. 22, with free access to all recreation facilities, including the pool, and programs that include yoga, Zumba and water aerobics. Visit the Stone Recreation Center or call (989) 463-7949 for more information.

Oct. 23/The Alma College women’s soccer team takes on Calvin in a key Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association match at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 23 at Scotland Yard, 1001 Charles Ave. Enjoy free admission to the game along with free cider and donuts.

Oct. 24/The annual downtown Alma Fall Festival takes place from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 24. Visit the Wright Leppien Opera House for treats, free holiday coloring pages and pictures with Scotty, the Alma College mascot. Purchase a Community Week t-shirt and get free admission to Saturday’s football game.

Oct. 25/Alma College Athletics hosts Throwdown in A-Town, the annual kick-off to the winter sports season, at 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 25 in the Hogan Center, Art Smith Arena. The evening includes performances by the national champion cheer and dance teams, three-point shooting contest, coaches’ dodgeball game, half-court shot competition, step team performance and more.

Community Appreciation Day

Oct. 26/Alma College celebrates Community Appreciation Day on Saturday, Oct. 26, with a variety of family-friendly activities located around the Alma College campus and Bahlke Field. Following is the complete list:

  • 1:00-1:45 p.m./Trunk or treat, sponsored by the Football Parents Organization, at the tailgate area located behind the Stone Recreation Center.
  • 1:00 p.m./Swimming and diving meet, Alma vs. Albion, in the Hogan Center, McClure Natatorium. Free admission.
  • 1:30-3:30 p.m./Haunted Hallways in the Newberry and Gelston residence halls.
  • 1:30-3:30 p.m./Children and family crafts and pumpkin decorating in Tyler-Van Dusen Commons.
  • 2:00 p.m./Scotsmen Walk. The football team marches from Dunning Memorial Chapel to the team locker room led by the Alma College Pipers.
  • 2:00-4:00 p.m./A petting zoo on the north side of the Dow Science Center.
  • 2:00-4:00 p.m./Science laboratory tours featuring biochemistry and integrative physiology and health science in the Dow Science Center and McIntyre Center for Health Science, along with a snake exhibit sponsored by the biology department.
  • 2:00-4:00 p.m./Classic stories and storytelling sponsored by the English Department in Kehrl Library.
  • 2:00-4:00 p.m./The Kehrl Library presents a display on the “History of Alma College from a Student Perspective.” Also in the library: “Decoding Fake News.”
  • 2:30 p.m./Men’s soccer game, Alma vs. Adrian, at Scotland Yard, 1001 Charles Ave.
  • 3:00 p.m./Planetarium show, Dow Science Center. Free admission.
  • 4:00 p.m./Football game, Alma vs. Kalamazoo, at Bahlke Field. All Gratiot County community members with ID get free admission to the football game.

Alma College’s Founding

Alma College was born on Oct. 14, 1886, at the 1886 session of the Presbyterian Synod of Michigan, held that year at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Grand Rapids. Members resolved, “We will, with God’s help, establish and endowed a college within our bounds.” The first Board of Trustees was elected, and the Rev. George F. Hunting was appointed the College’s first president.

Ammi Wright Ammi WrightOn Oct. 26, 1886, the Presbyterian Synod of Michigan accepted an offer by Ammi W. Wright of Alma of 30 acres of land, containing two buildings, and a gift of $50,000 from Alexander Folsom of Bay City, for the purpose of establishing Alma College.

In September 1887, Alma’s first students entered the main entrance to Recitation Hall, later known as the Administration Building and Old Main. Thirty-four students registered to begin classes that day.

Authors Gordon Beld and Dave McMacken describe the two original campus buildings in their book, A History of Alma College: Where Plaid and Pride Prevail:

“The three-story main building had, on the first floor, a room for chapel services on one side of   a central hallway with a lecture hall opposite. The second floor had a large room for commercial instruction and other classrooms. Another room served as the college’s library. More classrooms were on the third floor, along with a botany laboratory. In the basement were a chemistry laboratory and a mailing room.

“The other original building was Ladies Hall, a dormitory that in later years was known as Pioneer Hall. Also a structure with three floors, it was steam-heated. A first-floor dining room had seating for 140 persons, as well as two parlors. Forty sleeping rooms, with study rooms adjacent to each, were on the second and third floors. The heating plant, kitchen and a vegetable cellar were in the basement.”

Story published on October 11, 2019