It has been 20 years since the establishment of the Bonner Scholars Program at Emory & Henry, and during the weekend of January 28-29, the college and alumni celebrated that anniversary.
There were graduates on hand from many class years, including alumni from the very first group of Bonner Scholars to serve on the E&H campus.
On Friday evening, alumni gathered at The Tavern to socialize and reminisce, then on Saturday current and former Bonner Scholars, Bonner Coordinators, and Bonner Directors gathered for a luncheon in Van Dyke. Scott Sikes, Bonner Scholar alumnus and E&H Class of ’99, served as emcee for the event, and speakers included Dr. Tal Stanley (’83), Director of the Appalachian Center for Community Service, and Dr. David St. Clair (’73), first Director of the Bonner Scholars Program.
Dr. Stephen Fisher was recognized by President Rosalind Reichard for the work and vision that led to the selection of E&H as a Bonner Scholars college, and Bonner alumnus Mark Lambert (’95) introduced David St. Clair and talked about those first days of the Bonner Scholars Program.
Participants in the reunion seemed to enjoy the chance to get together and remember those earliest days. Christi Copeland Stapleton (’95) was in that very first class of Bonners, and the reunion gave her time to reflect.
“It was great to see and hear of all the ways lives have been touched over the past 20 years, and it motivated me to look for additional ways to serve in my life no,” Stapleton said.
Robin Neely Dixon (’95) was also in the first class, and the reunion made her more aware of the work behind the scenes that made the program possible. “It made me realize that at 18 I had no idea how important this program would be to my life. I also got a new perspective on how much time and energy was put into us and keeping us going.”
Kathy Litton, Class of ’96 said she was thrilled to see the Bonner Program get recognition through this event.
“It’s a great way to remember the spirits of Bertram and Corella Bonner because if it hadn't been for their generosity and that scholarship, I wouldn't have gone to E&H," Litton said. "I am eternally indebted to the Bonners for changing my life.”