Old Main Weekend Wrap Up
Thursday, Sep. 21, 2006
Twenty-nine new members were on hand for a formal induction ceremony held at the President's Home.
Five talented USU student musicians performed during the Old Main Society dinner. Music major Aram Arakelyan was a featured speaker during the program.
Jim and Carol Laub were honored at the dinner as recipients of the Spirit of Old Main Award. They were joined by their children, Eric (front left) and Mark (right).
The USU Alumni Association hosted Aggie Family Day Saturday, Sept. 16. Guests participated in a number of hands-on activities. Of course, a plentiful supply of Aggie Ice Cream was on hand.
Stan and Joyce Albrecht hosted a pre-game tailgate party for members of the Old Main Society and other alumni and friends of the university. The Albrechts welcomed Ross and Nancy Kendell, new Old Main inductees.
President Albrecht congratulated Amie and David Dunkley during a halftime ceremony at the football game. They were joined by their son, Jake.
Members of the USU Marching Band proudly show off their new uniforms.
The weather did its best to dampen activities during Old Main Weekend, but the Aggie spirit was able to shine through, resulting in many highlights. A number of new activities were planned as part of the two-day event, and while the rain had a considerable impact, the response of participants was positive.
Tours of the Living-Learning Center attracted positive comments, and Aggie clothing sales in the USU Bookstore were brisk. During Saturday’s pre-game activities, many took advantage of a behind the scenes tour of the Manon Caine Russell Kathryn Caine Wanlass Performance Hall.
The centerpiece of the weekend was the introduction and induction of 68 new members into the Old Main Society. Twenty-nine new members were on hand for the private induction ceremony held at the President’s Home.
The Old Main Society was established in 1967 to recognize alumni and friends whose support makes possible the fulfillment of Utah State’s mission. Membership represents the pinnacle of recognition for those who express their belief in the institution through significant philanthropic support.
A dinner was held Friday, Sept. 15, for society members and Utah State student Aram Arakelyan, a piano performance major, addressed the crowd. Born in Armenia, he came to the United States in 2001 at the age of 17 to participate in the Gina Bachauer International Young Artists Competition.
“I came to this country by myself — and with a dream,” he said. “I have not been back home or seen my family since first arriving five years ago.”
Arakelyan knew he wanted to stay in the United States to continue his education. His decision brought him to Utah State University to study with Gary Amano, head of the piano program in the Department of Music.
“Coming to Utah State was one of the best decisions of my life,” he said. “I have been blessed with outstanding and supportive professors in all of my classes. I want to express appreciation to Dr. Amano, who is one of the most knowledgeable teachers I’ve ever met — he just has a way to make you work. He instills a love for music in all his students, and I am so fortunate to be working with him.”
Arakelyan told the dinner guests the reason he is able to continue his studies at USU is with the support of scholarships. He has been the recipient of multiple scholarships.
“I am so appreciative for all of these scholarships, and want to give particular recognition to the trustees of the Marie Eccles Caine Foundation who are here tonight for their very generous support,” he said. “Thank you. Utah State University has changed my life, just like it has changed the lives of every student who has studied here.
“On behalf of my fellow students, I want to thank all of you for allowing us to be the first in our family to go to college, for supporting outstanding professors and ensuring that we have the latest in equipment and facilities so we can each be the best we can be in the classroom, on the athletic field, on the stage or wherever it is we live out our ambitions.”
Arakelyan was then joined by four USU student musicians for a spectacular performance of the Overture from Carmen by Bizet in an arrangement for five pianos. He was joined by Luke Hancock, Jessica Roderer, Brandon Lee and Zachary Coombs.
USU President Stan Albrecht thanked the young performers and welcomed the members of the Old Main Society.
“We have welcomed 68 new members to the Old Main Society tonight,” Albrecht said. “They join 2,153 others who have previously achieved this important recognition.”
Albrecht discussed the importance of education and Utah State University’s role as a land-grant institution.
“Considering this important moment in our history, may I suggest that in the spirit of the land-grant tradition, and in the spirit of Old Main, we make a new promise to our students. This promise is that we will secure for them the same access that Utah State University has offered for 118 years, that we will offer this promise whatever the willingness of government to support us, and that we will do it without unfairly shifting the burden to the students and their families.
“The quality of this university is something in which we can feel great pride,” Albrecht continued. “Throughout its 118-year history, Utah State University has ably fulfilled the charge that prompted its founding. We are located in one of the most beautiful spots on this planet. Our researchers continually push the frontiers of discovery. Our professors win national awards for teaching. Our students excel in their fields and succeed in their careers. Even so, these great accomplishments of our past must simply serve as the foundation for even greater accomplishments in the future.”
President Albrecht then presented the Spirit of Old Main Award to Jim and Carol Laub (see related story).