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September 28, 2009 - Grand Rapids, Michigan (September 25, 2009) - The Hall of Fame Gala, athletic contests, music, midway games and the renewal of old friendships are all part of this year's Aquinas College Homecoming Weekend October 2-4. The campus grounds will be bustling with activities for returning alumni and their families, with something for everyone to enjoy.

The weekend of activities kicks off Friday, Oct. 2, with the College's annual Hall of Fame Gala to be held in the Wege Center Ballroom. Tickets for the evening, which begins with cocktails at 5:30 p.m. and dinner at 6:30 p.m., are $65/person.

Recipients to be honored during the Gala include two individuals who will receive Alumni Association Awards. James L. Farris ’96, Deputy Chief of Police for the Grand Rapids Police Department will be receiving the Outstanding Alumnus Award. Farris pioneered the community policing program on Grand Rapids’ south side and is active with community outreach agencies. Receiving the Distinguished Service Award will be Father Mark C. Przybysz ’83. The Pastor of St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church and Director of the Continuing Formation of Priests for the Diocese of Grand Rapids, Father Przybysz is strongly involved in community activities and organizations. A proponent of lifelong learning, Fr. Przybysz has used his influence in the Catholic community to raise funds for Aquinas College and has made generous donations of his own to the school.

The College Hall of Fame will induct three new members. The late Bruce Early, Ph.D., was a member of the Aquinas College faculty in the department of music from 1971 until his death in 1998. Considered the premier influence on the local jazz scene for a quarter century, he organized annual Jazz Festivals that brought thousands to the campus. Richard Sedlecky ’51 was active in a variety of organizations while attending Aquinas and supervised the construction of the Marian shrine on campus. He and his wife Barbara `77 were among the founders of Capitol Lunch, now known as God’s Kitchen, which serves free meals to those in need.

Founder and first director of the Emeritus program at Aquinas, Sr. Agnes Thiel, O.P. ’62 was an advocate for senior citizens in Grand Rapids, Kent County and Lansing for 30 years. She helped older adults receive better health care, transportation and home-delivered meals.

Five individuals will be inducted into the Aquinas Athletic Hall of Fame. Ottawa Hills High school graduate and Jenison resident Mark Hendrickson ’81 earned first team All-American honors for baseball in 1981 when he batted .421, drove in 81 runs, and set the Michigan collegiate home run record with 19. Rick Heuvelman ’79 of Wyoming (Mi.) attended Wyoming Rogers High School and was a leading power hitter from 1977 to 1979. Heuvelman was captain of the 1979 State Championship baseball squad and earned All-American honors that season. Two time All-State and All-American performer Tim Matchinsky ’77, a lifelong resident of Holland, was an outstanding hitter during the mid-1970’s. He batted over .400 on two separate occasions. Mary Takas ’84 of Grand Rapids was a four-year starter on the Aquinas softball team and a four-year letter winner in basketball. A two time All-State performer, Mary also coached the softball and basketball teams and led both to national tournaments. A star for the Aquinas College women’s tennis team, Grand Rapids native Pat Williams ’68 was a city champion at the age of 16. She has coached Grand Rapids Catholic Central’s boys and girls tennis teams for more than two decades.

On Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 3 & 4, Aquinas will host numerous activities for alumni and their families as part of Homecoming Weekend. Included will be the AQ Run Thru which takes place Saturday morning (Oct. 3) and offers a 5k run or two-mile walk option for participants. The courses wind through campus, and while prizes will be awarded to the top three men and women, those without prior experience are invited to participate.

>>More information, including a schedule of the weekend's events