Weekend Reunion for North Park Academy Alumi

Post a Comment » Written on April 23rd, 2009     
Filed under: News
CHICAGO, IL (April 23, 2009) – More than 300 alumni of North Park Academy gathered for a reunion over the weekend, during which they celebrated the school’s history and its impact on their lives and future generations.

The high school opened in Chicago in 1894 and closed in 1969. Faculty and students of classes dating back to 1935 attended. The weekend schedule incorporated a variety of activities including tours of the city and campus, worship, and a concert by the university Gospel Choir.

One of the highlights came during a luncheon on Saturday when John Douglass, a member of the North Park University Board of Trustees, announced a new scholarship for students attending North Park Theological Seminary. The scholarship will be named in honor of Ron Magnuson, who was the Academy chaplain from 1960-1969. He also is a long-time Evangelical Covenant Church pastor.

Douglas described the scholarship as “a meaningful way to say thank you.” He informed Magnuson earlier in the day about the honor.

“Holy cow!” Magnuson said in an interview following the announcement. “It left me speechless. I never anticipated it.”

Former faculty member Betty Nelson told of “that sad day” in March 1969 when everyone gathered for a school assembly and heard the surprising news that the school would be closing.

“It was a day of anger, of disbelief, much comment, many tears, and understanding,” Nelson said.

She recalled that sometime during the night, people who were never identified painted the class numbers for the years 1969-1972 on a large rock in front of Old Main, where all of the classes were held. “It gave us new hope,” Nelson said.

Nelson asked if any of the painters were in the room. The mystery of that night was solved when Wes Lindahl, the current dean of the School of Business and Nonprofit Management, stood up.

Lindahl, who was the president of the class of 1972, said he and the presidents of the other classes painted the rock. “We just wanted to stake our name,” he explained.

Graduate Carol Economou said the school was as important for the students’ spiritual lives as well as their academics. “It was the focus on religion that really made us who we are today.”

Anyone wishing to donate to the scholarship fund in honor of Magnuson should contact the development office at 773-244-6200.

(Editor’s note: This story reprinted courtesy of North Park University)

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