SWU centennial grand finale Oct. 28
Hundreds gathered at Southern Wesleyan University on Oct. 15 to mark exactly 100 years since the university was founded. The group participated in a prayer walk across the campus, marking historical sites and moments in university history. Centennial events will continue through the university’s homecoming celebration on Oct. 28.
A yearlong celebration of Southern Wesleyan University’s 100 years of history will culminate Oct. 28 in Central.
The university’s annual homecoming celebration will mark the end of a year of special events and celebrations commemorating the institution’s centennial, according to Joy Bryant, executive director of alumni and constituent relations. The public is invited to join Southern Wesleyan in celebrating the university’s past and getting a glimpse of its future.
“Our centennial theme is ‘How Firm a Foundation.’ We’re celebrating the university’s rich history and its promising future,” Bryant said.
The university was founded nearly 100 years ago by leaders who promised to “help men and women become what God has designed them to be.” The university’s history began Oct. 15, 1906. Today, Southern Wesleyan University has more than 2,700 students. In addition to its main campus in Central, it has locations in Greenville, Columbia, Charleston and North Augusta.
“Each year, we have an opportunity for our Southern Wesleyan University friends and family to visit or return to the campus. We are so pleased that we can share our history with the community,” Bryant said. “We have folks flying in from around the world to celebrate with us. People are coming from across the nation to reunite with former classmates and help us mark this historic occasion.”
This year’s homecoming events include arts and crafts vendors, a car and motorcycle show, a homerun derby, entertainment for children, celebration banquets and a Concert of Praise followed by a fireworks extravaganza.
The Oct. 28 day of celebration begins at 9 a.m. A homecoming chapel service will be at 10:15 a.m.
A Classic Car Show that day will be 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Classic cars, trucks, muscle cars and motorcycles are invited to participate for $10 per entry. The entries will be on display on Wesleyan Drive. Also, arts and crafts will be on display at booths from 9 a.m to 5 p.m.
Carnival-style food vendors will be on the campus and dining will also be available at the university’s dining commons. Or, people are welcome to bring picnic baskets and enjoy the campus’ picnic tables and scenic settings, Bryant said.
Polly Cunningham, center, addressed the crowd at the university’s Prayer Walk Oct. 15. The prayer walk marked exactly 100 years since the university was founded. Cunningham will be 100 years old on the day of the university’s centennial finale, Oct. 28. Also pictured are Cunningham’s daughter, Mildred Bell, and Bryan Lewis, son of Betty Walker, Southern Wesleyan University admissions counselor. Cunningham is Walker’s great aunt. Photo Gallery
At noon, a time capsule that was buried at the university’s 75th anniversary celebration, in 1981, will be excavated. The items from the time capsule will be on display at the university’s library throughout the weekend.
“We expect to find newspapers and video tapes and other memorabilia,” Bryant said. Also during the celebration weekend, Southern Wesleyan University will be accepting items to be buried in the 100th anniversary time capsule.
“Folks have an opportunity to submit items for consideration for the centennial time capsule,” Bryant said. “Then our centennial committee will select which items we’ll have room for in the 100-year time capsule.”
Free children’s entertainment will be available noon to 5 p.m., with a children’s play area featuring games and inflatable rides.
“This year’s children’s activities have more than doubled in size. Children will enjoy the 33-foot Titanic slide and the bungee run,” Bryant said. “At 3 p.m., we’ll have a professional program of magic ministry.” The Vertical Kids Ministry, featuring Earl and Kimberly Long, will be at Folger Fine Arts Auditorium. Admission to the show is free.
“A Clemson Area Transit (CAT) bus will be available to take people to downtown Central. They can enjoy the Central Heritage Festival there and then return to Southern Wesleyan for more festivities,” Bryant said. Ample free parking is available at the university and the bus will be dedicated to shuttling back and forth between Southern Wesleyan University and downtown Central.
Southern Wesleyan University’s Concert of Praise will be the final performance of the SWU Centennial Homecoming. The concert will feature the Rick Webb Trio, presenting contemporary Southern gospel music, as well as patriotic music current musical ensembles. The concert will also include current music ensembles and alumni soloists, as well as a mass choir and orchestra made up of students and alumni. The concert begins at 7 p.m. in Tysinger Gymnasium and will conclude with a fireworks display at 9:30 p.m.
Tickets for the Concert of Praise are $5 to $10 and are available through the university’s Alumni Center.
The centennial day will finish with a bang, as a half-hour fireworks extravaganza will begin at 9:30 p.m.
“We’re excited about having visitors from our surroundings on our campus to help us celebrate 100 years of being part of this community,” Bryant said. “The best viewing area for the fireworks will be on the east side of our campus, near our baseball field. Bring your chairs or blankets and enjoy our free show.”
Parking, children’s entertainment, as well as admission to the classic car show and the craft fair are free and open to the public.
For details about homecoming events, contact the Alumni Center at (864) 644-5384, 1-800-282-8798, ext. 5384, or .