HUNTINGTON, Ind. — For 43 years, Huntington University’s Forester Night has honored seniors for their commitment to the university. This year, a group of alumni helped to make it an extra special occasion.
Annually, the student body chooses its male and female Foresters of the Year to honor at Forester Night. In a return of an old tradition, this year’s recipients, seniors James Pope and Jordan VanEngen
, were awarded Forester trophies which were modeled after the mascot, Norm the Forester.
“I really wanted to bring that sense of spirit and pride to the Forester of the Year recipients so that they would have something tangible to cherish,” said Margaret Roush, director of alumni relations who helped to make the trophy possible this year.
In working with Sophomore Class President Tyson Bradley-Kalischuk, Roush contacted past Forester of the Year recipients to ask them to fund the creation of the trophies. With the full amount in hand, they worked with Prof. Steve Leeper, alum Curtis Wood and the digital media arts department on campus to mold and craft the trophy.
“The main reason I wanted to recreate the Forester trophy was because it brings back a tradition that brought a sense of pride and honor to be a Forester,” Bradley-Kalischuk said. “Bringing back this trophy allowed us to reconnect with previous winners and show them that the university is still changing lives today just as it did years ago.”
The process began nearly a year ago as the university began developing an animation to promote Homecoming, which was celebrating the 20th anniversary of the naming of the mascot, Norm.
In the animation, the mascot Norm, demonstrates his best “Forester” pose next to the first Forester of the Year trophy. In a “making of” video
, the first recipient of the trophy, 1971 alum David Hendrickson, shares the importance of being named a Forester of the Year.
“It was quite humbling and a big, big honor for me to win this award,” he said. “I have kept this (the trophy) all these years.”
Since the creation of the Forester of the Year in 1971, the university has recognized 85 students with this honor. Bradley-Kalischuk and Roush hope that the Forester trophy will remain as a tradition for many years to come.
“I am so happy and thankful that we got this accomplished,” Bradley-Kalischuk said. “The trophies turned out better than I ever dreamed. I look forward to seeing these trophies created for years to come.”