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Wayne State College 2008 Homecoming

Published Monday, October 6th, 2008

Wayne State alumni, faculty, staff, students and community members participated in Homecoming festivities Oct. 9-12, 2008, at the college.

Wayne State alumni, faculty, staff, students and community members participated in Homecoming festivities Oct. 9-12, 2008, at the college.

"Homecoming is a wonderful time for alumni to return to the beautiful Wayne State campus and renew friendships. Cheerleaders, musicians and Tau Kappa Epsilon members will gather this year," said Deb Lundahl, director of development and alumni relations.

Alumni honored classes included 1943, '48, '58, '68, '78, '83, '88 and '98.

Outstanding alumni from Wayne State College academic schools were honored Oct. 10. They included Christopher G. Amundson '97; Carra Simmons '84; David L. Hawkins MSE '86, EdS '00; and Rex E. Murray '75.

Amundson worked his way through college at Wayne State as a commercial pilot and upon graduation began work as a newspaper writer and editor. After joining Nebraska Life magazine, first as an advertising sales representative, he became involved with all aspects of the magazine's operations as general manager and associate publisher. Amundson purchased Nebraska Life magazine in 2004, a diversified media company that additionally publishes books and specialty magazines.

Simmons taught school in Iowa and Arizona for several years prior to beginning a career with State Farm Insurance. Simmons earned a master's degree in education from Northern Arizona University in 1992. He has been promoted numerous times within the State Farm organization.

Hawkins began his career as an educator in 1969 in Sioux City, Iowa. He has taught and coached at the elementary, junior high and high school levels. While enrolled in the graduate program at WSC in 1984, he began teaching, coaching and served as a guidance counselor at South Sioux City Community Schools. Hawkins is the assistant superintendent of schools at South Sioux City.

Murray grew up and received his education in Wayne. After completing his degree in chemistry from WSC, he pursued graduate studies in organic chemistry at the University of California, Davis, and completed his Ph.D. in 1980. Murray began his industrial career as a catalyst chemist at Union Carbide Corporation's technical center in South Charleston, W. Va. He has worked at Chevron Phillips Chemical Company in Bartlesville, Okla., as a research fellow since 2006.

Athletic Hall of Fame inductees were honored at the WSC Homecoming and Hall of Fame banquet Oct. 11. They included Emeritus President Dr. Donald Mash; former coach Al Svenningson; and athletes James McGown '98; Eric Henderson '00; and Sarah Herrick Wagenfuhr '02.

Gene Willmott received the alumni service award during the WSC Homecoming and Hall of Fame banquet on Saturday. The award recognizes alumni who have enhanced the college through dedicated service, promotion and financial support. Willmott graduated from Wayne State College in 1950 with a bachelor of arts degree in education majoring in sociology and economics.

While at Wayne State, he was a member of the track team and Sigma Tau Delta. He also played baseball for the Wayne town team. After a two-year stint in the U.S. Army, Willmott was a salesman for Palmer Food Company in Sioux City and then became the manager for Larsen Kuhn Clothing Store in Columbus.

Willmott returned to Wayne State College and received his master's degree in administration K-12 in 1961. He spent 33 years in education teaching a variety of subjects before retiring in 1990. He and his late wife, Joan, have been involved with and supportive of Wayne State College in a variety of ways, including scholarship support. Willmott lives in Dakota Dunes, S.D.