Cougar Interview – Craig Wallace

by APU Life Staff

APU LIFE: What does Homecoming and Family Weekend mean to you?

WALLACE: When people think of Homecoming, football comes to mind. And while the big Cougar game is a huge highlight, Homecoming and Family Weekend at APU involves so much more. It’s a great time to listen to some of the older alumni reminisce about beloved professors like Chase Sawtell, Tim Hansel, or June Hamlow and go back to the places on campus where they used to hang out, study, and even stay up all night and talk about life. Some come back to see the coaches that influenced their lives, like Cliff Hamlow, Terry Franson, Sue Hebel, and Jim Milhon, and to thank them for investing in their lives. Recent alumni love to visit and show off their new baby or share about that new job. Alums with kids really appreciated the Block Party. And both alums and parents enjoy the traditions we have continued over the years like Dinner Rally, In-N-Out tailgating, the golf tournament, and the Mother/ Daughter Tea. Over the 20 plus years that I have been involved with the planning of Homecoming, my wife, Linda (Roll ’87), M.A. ’98, and I still look forward to visiting with lifelong friends and running into former classmates that we may have not seen in years. And now that we have our two sons here at APU, we are alumni and parents.

APU LIFE: Why would alumni who have been disconnected for a while want to attend Homecoming and Family Weekend?

WALLACE: The college experience differs for everyone. But whether APU served as a springboard for further education, the place they met their spouse, a step in life’s journey, or a time of spiritual growth or awakening, most agree that their life was transformed here. Many alumni who have been away for years are surprised to see how much the look of campus has changed and yet how the heart of APU remains unchanged. The spirit of place that caused so many students to say, “I knew when I stepped onto campus for the first time, that this was where God wanted me,” still thrives here. Coming back to campus and reconnecting with the people that taught and mentored us reaffirms the choices we made and paths we’ve taken.

APU LIFE: What’s in Homecoming and Family Weekend for parents? WALLACE: There’s no better time for parents to visit their students than Homecoming and Family Weekend. Not only can they go to classes and get a glimpse of the quality education they’re investing in, but they can also witness firsthand the unique experience that comes with that education. Beyond their scholarly pursuits, APU students immerse themselves in social clubs, service opportunities, athletic teams, discipleship groups, and countless other activities, and they love to show their parents what they’re doing. Chapel is by far one of parents’ favorite experiences. Nothing compares to seeing your college student thriving spiritually as well as academically. APU LIFE: The Office of Alumni Relations recently became the Office of Alumni and Parent Relations. Why, and what does it mean? WALLACE: So many of the events and activities we plan for alumni, such as trips, regional chapters, and other gatherings that help promote and support APU, hold a great deal of interest for parents as well, so this feels like a very natural fit. We’ve said many times that APU is like a family. Now we can reach out directly to parents, serving as a connection and extension to the university. We have some exciting new programs in the works to get things started. First, we plan to establish affinity groups for local parents. For example, those with students playing a sport will have a chance to connect with other parents on the team and support their students and teams in a number of ways. Parents of music students will gather at performances and collaborate about the best ways to champion the various ensembles and groups. The possibilities are endless. For parents out of the area, regional networking will provide a way to connect with other parents of APU students. We have an enewsletter exclusively for parents, filled with resources to keep them involved and informed. Parents are our students’ most valuable support and their biggest advocates; I expect this partnership to make a great APU experience even better.