grill-2After sixty-five days and twenty-two events across the United States and Canada, the historic “Grill’n and Chill’n Christendom Alumni Summer Tour” made its last stop of the summer this past week, marking the end of one chapter and the beginning of another for the college’s growing alumni base. Initiated this past June as a means of strengthening the bonds of fellowship between Christendom alumni, the tour met and exceeded that purpose over the summer months, leaving the college’s alumni stronger and more impassioned than ever before.

“When we first started planning this tour, none of us could have anticipated how popular it would turn out to be,” said Karla (Kuykendall) Hester ‘99, chair of the alumni advisory council. “In sixty-five days, I witnessed Christendom alumni coming together as never before, united in their love for this college and for each other. In many cases, these alumni had never met before. Now, thanks to the tour, many of these alumni already have plans to develop local alumni chapters, not only for socializing but also for organizing events and programs in support of their local Catholic parishes. That is something incredible, and I couldn’t be happier to have been able to be a part of it.”

Tim and Karla Hester

Tim and Karla Hester

Together with her husband and fellow council member, Timothy, and their two children, Hester spent her entire summer traveling across the United States and Canada to meet and visit with the alumni of Christendom College, helping them connect with each other at the events. At each stop, the Hesters documented the tour through pictures, videos, and blog posts, allowing all of the college’s alumni to participate and share in the adventure.

By the end of the tour, the entire family traveled 12,763.5 miles to attend twenty-two separate alumni events — a staggering number, that emphasizes their passion for Christendom and desire to bring the alumni together.

Hundreds of alumni and their families at the Front Royal Grilln' and Chilln' Event

Hundreds of alumni and their families at the Front Royal Grill’n and Chill’n Event

“The tour was conceived as a means of helping the college’s widespread alumni base reconnect with each other and with the college.  We needed to gauge where alumni are in life and what they wanted from the alumni council.  To see that goal come to fruition has been inspirational, and I cannot thank Karla and Tim enough for taking on this herculean task,” said Vince Criste, assistant director of alumni and donor relations for Christendom. “Their sacrifice, enthusiasm, and dedication made the entire tour possible, and will hopefully inspire and encourage alumni for years to come.”

For the college’s flourishing alumni advisory council, the summer tour is only the beginning of the many projects they are planning in the future, including the college’s upcoming Homecoming Weekend this October and future “townhall” events exclusively for alumni.

If interested in forming a regional chapter or helping to plan future alumni events, please contact Karla Hester at karlak@gmail.com or Vince Criste at vince.criste@christendom.edu.

If interested in learning how to help the alumni advisory council, including by becoming a class representative, please visit here. For those alumni who have yet to take the new alumni survey, which includes information updates, please visit here.

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