Ryan Daniel came from his Columbia City hometown in northeastern Indiana to Anderson University with the intention of studying music education. He graduated in 2007 with a political science major. Now he is mayor of his hometown.
As it so happened, Daniel worked in the AU Office of Community and Rural Affairs, which served Columbia City. His studies allowed him to work with Hoosier mayors and learn about economic development.
He met his future wife, Amanda, at AU and the two began campaigning for the Columbia City post when they learned that city's mayor would not be seeking another term.
Daniel will be among a group of influential alumni receiving awards during Homecoming week at AU. Among the well-known recipients: Indiana Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Rudolph "Rudy" Pyle, AU professor Fred Shively and Dove Award winner Gloria Gaither.
Today, of course, Homecoming draws in the crowds with the 1:30 p.m. football matchup against Earlham. At noon, the women's volleyball team plays Hanover. At 3:30 p.m., the AU men's soccer team also goes up against Earlham.
There's also a public street fair from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. — rain or shine.
If you're longing to hear a gospel choir, head to Sunday's 9 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. services at East Side Church of God, 2600 E. Fifth Street.
The weekend is full of sports, worship and camaraderie as alums meet up. There's even AU men's soccer alumni games beginning at 9:30 a.m. today. Players from the years 1988 to 1997 will play the younger guys (1998-2007). The men's soccer team is celebrating 25 years at AU; it gained NCAA varsity status in 1989.
While Ryan Daniel may exemplify the variety of the education experience at AU, he is like hundreds of AU graduates. He came to AU as a freshman seeking a degree. He found a career that serves others.
Homecoming weekend at Anderson University isn't just for alumni and current students. It's a reminder of the importance that the university has in local lives and influencing others.
In summary The Anderson University Homecoming brings alumni back and reminds community of university's importance.