Denison’s Alumni Relations Office has become a safe harbor for the riches of the college’s past. Whether displayed in windows or the suite’s small library, lost prizes ranging from pictures to letterman sweaters to fraternity paddles take refuge in the bottom corner office of the Burton Morgan building.
One of the most recent additions to this growing collection is a mystery. A banner stolen from Denison’s athletic center, then Livingston Gym, resurfaced this past June during Reunion Weekend and is now proudly displayed in Alumni Relations’ front window.
“One of the alums on the 50th reunion planning committee came up to me and said, ‘A fellow classmate would like to return this to the college. He’s lived with guilt for 50 years and wants to give it back,’” said Steve Crawford, director of alumni relations. The previous “owner” wished to remain anonymous.
These types of donations, however, are not new to the Alumni Relations Office. “This has happened other times,” said Crawford. For instance, about five years ago the staff received a package in the mail containing tools that would be useful in a theatre scene shop. The accompanying written confession said, “I stole comparable items during my time at Denison and would like to replace them.”
Similarly, Alumni Relations often gets bequests from visiting alumni or the families of deceased Denisonians. The staff also has been known to “rescue” valuables, such as pictures used for events, from the trash.
The recovered banner, however, is the largest artifact in the office and a favorite of Crawford. “I hung it up right away before it could be moved down to Mitchell,” he said with a laugh, noting that he’s certain the athletics staff would love to have it back home. “I have no plans of taking it down there.”