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Lax player takes time out for emeritus tea

DU lacrosse player Henry Miketa accompanies his great-aunt, Francell Lee Schrader, to the annual Emeritus Tea on June 3 at the Sturm College of Law.

At an average DU event, a 21-year-old college student would blend right in with the crowd. But at DU’s annual Emeritus Tea — where attendees include alumni who graduated 50 or more years ago, emeritus faculty members and retired staff — junior Henry Miketa stood out.

Although the alumni from the class of 1961 were the true stars of the day, many attendees glanced with curiosity at Miketa, who sat smiling and quietly applauding throughout the ceremony.

Miketa, a DU men’s lacrosse player, had just helped the lacrosse team complete the most successful and historic season in program history, which included the team’s first-ever conference championship and a trip to the NCAA Final Four that captivated DU alumni around the nation.

Emcee Grant Wilkins (BA zoology and bacteriology ’47) introduced Miketa, joking that next year he wants to sit with an NCAA champion, and asked him to say a few words.

“It’s an exciting time to be a student and to play lacrosse here,” Miketa said, thanking Chancellor Robert Coombe for the University’s great facilities and support for student athletes.

But Miketa wasn’t there to represent the team or sign autographs — he was there to escort his great-aunt, Francell Lee Schrader (BA ’53), to the June 3 event at DU’s Sturm College of Law.

“She’s so proud of being a DU alumna,” Miketa said. “It’s kind of cool. She has always had this reverence — she loves DU.”

“I’ve gotten the invitation every year, but since I’m in a wheelchair and a nursing home, I just didn’t think I was ever [going to be] able to go,” Schrader said. “But this year, Henry offered to take me. He’s a special young man to take his great-aunt to tea.

“It’s so wonderful to see everyone,” Schrader said, beaming from ear to ear as some of her Sigma Kappa sorority sisters came by to say hello.

Each year, the tea gives attendees a chance to reconnect with former classmates and faculty members while enjoying tea, sandwiches and pastries.

This year the class of 1961 was inducted into PALs, a social group for 50-year graduates. The crowd applauded as Wilkins announced the names of the attending members, who each received a medallion to signify his or her induction.

Miketa said he prefers to stay under the radar but appreciates the support everyone expressed to him for the lacrosse team’s success. He added that he enjoyed mingling with other guests at the tea.

“I enjoy talking to older people,” he said. “They have lots of experiences to share. It’s nice to talk to them, to get their advice and wisdom.”

“Henry will bring me again next year when he’s a champion,” Schrader said.

“That’s the goal,” Miketa answered.

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