As the weekend comes to a close, more than 3,000 weekend visitors at HWS return to their homes following exciting and successful Homecoming festivities. With more than seven decades of alums returning to campus, the weekend was one of the best in the Colleges’ history.
“This year’s Homecoming and Family Weekend was a tremendous success. Alums, families, and students alike found countless ways to enjoy their time on campus and to relive their years at the Colleges,” says Director of Alumni Relations Jared Weeden ’91. “The Barn Burner Tailgate and Fall Nationals spurred a fantastic showing of school spirit, and events like the Cabaret and the art show highlighted the talent of HWS students and alums. It was a great weekend to be a Statesmen or a Heron!”
Alums and families, who began to arrive on campus Thursday and Friday, were greeted by the sight of on-campus houses decked out with pumpkins, streamers and signs. Theme houses, fraternities and residents of Odell’s decorated their homes to commemorate the weekend and to show their enthusiasm for their alma mater in a contest put on by the Campus Activities Board. With more than a dozen creative entries, judging proved difficult; however, it was the Bridge the Gap theme house that claimed the prize for most spirited.
For those on campus Friday evening, there was a plethora of activities to attend such as a reception for artist Martin Houge in the Davis Gallery at Houghton House for the opening celebration of his exhibit, “[Fake] Fake Estates: Revisiting Gordon Matta-Clark’s Fake Estates.”
Friday evening also celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Colleges’ victory in the General Electric College Bowl. The original members of the winning team returned to campus for a dinner in their honor, where they were commemorated for their outstanding achievement and their continued influence on the HWS campus and Geneva communities. The group was also honored on Saturday during the halftime celebrations at the Hobart football game.
Saturday morning opened with President Mark D. Gearan’s annual “State of the Colleges” address. Gearan spoke to parents and alums in a packed Vandervort Room about initiatives underway on campus, the first few weeks of the 2011-2012 academic year and the future of the Colleges.
“The current state of the Colleges can be described as excellent – with an ambitious direction; there is much to be done,” remarked Gearan. “We’ve had an energetic start to the year. Our current trajectory is one that we are proud of – it is one that is forming a truly inclusive community.”
Throughout the day, attendees had the opportunity to explore all corners of campus. The Finger Lakes Institute, Intercultural Affairs, the Abbe Center for Jewish Life and numerous other offices hosted open houses. Admissions invited all to take part in tours, which they offered continuously.
Alumni and Alumnae Councils also met to discuss the goals and accomplishments of the alumni and alumnae associations – which help to promote connections between the Colleges, alums and current students.
In the morning and afternoon, those who wished to head back to school were given the opportunity to do so through the always-popular mini college sessions. With 17 different courses offered during the 2011 Homecoming Weekend, alums and parents were exposed to just a small sampling of the courses available to students every semester. Topics this year included the 2012 elections, extreme weather and its causes and its effect on the country, and immigration.
Perhaps the highlight of the weekend was the Barnburner Tailgate and Fall Nationals. Huge crowds gathered on Winn-Seeley Hill to watch the annual soapbox derby race, which ended at a giant tailgate party for the soccer and football game. The race featured more than 10 entries – including the first William Smith car since the 80s, representing Hope House. Although Hobart Dean Eugen Baer looked as though he would claim the Nationals title for a second time, the pledges of Chi Phi eked out an exciting win – with Marshall Keaton ’14 at the helm – in the last corner turn of the race.
Saturday’s William Smith soccer game was also cause for excitement and celebration. On Cozzens Field, the Herons remained undefeated as they knocked down Union College in a 2-0 win. The Statesmen football team also bested Merchant Marine in an astounding 42-14 victory.
“Cabaret Goes Pink” was another major attraction for alums and students alike. Showcasing the immense talents of the current student body, performers ranged from acoustic singer-song writers, to the HWS a cappella groups Perfect Third, Hobartones and Three Miles Lost. Attendees of the Cabaret were encouraged to wear pink to show their support of Breast Cancer Awareness, while pink refreshments graced the tables.
“It was wonderful to see so many alums back on campus, actively engaged in the Colleges and the community at large,” said Director of Alumnae Relations Kathy Regan ’82, P’13. “We’ve had great feedback from alums and parents who were delighted to catch up with faculty, classmates, students, visit new -and old – facilities and experience the vibrancy of the current campus and student body. I can’t wait for next year’s celebration – we’ve started planning already!”