HOMECOMING 2013: First weekend a hit with alumni
By Andrea Gunn, Manager, Alumni Marketing and Communications
Dozens of activities were on offer last weekend as alumni from the classes of '68, '78, '88, '98, and '08, as well as a contingent from Sc’48, returned for the first of this year’s Homecoming weekends.
From breakfast with students at Leonard Hall, to a movie screening in Springer Market Square, these activities gave alumni an opportunity to reconnect with each other and interact with current Queen’s students.Faculties opened their doors for alumni receptions, tours, and displays of student work. Special athletics events included a women’s basketball alumni game, alumni rugby games, and a flag football game for Gaels football alumni. Tourism Kingston hosted a Queen’s–Kingston scavenger hunt throughout the weekend.
Kris Thompson, Class President of Sc’88, flew in from Austin, Texas for his 25th reunion. He started planning for the reunion almost a year ago and made purple tie-dyed t-shirts for the 100 Sc’88 classmates who joined him this weekend.
“It was fantastic…meeting students on campus, all the smiles I saw this weekend, being at the perfect football game, and hanging out with my classmates -- my best friends in the world.” Says Mr. Thompson.
Several hundred alumni took part in the football game half-time parade on Saturday, walking around the track to the cheers of students in the stands. More than 9,000 people attended the game, which saw Queen’s beat Laurier 40-34 in overtime.
Moira Browne (Meds’88), a family physician in Kingston, says that 40 of her classmates were able to make it back for Homecoming.
“One came back from Amsterdam, another from Colorado,” she says, “and for some, this was their first trip back to Queen’s in 25 years!”
Dr. Browne points to the opportunity to catch up one-on-one at class events, as well as interacting with students at the football game as two highlights of her weekend. “The students in the stands looked so stoked to see all the alumni,” says Moira. “We all got high-fives during the parade!”
Initial plans for half-time called for the Class of 1988 to lead the rest of the alumni classes in the parade. But when Kris Thompson and his classmates saw that members of Sc’48 were to follow them, they made a change in plans. 1988 grads stood to one side and applauded as the men of Sc’48 walked the track, then fell in line behind them.
Kathryn Vilela, Alumni Officer, Reunions, who has been helping alumni groups with their Homecoming plans for the past few months, said that she received a tremendous amount of positive feedback from alumni.
“On Monday morning, my inbox was already filling up with happy notes from alumni volunteers. They’ve sent me lots of photos of themselves, on campus, at the football game, at restaurants in downtown Kingston, and some with Principal Woolf joining in the fun.”
Student-organized events on Sunday focused on community involvement, with a Queen’s Gives Back food drive for local agencies, and a tree-planting initiative on University Avenue. While the downpour on Sunday kept attendance down somewhat, Alex Blaine, ConEd’15, one of the student organizers, reported that students collected about 300 cans of food, which was delivered to St. Vincent de Paul. A second food drive will be held on Sunday, October 20 outside the JDUC.
A number of other campus and community activities will be repeated for the second Homecoming weekend as Queen’s welcomes back classes celebrating a 10th, 20th, 30, 40th, 50th, or 50+ reunion will return October 18-20. An online program booklet lists all the Homecoming events, including those open to the community.