Allow me to be one of many to deliver the great news today about the return of our beloved Queen's Homecoming. Just over a year ago, myself and a few others discussed how modernizing the homecoming tradition at Queen's may be part of the solution we needed to bring it back. That group grew and grew, with students, staff, faculty, and alumni who have been working tirelessly on consulting and modeling this new rendition of our traditional homecoming.
I recently delivered a speech this morning at the official announcement of homecoming's return. It was an opportunity to speak on your behalf in great thanks and recognition of the university's decision about homecoming. In the writing of my speech, I reflected on why homecoming is necessary at Queen's to the well-being of our community. I also made sure to express a debt of gratitude to all of the students and student representatives in the past years who deserve our most heartfelt thanks.
Homecoming can live in several forms and there have been many variations over the years. It is more than a football game or a party that the whole university and Kinsgton community is invited to. There are core values that underline what Queen's Homecoming has always been and will now continue to be. The values, I believe are as follows:
Firstly, the affinity that alumni have developed with Queen’s and the City of Kingston and their ability to maintain that long lasting connection. Secondly, the orientation of students to their alumni community that is spread out around the globe, but all started in the same place, where we current students find ourselves having similar experiences that unite us to our alumni. Finally, the celebration of our alumni for their achievements and their lifetime membership of the Queen’s community.
These values are, I believe, the essence of Queen’s homecoming and its profound meaning to this school, and it’s time that we give them a new home to live and flourish, starting in 2013.
The modernization of our traditions, including Homecoming, was something that I ran on in my platform for rector over a year ago. It will continue to be an initiative that I will remain closely tied to and involved with. However, it is important to recognize the students who truly should be celebrated today.
For every student and student representative who were part of the numerous "bring homecoming back" efforts over recent years, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. It was your committment to changing a culture and perception of Queen's Homecoming that has led us here. From the countless initiatives to the word of mouth to your peers to be safe and work hard towards this day, you have truly served this community well.
We look forward to welcoming you and your fellow alumni, young and old, back to your marvelous campus.
See you on the field.
Princeps Servusque Es,
Rector of Queen's University