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4:14 p.m., Oct. 23, 2008----Even the Fightin' Blue Hens' crushing loss against the College of William and Mary Saturday couldn't dampen the festivities and high spirits evident everywhere on campus during UD's Homecoming Weekend, held this year from Friday-Sunday, Oct. 17-19.
UD's marching band, cheerleaders, dance team and mascot YoUDee all contributed to the colorful festivities, and the perfect fall weather also helped to draw visitors and alumni bent on reconnecting and rekindling fond blue-and-gold memories.
Members of the classes of 1968, 1983, 1988 and 1998 packed the tent at Reunion Row, as did alumni at tents representing the women's basketball team, the men's basketball team, the baseball team, women's rowing and the College of Human Services, Education and Public Policy. Lauren Murray Simione, assistant director of Alumni and University Relations, said representation from the classes of '83 and '88--the 20th- and 25th-year-reunion-classes--was particularly strong.
“This year's Homecoming weekend provided many opportunities for alumni and friends to reconnect, show their Blue Hen spirit and take advantage of a variety of special events,” said Cindy Campanella, CHEP '84, director of Alumni and University Relations.
“Homecoming is also a great chance for worthy alums to be recognized with awards like the Presidential Citation for Outstanding Achievement and the Outstanding Alumni Award,” Campanella said. “In addition, several class year and affinity group reunions took place, and for the first time we offered a young alumni bowling event--and those that attended had a great time. It's wonderful to see so many alums come back to campus for a weekend of fun and reminiscing.”
The President's Homecoming Brunch for alumni and friends of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, held Saturday morning in Townsend Hall, also drew a crowd, with more than 350 specially invited alumni and guests making a spirited showing to meet with UD President Patrick Harker and Emily Harker. Lending a special flair to the event was ice cream made from milk collected from UD's own College of Agriculture and Natural Resources cows. All guests in attendance also left with an ice cream scoop (tied with a blue and gold ribbon).
Celebrating its 50th anniversary, the class of 1958 was represented by 140 alums and guests, who were honored with a reception and dinner Saturday evening at the Trabant University Center. Dozens of 1950s UD football players got an early start on Homecoming weekend with a reunion on Oct. 16 hosted by the widow of legendary former UD head football coach David M. Nelson.
Other highlights of the weekend included the Outstanding Alumni Awards to Charlotte Waterbury Brown and Scott Somerville, which were given to this year's honorees at the President's Homecoming Brunch, held Saturday morning at the Field House. The awards are presented each year annually to recognize alums who are especially active in volunteer efforts on behalf of UD and the University's Alumni Association. Brown and Somerville also were recognized at halftime on the 50-yard line, along with UD's Spirit Ambassadors and this year's recipient of the T. Muncy Keith Spirit Award, Chris Gale. UD ice cream also was served at this brunch, and all guests left with an ice cream scoop, as well.
A senior engineering major from Camp Hill, Pa., Gale, besides being publicly recognized for his school spirit and campus leadership, was award with a $1,000 scholarship.
The new crop of UD Spirit Ambassadors, a group of 16 students selected for their outstanding achievements and leadership on campus, also were recognized at halftime.
Spirit Ambassadors for 2008-09 are:
- Jordan Brown, finance, '09;
- Rita Chang, apparel and fashion merchandising, '10;
- Monica Conforti, CHEP, '09;
- Michael Daugherty, biomechanics, '09;
- Andrew Dubina, environmental engineering, '09;
- Chris Gale, mechanical engineering, '09;
- Nicole Gentile, international relations, '09;
- Marc Paulo Guzman, biological sciences education, '10;
- Emily Hartline, dietetics, '10;
- Brooke Humfeld, instrumental music education, '09;
- Christine Ingari, interpersonal communication, '09;
- Sarah Mainardi, animal science, pre-veterinary medicine '09;
- Jessica Rennenkampf, business management, '09;
- Jason Schoenfeld, biological sciences, '09;
- Allison Stitt, nursing, '10; and
- Jeremy Wolff, marketing, '09.
Registered student organizations that vied to place in the Homecoming banner competition at the Homecoming Carnival and Spirit Rally Friday afternoon gave football-riveted fans a break from the intense action Saturday as members from the group that took top honors, UD's StUDent Government Association, ran the field with the Fightin' Blue Hens, waving their “We Govern the Field” blue-and-gold banner.
Second and third banner competition prizes went to Student Centers Programming Advisory Board and HOLA, respectively, and for their efforts both groups got their names announced and writ large in bright lights on the scoreboard.
The Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics held its Awards of Excellence ceremony, and the Engineering Alumni Association, the Black Alumni Association and the Honors Program alumni groups all hosted special events.
Additionally, a recognition ceremony held Friday evening to honor this year's six recipients of the Presidential Citation for Outstanding Achievement award also drew alumni and friends back to share in the achievements of some of UD's outstanding community- and career-oriented alumni from the past 20 years.
Other happenings--from sporting events that included ice hockey games and cross country races to concerts and UD museum exhibitions--rounded out the weekend activities.
Article by Becca Hutchinson
Photos by Kathy Atkinson, Mark Campbell, Saquan Stimpson and Tyler Jacobson