Competitors in the Blue Hen 5K, joined by mascots YoUDee and Baby Blue, are off and runnings.

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Blue Hens return to the roost for UD Alumni Weekend

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4:57 p.m., June 9, 2014--The sixth annual University of Delaware Alumni Weekend attracted more than 5,000 attendees to the Newark campus to meet fellow Blue Hens and take part in a wide variety of memory-making activities June 6-8.

“There is no better opportunity to connect with so many other Blue Hens and friends on campus than during Alumni Weekend,” said Cindy Campanella, assistant vice president for alumni relations. “These Blue Hens and their families return to Newark because their connection and ties to their friends and alma mater runs deep.”

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Growing in popularity each year, Alumni Weekend affords former roommates, classmates and professors the opportunity to meet and share memories of UD while also creating new ones, Campanella said.

With some 60 events -- including receptions, Mug Night, Lunch with the UD Mascots and a 5K run -- Alumni Weekend had something for everybody, regardless of age or personality, Campanella said. 

To recreate their UD college experience, more than 2,100 attendees opted to spend the weekend in UD residence halls. Reunions were held for the classes of 1964, 1989, 1994, 1999, 2004 and 2009. 

Favorite venues included Mug Night and a Blue Hen Bash, complete with buffet, where reunion classes were recognized, and the Blue Hen R&B Lounge with music provided by Best Kept Soul, one of the First State’s hottest rhythm and blues bands. 

“Alumni Weekend brings groups of old friends back together and provides them with unique events that they can enjoy together, while they’re catching up,” Campanella said. “The attendees were able to just relax and have an amazing time enjoying one another and UD.” 

Events for Friday, June 6, included an Honors Program reception at 186 S. College Ave., where attendees had the opportunity to meet fellow Honors Program alumni as well as new members of the Honors staff. 

Friday’s events also included receptions hosted by the colleges of Agriculture and Natural Resources; Arts and Sciences; Health Sciences; Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics; Earth, Ocean, and Environment; Education and Human Development; and Engineering.

Popular happenings on Saturday, June 7, included a Brunch and Bloody Mary breakfast held in the lobby of Memorial Hall and hosted by Mark Bowden, Distinguished Writer-in-Residence at UD and the author of Black Hawk Down and The Finish: The Killing of Osama Bin Laden. 

Returning Blue Hens also had the chance to visit the UD Botanic Gardens and tour different parts of the campus and to participate in several interesting academic programs offered by UD alumni, faculty and staff. 

University President Patrick Harker discussed the challenges and opportunities facing UD and higher education during a State of the University conversation moderated by Ralph Begleiter, Rosenberg Professor of Communication.

On Sunday, June 8, alumni and their families had the opportunity to participate in the sixth annual Blue Hen 5K Run/Walk, which featured the inaugural Double Del competition. Younger visitors enjoyed the Kids Fun Run held prior to the regular race.  

Topping the 266 finishers in the Blue Hen 5K were Radley Reist, of Bear, Delaware, who covered the course in 16:44. Elizabeth Swierzbinski, of Wilmington, Delaware, led all women runners with a time of 18:53. Event sponsors included the Deer Park Tavern, Pepsi, the Barnes and Noble UD Bookstore, Oppy and Therapeutic Massage and Wellness.

While returning alumni represented many graduating classes, attendees all found they were able to develop an instant camaraderie with their fellow Blue Hens from across the decades, Campanella said.

“There are few experiences as formidable and fun as college, and coming together with people who shared that unique rite of passage is an incredibly powerful bond,” Campanella said. “Our alumni truly are Blue Hens forever.”

Additional Alumni Weekend articles, resources

For an article on the State of the University presentation, click here.

For an article on the Alumni Wall of Fame Class of 2014, click here.

For the UD social media Storify site, click here.

An image gallery will be available at UD in Photos.

Article by Jerry Rhodes

Photos by Kathy F. Atkinson, Evan Krape, Ambre Alexander Payne, Doug Baker, Duane Perry, Mark Campbell, Kevin Quinlan and Lane McLaughlin

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