Homecoming weekend connects students and alumni

By Madeline Seeland

10.04.19

This weekend the Student Alumni Board (SAB) will welcome hundreds of alumni from across the globe back to campus for this year’s homecoming weekend.

“It’s our biggest SAB event of the year, and it’s right off the bat,” said junior Donovan Gleeson, a current member of SAB. “We get back from [Student Development week] and jump straight into it.” This year the classes of 2014, 2009, 1999, 1994 and 1989 will return to Wheaton for reunions.

In an email exchange with the Record, Executive Director of Wheaton Alumni Association Cindra Stackhouse Taeztsch said that homecoming attendance has been growing since its inception in 1923. “Our records show that 100 alumni attended that first homecoming. [This weekend], we are expecting over 1,000 alumni and their families.”

Taeztsch explained that such an eventful weekend is impossible without a great deal of preparation. “We take care of all the details so things run smoothly, then step back and watch how the Holy Spirit works through conversations, memories, laughter, singing and occasionally tears,” she said. “It’s a privilege to welcome our alumni ‘home’ to celebrate their time as Wheaton students.”

Phyllis Nsiah-Kumi (’94) will kick off the weekend Friday morning as the Homecoming Chapel speaker. Nsiah-Kumi formerly taught medicine at Case Western University and currently works as the chief medical officer at the military entrance processing station in Cleveland.

Friday night offers a lot of sporting events to choose from. The women’s soccer team will take the field at 4:30 p.m. at Joe Bean Stadium. The men’s soccer game immediately follows at 7 p.m. while the Women’s volleyball team plays their 7 p.m. match in the Chrouser Sports Center (CSC).

The College Union (CU) will host Coffee House on Friday night from 8 to 10 p.m. in Lower Beamer, an event featuring musical performances from Wheaton students.

On Saturday morning, alumni athletes will have the chance to return to their respective sports teams and participate in a number of alumni sporting events, including a baseball game at the Lee Pfund Stadium in Carol Stream at 9 a.m., a swim meet at the Lederhouse Natatorium in CSC at 9 a.m. and an alumnae softball game at Ruth Leedy Field at 11 a.m.

From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, the Alumni Engagement office will host a family-friendly homecoming BBQ at the CSC in preparation for the football game at McCully Stadium at 1 p.m.

On Saturday evening, female students from each class will compete in a PowderPuff football game at McCully Stadium at 7 p.m., which CU Event Coordinator Daniel Giles says will be a memorable part of the weekend. “I think it’ll be really fun because we have a lot of people signed up,” Giles said.

Events like the PowderPuff game are directed towards students and other events are for alumni returning to campus: the Alumni Engagement office works together with the SAB to make this a weekend of both connections and reconnections. Each organization encourages alumni and students to attend sporting and campus events to foster conversation. “Overall,” SAB member Grace Hanson says, “our goal [for homecoming] is to offer students opportunities to connect with alumni.”

Junior SAB member Jacob Bice said he is excited to connect with alumni over the weekend. “I like talking about what’s changed since [they attended] and being able to talk about our Wheaton connection even though a lot of years have come between each of our times at college,” he said. He also encouraged students to take this opportunity to engage with alumni because “they’re going to be in the area and are willing to talk.”

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