Queen's University

A new kind of Homecoming in 2013

An open letter from Principal Daniel Woolf to the members of the Queen’s community.

If you haven’t already heard the rumours, let me make it official: Queen’s is reinstating its fall Homecoming celebrations. I’m very pleased to tell you that we will be welcoming alumni back to campus in ­October 2013.

Though the event will celebrate the best of Queen’s spirit – as it always has – it will be a different experience than in years past – the product of a much more inclusive planning process involving not only the University and alumni, but also ­students and the local community.

The University will hold a new kind of Homecoming in 2013The senior alumni half-time parade at a Gaels' football game is just one of the popular Homecoming activities that will be resurrected when the "new Homecoming" makes its debut this fall.  

Most notably, Homecoming 2013 will now be held over two fall weekends, ­October 4 and October 18. Each weekend will feature its own signature events for alumni, alongside innovative programing for students, alumni, and members of the Kingston community. Of course, both weekends will include a home football game.

Being an alumnus myself – Artsci’80 – I know how important fall reunions are for the Queen’s community – especially our alumni who look forward to returning to campus every year to spend time together, sharing memories and revisiting their favourite Kingston haunts. I’ve also heard how important it is for our students and for the local community.

In 2008, however, former Principal Tom Williams made the difficult decision to suspend fall Homecoming after an unsanctioned street party became a serious threat to the safety of our students alumni, and the wider Kingston community. In 2010, I felt it regrettably necessary to ­extend that suspension.

I’ve been encouraged, however, by the good judgment shown by those who have gathered ­informally in the years since then. That’s why I’m feeling optimistic about the event’s future. I am hopeful that we will be able to carry on the tradition for years to come; however, this will depend upon the full cooperation of students, alumni and the community alike.

Over the past year, I’ve worked with the University’s Office of Advancement and the Queen’s University Alumni Association, along with the Rector and student leaders from the AMS, the SGPS, and the QSAA, “reimagining” what Homecoming could be. Kingston Police, Emergency Services, and city residents have had their say, too. These conversations have all been a vital part of the process. I’m also grateful for the cooperation and collaboration we’ve had from the Mayor and the City of Kingston.

At the end of the day, we all want an opportunity to celebrate what makes Queen’s great: our spirit, and our initiative…not to mention our prowess on the football field.

Every year some 4,500 graduates become part of our dynamic community of alumni living all over the world. We are very pleased that once again, we’ll have a chance to welcome them back home.

I look forward to celebrating with you.

For more information, please visit the Homecoming 2013 page.


Alumni response to the Principal’s announcement

“I commend Principal Woolf for his decision to reinstate Homecoming this fall and for his challenge to our community to make it a better, more positive experience for all.” -- QUAA PRESIDENT JESS JOSS, ARTSCI’96, TORONTO

“I absolutely think this is the right decision. Homecoming is a really important part of the Queen’s tradition for me. Sure, it comes with some risk, but I think the risk is worth taking. I’m very confident that Queen’s can build on what works so well about Homecoming weekend and minimize the cost and disruption of what doesn’t work.” -- BRUCE SELLERY, COM’93, CALGARY

“The return of Homecoming will allow students to experience the Queen’s spirit at a whole new level by connecting with alumni in meaningful ways. As students, meeting alumni makes us realize that our connection with Queen’s goes beyond the years we spend in Kingston since we’re students for a short time and alumni for a lifetime. The QSAA Ambassador Team is excited to be working with other student leaders and organizations to create new Homecoming events that will enable students to network with alumni and to learn from them.” -- QUEEN’S STUDENT ALUMNI ASSOCIATION PRESIDENT RICO GARCIA, ARTSCI’13

“Important as Homecoming is, behind the decision to return to a fall Homecoming is an even more important story for which the University must be congratulated. That story is the on-going work to improve town-gown relations, which at their nadir saw Homecoming-related events becoming a major, negative national news story. Principal Woolf and his team have continued and built on the initiatives of Principal [Tom] Williams. The Homecoming decision is just one example of a much happier relationship.” -- BILL GLOVER, ARTS’73 (Councilor, Sydenham District, which includes the main campus and much of the student residential area)



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