QUAA President's column
The Queen’s community is a vibrant one that’s built on tradition and innovation. The annual ritual of alumni returning to campus for an autumn reunion was resurrected in October after a five-year hiatus prompted by the University’s concerns for the safety of alumni and students alike. Homecoming’13 featured two weekends of celebration.
Alumni marking milestone reunion years were invited back to reconnect with classmates and other Queen’s friends, celebrate their Tricolour spirit, connect with students, support varsity sports teams, and give back to the local community. The first Homecoming weekend festivities, held October 4-6, were for alumni who were celebrating a reunion ending in five, and the weekend included a special focus on alumni who were celebrating their 25th reunion. The Class of 1988 took part in year-crest painting, a pre-football game party, and received commemorative reunion jacket bars. We look forward to continuing this practice in 2014 with the Class of 1989.
The football Gaels played Laurier in a hard-fought nail-biter of a game in which the Tricolour prevailed in overtime. The traditional alumni parade at half-time was enthusiastically cheered by current students. And the weekend included the Grant Hall Society dinner, which had a wonderful World Café theme. Most Homecoming events were well attended, and included a rousing rendition of Oil Thigh.
This second Homecoming’13 weekend, Oct. 18-20, saluted alumni who returned to campus for their 10th, 20th, 30th, 40th reunions, and the Tricolour Guard – alumni who were celebrating a reunion 50 years or more. Again, there were events at which alumni could interact with students, give back to the local community (a student-run food drive, a tree-planting initiative), and explore Kingston. There was also a second triumphant football game, this time against Guelph, and another impressive alumni parade at half-time.
I always look forward to speaking with our senior alumni and to their stories of campus and Kingston in their student days. So for me the highlight of this second weekend was the Tricolour Guard reception and dinner. This year, so many senior alumni were delighted to return that our dinner was overcapacity. Some classes – Sc’63 and Meds’58 among them – were especially well represented. I met one of our Rhodes Scholars, and many other alumni who were active on campus in their day. Our oldest returning alumna this year was Katherine Ferguson, Arts’39, of Ottawa. Katherine says she’s looking forward to attending her 75th reunion in 2014. Now, that’s Tricolour spirit.
As a side note, for those who aren’t able to make it back to campus to take in Gaels’ games, the QUAA is delighted to announce a partnership with Queen’s Athletics and Recreation and Queen’s TV to stream live all home football, men’s and women’s basketball, and men’s and women’s volleyball games for the 2013-14 season. So you never have to miss the Gaels action. Check out GoGaelsGo.com to take in all the action.
Without many hours of work by dedicated alumni, staff, and students – and a nod from Principal Woolf – we wouldn’t have had a chance to “come home” this fall. Without the nearly two years of background work by the Homecoming Working Group, involving more than 50 meetings with local stakeholders, on and off campus, and then the diligent efforts by the Homecoming Program Committee, and the fabulous staff of Alumni Relations, these two amazing, well-run, fun, and well-attended weekends couldn’t have happened. Thank you for providing an opportunity for alumni to return to see old friends, meet new ones, enjoy Kingston, and show their Tricolour spirit on campus.
A heartfelt thanks, too, to students – or “future alumni,“ as I like to call them – and especially the student leaders of the AMS, SGPS, QSAA, and the Rector for helping put the focus on alumni celebrations, and staying off a certain infamous street. With two such positive weekends, the QUAA is excited to begin look forward to future Homecomings.
The half-time alumni parade around the track at the Gaels’ football games was just one of the many popular traditions reborn at Homecoming’13.
Without many hours of work by dedicated alumni, staff, and students – and a nod from Principal Woolf – we wouldn’t have had a chance to “come home” this fall.