Bluejay spirits were high despite gloomy weather as more than 1,000 alumni, friends and families gathered on the Elmhurst College campus for Homecoming and Family Day 2013.
Held the weekend of October 3–6, the event featured receptions, class reunions, a theatre production, tailgating parties and a rousing football game against archrival North Central College.
After an extensive weather-related delay, the football game ended in a 31-14 Bluejay loss. “Even with the rain, we still had a lot of people out there,” said Alex DeFranco ’14, an interdisciplinary communications major and Union Board spirit chair. “This year, out of all the years I’ve been here, it felt like everyone really made the effort to go to the game and tailgate.”
The festivities began with a Homecoming Kick-Off Celebration honoring faculty, alumni and former student athletes.
Ross Kellan won the faculty merit award for his contributions to the music department. Bill Batte ’63, Barry Warren ’67 and David Cuomo ’10 received Alumni Merit Awards. And the Bluejay Backer Hall of Fame inducted wrestler Jeff Kastel ’08, golfer Kim Merrifield ’00, and softball player Stephanie Schuda ’00.
“I’m struck by the continuity of the past—people who have come to share this day with us—and the present and future,” President S. Alan Ray said at the Kick-Off Celebration.
Reunions took center stage during the weekend, with gatherings for athletes, choir alumni, Niebuhr Center alumni and former education majors, among others. More than 40 members of the Class of 1963 were on hand to celebrate their 50th reunion, and nearly 60 guests attended the Fifty-Year Club Induction dinner on Saturday evening.
New this year at Homecoming was Campuspalooza, an opportunity for families and alumni to mingle and learn about the activities and achievements of today’s student organizations. Other activities included a spirit competition for current students; a Family Day Casino Night for students, families and alumni; and an all-new Parent Breakfast on Saturday morning attended by nearly 100 people.
Carla Canham ’10 was one of many alumni who reconnected with classmates and faculty at major-specific reunions. At a gathering for former English majors, she said she makes a point of attending Homecoming every year. “I don’t want to be a student again, but I do miss it sometimes,” she said. “It’s an entirely different experience being in the real world.”
Carol Salerno-Sir ’69, who came to Homecoming with her husband, Bill Sir ’64, and their friend, Ralph Cooper ’64, said she attends Homecoming every year to stay in touch with her alma mater.
“Elmhurst College promoted camaraderie, loyalty, and friendship,” Salerno-Sir said. “You created a little family while you were away from home. And it’s always good to come back and see family.”