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Good Times, Great Weather, and a Record Alumni Turnout on Campus for Homecoming 2008

Posted September 26, 2008

gbear80sgrads.gifMore than 700 alumni and their guests enjoyed the bright autumn sun—along with a plethora of activities—during Homecoming on September 20 as attendees reunited for a memorable day of catching up with old friends. View Photo Album 1. View Photo Album 2.

The College hosted visitors from around the country, coming from Florida, Arizona, California, New England, Maryland, Ohio, New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Texas, and New York. Many of them saw the unveiling of the Golden Bear’s new costume (pictured) during halftime activities at the football game. The costume was funded in part by a $2,500 grant from the Alumni Association.

Hanging out with Golden Bear in the photo are (L-R) John Drost ’88/L’91; Amy Lewis ’88/G’88, Trustee and former Alumni Association president; Sarah (Sweet) McCarthy ’88, Ray McCarthy ’86, and Keith Kinsella ’88.

New at Homecoming this year was a bull riding simulator for all guests brave enough to get in the saddle and a raffle drawing for those who pre-registered. Top prizewinners were Tara Cushman ’06 (iPod) and Ryan Kravontka ’08 (digital camera).

Highlights included reunions for the Class of 1968 and the Class of 1988. Members of the Class of ’68 gathered for a photo at The Rock to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the boulder’s arrival at the College. The Rock was deposited here as a senior prank and has been a message board and a campus icon ever since. “I get goose bumps when I see The Rock,” reminisced Karl Jurgen ’68, one of the main perpetrators of caper. “It brings back memories of zany times.”

Members of the Class of 1988, who were celebrating their 20th reunion, marveled at how quickly time seemed to fly by. “It doesn’t seem like 20 years,” said Kathy DeBoul ’88. Classmate Marilyn Gorman Fil ’88 has attended countless Homecoming Weekends—ever since she was a child—because her father, Phil Gorman ’80, electrical lab supervisor in the School of Engineering, also graduated from the College. “I grew up with the College,” she said. Her brothers Paul Gorman ’89 and Kevin Gorman ’91 are also alumni.

Homecoming Weekend also included a hypnotist performance, a concert by the country band Emerson Drive, music from WNEK-FM, children’s activities, a full slate of athletic contests, tours of campus, food and hospitality tents, and various reunions, such as the Golden Graduates, the School of Engineering, the School of Business, the School of Arts and Sciences, and U&ME (United and Mutually Equal).

On Friday night the Skookum Awards Dinner took place, recognizing student excellence in co-curricular activities, athletics, volunteer work, and community service. Friday’s inductees to the Downes Hall of Fame were Bill Porter ’90 (men’s basketball), Marcie Bruder ’03 (softball), Women’s Soccer Coach Ron Dias, and the 2003 Softball Team. U&ME held its Reunion and Dinner Dance on Saturday night and a brunch on Sunday.

Alumni from the football, baseball, men’s soccer, and women’s soccer teams also reunited with scrimmage games and other events. “It was great to see all the players,” said former women’s soccer player Kate Farry ’02/G’04 after her alumni game. “What I like about Homecoming is that you get to see the people you don’t see too often any more. After you graduate, you get a job, you have kids, and life gets busy. This weekend gives us a chance to reconnect.”


Western New England University is a private, independent, coeducational institution founded in 1919. Located on an attractive 215-acre suburban campus in Springfield, Massachusetts, Western New England University serves 3,955 students, including 2,575 full-time undergraduate students. Undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs are offered through Colleges of Arts and Sciences, Business, Engineering, and Pharmacy, and School of Law.


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