Editor’s Column: Making the Most of Homecoming

Homecoming 2014 brought the usual rounds of pre-game tailgate tents, fraternity parties, club reunions and, of course, unlimited networking opportunities with Colgate’s finest alumni. As much as I didn’t enjoy my two roommates barging into my room on Friday and pouncing (rather aggressively) on me to wake me from my nap, I do owe them for making sure I got the most out of my Homecoming weekend. I hope you did the same and were able to enjoy all of Colgate’s festivities, but if for some reason you missed out, I can provide a brief recap of what you missed – most importantly, the opportunity to meet some of our most loyal and generous alumni.

Beginning Friday afternoon with a luncheon for juniors and seniors organized by Career Services and the Presidents’ Club, Colgate hosted a variety of events for current students and alumni to connect with one another over the weekend. Over 200 students attended a luncheon at the Hall of Presidents where they had the opportunity to meet about 135 alumni, faculty and staff from different career fields, including business services, the entertainment industry and health and wellness professions. The class years of returning alumni varied, but I found it especially interesting to reconnect with recent graduates who are currently transforming their liberal arts degrees into meaningful employment or volunteer experiences in the real world. I’m pleased to report that based on the alumni I chatted with, all seem to be thriving with great success. For those seniors out there still trying to figure out what lies ahead, try giving the Career Services hotline a call. Crises (hopefully) averted.

The luncheon on Friday served as the official launch of Colgate’s eight professional networks that were formed with the intention of engaging parents, alumni and current students in various career fields, providing them with beneficial networking resources to advance themselves professionally. The conversations at the luncheon were definitely focused on career path options and future goals, but another common topic was the mutual love of this place we all call home. I think I almost stumped a Class of ’07 alumnus when I asked him about his favorite part of his years as a Colgate student. The delay in his response was overwhelming, but his final answer said it all: “What’s not to love?!”

Friday afternoon continued with mock interviews offered by 19 alumni at Career Services as part of the “Real World” Series for current seniors. As many seniors are quickly realizing, the prospect of life beyond Colgate can be daunting. However, our alumni recognize this fact, and many are doing their best to ensure that future Colgate graduates are fully prepared to join the workforce as they launch their post-Colgate life with focused energy and enthusiasm.

Colgate’s alumni network is one of the strongest among selective liberal arts colleges in the U.S.  However, it is unclear what force motivates this network to be so supportive.  Perhaps it is an appreciation that the best years of their lives were spent here at Colgate. Maybe it was the experience of an undisputed world class education or the nurturing friendships that will be cherished throughout their lifetime. 

Or it might be the blurred visions and memories of undergraduate fraturdays, formals and fun, which could explain why Saturday evening was when the real Colgate-style networking began.

Getting an alumnus’ work email at the Jug? Priceless.

Following up? TBD…