New Homecoming Weekend Events Bring 900 Alums to Campus


For Homecoming 2013, the Alumni Relations Office oversaw and managed the wide range of events as it partnered with a diverse group of offices and departments across campus. In previous years, Homecoming operated as a time for the gathering of alumni, parents and students, but it lacked the coordination and organization of this year’s events.

 The Office of Alumni Relations sought to capitalize on the opportunities of this weekend to make it more comprehensive, valuable, and enjoyable for all those involved. These included Africana, Latin American, Asian American and Native American (ALANA) Cultural Center, the Athletics Department, Campus Safety, the Center for Career Services, the Center for Leadership and Student Involvement, Colgate Activities Board, Colgate Annual Fund, Konosioni Honor Society, Maroon Council, Office of Special Events, Parents’ Fund, Presidents’ Club and Paul J. Schupf ’58.

“We recognized how great a weekend Homecoming is, and we realized we needed to think more strategically about it,” Associate Vice President of Institutional Advancement and Director of Alumni Relations Tim Mansfield said. “Starting last spring, the Office of Alumni Relations was able to take the lead on coordinating and bringing together many different departments with different interests, to make sure all events and activities were represented in the most effective way.”

The Alumni Relations Office set a goal to recruit 500 alumni to campus, and to get these alumni to register for the event. Once registered, the alumni would get a football ticket, a t-shirt and information on places to stay such as Raider Park, a campsite on Whitnall Field, or a block of rooms reserved at hotels near Turning Stone. The Alumni Office far exceeded its goal, with over 900 total alumni, parents and guests registered.

The weekend kicked off Thursday night with a barbeque on the academic quad, a lecture by “New York Times”-bestselling author Keith Ferrazzi in the Memorial Chapel and Senior Night at the Palace Theater. Career Services integrated this weekend into its Real World Series for Seniors, taking advantage of the presence of alumni gathering on campus. On Friday, several offices, including the Center for Career Services and President’s Club, organized an Emerging Leaders Luncheon, bringing together students and alumni for a networking opportunity.

Friday night launched an atmosphere of Raider spirit with a bonfire and pep rally with athletic teams, cheerleaders and Colgate Pep band, as well as a concert and fireworks on Whitnall Field.

Among other morning events, students, alumni and faculty came together at 11 a.m. with a tailgate at Van Doren Field. Unlike other years, the Office of Alumni Relations organized the tailgate so that it was no longer a haphazard gathering of associations.

Alumni Relations worked with twelve groups – Andy Brummer, Kappa Kappa Gamma, Theta Chi, Sigma Chi, AOC/ALANA, Maroon Council, Phi Delta Theta, Crease Club, President’s Club, Class of 2014, Hardwood Club and Women’s Lacrosse – to set up tents on the stretch of land between Van Doren Field and the Dunlap stands. The office blocked off the location, notified the proper alumni about their respective tents and supplied tables and garbage cans.

“We wanted to make it easy and functional for students, alumni and parents to be together while recognizing that this weekend is as much an important weekend for current students as it is for alumni,” Mansfield said. “With the tents in the same place, we hoped that it would operate as one large tent community.”

After reflecting on the differences of this year’s Homecoming, alumnae Morgan Roth ’13 appreciated the new changes.

“The set up of the tailgate was an improvement on the past two years,” Roth said. “I thought that the tailgate seemed more organized and centralized, allowing for alumni to see lots of different people…I also liked that the groups were simultaneously able to have their

own space.”

The town of Hamilton also took part in the weekend, with the Chocolate Train Festival in town.

The weekend came to a close on Sunday with the “Shaping your Vision” program that allowed students of color to connect with alumni of color for professional development, sponsored by Career Services, Colgate Alumni of Color and the ALANA Cultural Center. This is an event that happens every year, but it was decided it would be more effective and useful to hold it during Homecoming Weekend like many of the other networking events.

The greater coordination and effort for the weekend also necessitated the need for a larger budget.

“We needed new ways to support the weekend, and each of the sponsoring departments had some financial stake in the Weekend,” Mansfield said. “Each department had to dig deeper for money to ensure its success.”

Contact Hannah Fuchs at [email protected].