What to Expect
John Blashke, Staff Writer
The most highly anticipated football game of the season for schools across the country is the immortal homecoming game, and Utica College is no exception.
This year, Utica College is taking on Morrisville State College at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 18 in the Charles Gaetano Stadium. Despite UC football being the biggest draw for that weekend, there are plenty of other reasons why alumni, community members and students flock to campus for Homecoming weekend.
Homecoming weekend puts a major focus on alumni and is a great opportunity to network with fellow alumni or connect with friends who have graduated. For most alumni, it is an opportunity to reminisce and give back to the school while having a good time.
Mark Kovacs, executive director of alumni and parent relations and chair of the Homecoming Committee, has been organizing large portions of the weekend for over five years.
“The number one reason why people come back as an alumnus is because they want to see people again–they want to connect,” Kovacs said. “When you go to register online for homecoming you can scroll through the people already pre-registered and see those names you may not have seen in so many years.”
When Kovacs first took on his current position, he remembered how former Utica College President Todd Hutton told him how he would like to see homecoming become a signature event for the whole campus.
“What I’ve loved and enjoyed watching is how anybody who is a family member of Utica College can come together for that one weekend and celebrate what everyone has in common, an affinity for Utica College,” Kovacs said.
An online sign-up form allows students, alumni and parents to see who is registered for the different homecoming events. This enhances opportunities to connect with friends and other members of an alumni’s graduating class.
There are many classes and organizations on campus celebrating significant anniversaries this year. President Laura Casamento is hosting the Golden Pioneer Luncheon for the classes of ‘49, ‘54, ‘59, ‘64 and ‘69. At the tailgate under the big tent in Parking Lot A, HEOP/C-STEP alumni/students will be celebrating their program’s 50th anniversary. The Black Alumni Association and the Black Student Union will be celebrating 50 years. Alpha Phi Delta Fraternity and Beta Iota Chapter celebrate 70 years. Phi Beta Sigma Incorporated and Omicron Alpha Chapter celebrate 35 years, as well as the classes of 1979, 1994, 2009 and 2014.
The football game is not the only big game that weekend. On Friday, Oct. 17, the swimming and diving alumni meet races at 5 p.m. Men’s lacrosse is playing at 7 p.m. on Saturday, while women’s lacrosse plays at 11 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 19. Women’s Water Polo has an alumni scrimmage at 11 a.m. on Sunday.
The Carnival Under the Stars from 8 p.m. to midnight on Friday, Oct. 17. Prizes and raffles will be offered to those that attend, and there will be free live entertainment from country rock band Broseph starting at 8:30 p.m. The Pioneer Pub will also host a cash bar starting at 9 p.m.
On Saturday, the party continues throughout the night after the tailgate. Mentalist duo The Evasons will have a mind boggling performance. The event is free with doors opening at 6:45 p.m. and the show going on from 7 to 8:15 p.m. in the Strebel Auditorium. For the adult crowd, there is the annual Varick Street Pub Crawl from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m., as well as the “For the Culture” dance party in the Strebel Lounge from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Beatrice “Bee” Ewing is a sophomore at Utica College and she echoes the former president about the overarching goal of homecoming.
“I’m really looking forward to seeing how homecoming brings all groups of people together,” Ewing said. “We’re all in one place for one reason and we’re all excited about that bonding experience.”