Alumni return for Homecoming

Kelsey Ruane

At last weekend’s Homecoming festivities, the Alumni Association strove to make the atmosphere family friendly and emphasize the importance of the Annual Fund, while making sure the celebration ran smoothly despite the inclement weather.

“Homecoming is a long-standing tradition at Villanova,” said Gary Olsen, associate vice president and executive director for the Alumni Association. “It’s a time for alumni to renew their connection to the University, to friends and classmates and to support our football team.”

Events included the Alumni Family Picnic, the football game vs. the University of Rhode Island and the men’s basketball team blue and white scrimmage on Oct. 24.

The Office of Admission Legacy Day took place on Oct. 25 for alumni with children who are prospective students.

Hoops Mania, an event geared toward current students, took place on Oct. 23 in conjunction with the homecoming celebration.

The program of events has not changed much in recent years.

The Alumni Family Picnic, which was moved to the Pavilion due to rain, is traditionally one of the weekend’s largest events.

Just over 3,000 people attended this year. Last year’s picnic saw about 3,500 attendees.

The weekend’s turnout has been consistent and not dependent on the success of the football team from year to year, according to Olsen, who added that the alumni are very supportive.

However, attendance at the game on Saturday was 5,517 – the lowest it has been all year. The inclement weather was certainly a factor, though Villanova won 36-7.

Each Homecoming weekend celebrates a five year class reunion. This year, members of the class of 2004 had their own gathering at the Alumni Family Picnic.

The turnout for more recent alumni has been low at the formal alumni weekend in the spring, so they made the special five year reunion a Homecoming event, according to Olsen.

“Homecoming is a popular event for our younger graduates – those from the last 10 years,” Olsen said.

The Alumni Association made a new effort this year to emphasize the importance of contributing to the Annual Fund, or giving program, which supports everything from student financial aid to new student and academic programs, according to Olsen.

“Our current giving percentage of 17 percent is well below institutions such as Bucknell, Georgetown and Boston College,” Olsen said. “Events like Homecoming give us the opportunity to support the Annual Fund and to emphasize that each gift of any amount is both important and appreciated.”

The giving percentage at institutions like Bucknell, Georgetown and Boston College ranges from 25 to 30 percent.

The weekend’s events were coordinated by the Alumni Association in conjunction with the Athletics Department, Facilities Services, Public Safety, Student Life, Dining Services and University Advancement.