Homecoming 2017: ProfHistoric!

Homecoming 2017: ProfHistoric!

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It promises to be the busiest Homecoming week in Rowan University history.

That makes sense considering that the theme of this year’s weeklong celebration, Oct. 9-15, is…well…ProfHistoric.

“The theme gives us the opportunity to celebrate the University’s history and its many milestones,” says Chris D’Angelo, Rowan’s director of alumni engagement.

“Homecoming is a great chance for a lot of different generations of Rowan alumni to come together and reflect on their shared experiences. Even with all of the changes to our campus, the student experience remains very, very similar. There’s a shared community feeling whether you graduated 10 years ago or 40.”

There’s much to celebrate, D’Angelo notes. From the opening of new academic buildings for engineering and business to the construction of Holly Pointe Commons, a new residence hall for underclassmen, to new construction and new businesses on Rowan Boulevard, Rowan’s Glassboro campus has changed significantly in the last couple of years.

Add in the $25 million gift from alumni Jean and Ric Edelman last October for the Jean & Ric Edelman Fossil Park at Rowan University, the 50th anniversary of the Hollybush Summit between President Lyndon B. Johnson and Soviet Premier Alexei Kosygin on Rowan’s campus, and the 25th anniversary of the transformative $100 million gift to the institution from Henry and Betty Rowan and there’s even more reason to be #RowanPROUD, D’Angelo adds.

The 30-member Homecoming committee, which includes representation from offices throughout campus, is working to ensure that everyone in the Rowan community—alumni, students, and employees—has the opportunity to celebrate all things Rowan.

For students, that means a week of activities that begins with Rowan traditions, such as the banner, parade and float, spirit, push cart, lip sync, and Battleship competitions. But students also are excited to connect with alumni and to show the changes to campus, says junior education major Kaitlee Francisco, a member of the Student Alumni Association.

“The alumni I’ve met are excited for us. They’re happy for today’s students and they see that students now are getting an even richer experience than they did,” says Francisco, one of three siblings currently studying at the University.

“I love the opportunities that Rowan provides to students. I’m really Rowan proud. I have brown and gold shooting from my eyeballs.”

Multiple reunions

According to D’Angelo, the University will host multiple reunions this year. A black alumni and friends reunion is planned. Additionally, the classes of 1962, 1967, and 2007 all will have milestone gatherings.

The Friday night block party and the Saturday alumni tent, tailgate celebration, step show and college corner—all Rowan Homecoming traditions—will continue this year. Additions to the celebration include bus tours of campus for alumni, a Friday dig day at the Edelman Fossil Park, and the collection of donations for The SHOP (Students Helping Other Profs), Rowan’s food pantry for students struggling with food insecurity.

“Alumni have told us they want to experience more while they’re back on campus,” says D’Angelo. “There’s a lot of fun in seeing alumni enjoy the changes to campus.

“Our goal is to make sure the experiences of our alumni are unique every year,” he continues. “We want their Homecoming experience to be memorable.”

To that end, College of Education graduate student Carly Samuels, one of three Homecoming co-chairs, is the analytics guru for Homecoming events. She’s in charge of gathering survey results and other assessments so that the annual celebration can better address the wants and needs of Homecoming guests.

“I’m super excited about the analytics,” says Samuels. “We’re hoping to better capture attendance per event and to have better survey results. I love being part of something where the whole campus comes together. Everyone shows up. I love seeing everyone’s enjoyment of Homecoming.”

Homecoming is sponsored by the Chamberlain Student Center & Student Activities, which plans all student events, and the Office of Alumni Engagement, which hosts all alumni events.