Proud Profs go “Back to the Future” for Homecoming 2015 (Photo gallery)

Proud Profs go “Back to the Future” for Homecoming 2015 (Photo gallery)


After a whirlwind week of events and activities that united students, alumni and community members, Rowan University’s 2015 Homecoming celebration came down to one thing: Proud Profs connecting with each other--and with the campus they love.

Here are some of their stories.

Brotherly love

In the span of two minutes, James Moore ’96 (Education) collected seven hugs. Big, heartfelt, back-slapping, “so-good-to-see-you” hugs.

Absent from Homecoming the last two years, Moore, a teacher at Camden High School, couldn’t get enough hugs from his Omega Psi Phi brothers in the tailgate area near Coach Richard Wackar Stadium. There, music and barbecue smoke filled the air as alumni from a host of sororities and fraternities—and a number of student organizations—reconnected for fun, fellowship and more than a little mentoring.

Moore said he carries the lessons he learned at Rowan every day in his work with young people. He learned from the best, he said.

“Keith Dickens. And the late, great, Gary Hunter,” he said. Dickens is Rowan’s current assistant director of admissions. Hunter was a popular history professor who passed away in an automobile accident in 2003.

With that, Moore excused himself, making a beeline for yet another fraternity brother…and another bear hug.

Profs on parade

As current Rowan students presented their floats reflecting Homecoming’s “Back to the Future” theme for a distinguished panel of judges, many alumni got front-row seats for the singing, dancing and acting. The Homecoming parade is one of Rowan’s most cherished traditions and includes student groups competing in float, banner and spirit competitions.

The “Back to the Future” theme resonated with Kerri (May) Pelletier ’09 and her husband, Richard ’06, both Chemical Engineering alumni.

The Townsend, Del., couple were juggling son Richard III, four months, and baby paraphernalia in Parking Lot D as cars and floats passed the review stand.

Tradition brings them back to campus in October, Richard said.

“We do this every year, mainly for our fraternity and sorority.”

Potential drew them this year as well. They wanted Baby Richard, they said, to “see his future college.”

You’re a Prof, too?

Melissa (Pileiro) ’11 (Journalism) and Brian Arnold ’11 (Physics and Math) traveled to Homecoming from Stony Brook, N.Y., where Brian is in a doctoral program in physics at Stony Brook University and Melissa is a freelance writer.

In the huge Alumni Tent, which drew more than 2,000 alumni and guests, the Arnolds noshed on sandwiches and pie, taking in the vibe. A childhood friend also joined them.

“The highlight has been getting to reconnect with people who didn’t graduate with me, who I haven’t seen for years, who I didn’t even know graduated from Rowan – like my high school drama teacher,” Melissa said.

In addition to the Alumni Tent, Rowan athletics hosted an Athletics Alumni Tent for former Prof athletes and their families.

College Corner

In College Corner, each of Rowan’s colleges joined with the Student Alumni Association to roll out the red carpet for Homecoming attendees. Representatives from the colleges presented games for children, held giveaway contests and greeted alumni and their guests with genuine gusto.

At the College of Performing Arts tent, junior Rachel Johns, a music education/instrumental music major and first violinist in the Rowan University Orchestra, gave quick lessons on playing the violin at the college’s “instrument petting zoo.” Guided by students and faculty, children tried the violin, French horn, flute and trumpet at the tent—and received information about Rowan’s many programs for children and teens.

“I love working with young kids,” Johns said. “I think everyone should learn music.”

Johns even performed a bit, playing “Irish Washer Woman” on request for Deb Travers ’04 (Education) and her daughter, Rebecca, 9, who also tried her hand at the violin.

“We’re having a real blast,” Travers said. “We’re very impressed.”

Being Doc Brown

In his white wig and lab coat, junior Tyler Waddington certainly looked the part of Doc Brown, the scientist who builds a time traveling machine out of DeLorean in “Back to the Future.”

But portraying the beloved character from the 1985 movie was daunting, said Waddington, an electrical engineering major. Waddington had the honor of being Brown at the second annual Homecoming Block Party, which drew 2,600 community members, alumni and students to Rowan Boulevard.

Throughout the evening, Waddington and mechanical engineering major Bobby Samuels, who was Marty McFly, the movie's main character, greeted folks and posed for photos alongside a real DeLorean. The Friday night block party included food, entertainment, games, a fire pit, vendors, and a beer garden.

“He’s a really, really cool guy and such a beloved character to me,” said Waddington, who admitted that he was intent on doing justice to Doc Brown.

“He’s the ultimate scientist. He’s wicked smart. He has a good heart. And he saw his life’s work come to fruition. I tried to capture the vibe of how he would feel and what he would do.”

About Homecoming

Homecoming Week ran Oct. 12-17. Record numbers of students participated in the banner, push cart, Battleship, Lip Sync, float, and spirit competitions, which led up to Saturday’s Homecoming Parade, the activities around the Alumni Tent and College Row, and the annual Homecoming football game, among other events.

The Profs football team, now 5-1, put on a show, defeating Southern Virginia, 59-0. Alumni were able to enjoy all of the on-the-field action from a beer garden set up for Homecoming near the end zone.

During halftime, Diane Mazzei '69 M’80 was honored as this year’s Alumni Ambassador recipient, football players from the 1990s were honored, and the winners of the week's many compeittions received their trophies.