Alumni Come Home


By Muhammed Alabdullah

University of Utah alumni from 1978 and before will make their way back to campus soon. The Emeritus Alumni Reunion and 2018 reception will be held during homecoming week on Tuesday, Oct. 16 at 5:30 p.m. in the Cleone Peterson Eccles Alumni House.

In high school, homecoming week is all about football and the homecoming dance. Here at the U, football is still in the mix but the big stars of the week are past students.

This annual event will feature a catered dinner and a lecture from Mark Harlan. The new U athletics director will speak on his experiences. Harlan was given the title on Jul. 1. The previous athletic director was Chris Hill, who recently retired.

Nanette Richard, director of alumni relations, has been involved with the organization for over two decades. Her extensive experience at the Alumni Association has made reunions and opportunities for U alumni possible.

With Richard’s organization, alumni have been able to reconnect with the U and its ever-changing community. She sees this as important because a shared experience is the foundation of all schools. Founded in 1886 by a small group of teaching alumni, the U’s Alumni Association (UUAA) works to bring together generations of U students.

“Early objectives included establishing regional alumni clubs, publishing a directory of all graduates, sponsoring class reunions every five years, publishing a magazine for alumni and establishing an annual alumni-giving plan,” the UUAA website states.

The goal that this small group set out to achieve was to promote general interest in education and strengthen ties within the U community.

“The University of Utah Alumni Association provides ways for alumni to connect with one another, engage in fun and rewarding activities, foster education and advance their careers,” reads the website.

After more than 100 years of involvement with the U, the UUAA continues to develop programs and ways to help alumni and students. The biggest alumni gatherings happen during Homecoming Week in mid-October.

Filled with tradition, Homecoming Week is a time that all generations of students can look forward to. There, people can find a valuable and memorable experience by being together and celebrating what it means to be a part of this school. Alumni attending the Emeritus Reunion are students who earned their degrees well before the majority of current students were even born.

The UUAA now plays a unique role in the university community as a bridge that connects the U’s local, national and international alumni. The UUAA also helps organize charity events, community service projects, scholarship fundraising and works with the government to connect the school with other universities around the world.

A membership to the UUAA comes with perks such as access to career services and alumni events. There are also publications like Continuum magazine and the Alumni Connection e-Newsletter. Additionally, there are various discounts around campus from the bookstore to ballet shows. There is access to gyms and a chance to engage with the community not only on campus, but at local performances such as those put on by the Repertory Dance Theatre.

As the U welcomes back the students from decades ago, the reunion is not the only Homecoming Week event, and the events are not restricted to emeritus alumni. Current students and more recent graduates are welcome to join.

Friday, Sept. 28, was a scholarship scramble and the annual golf tournament. Monday, Oct. 15, is a student scavenger hunt. Tuesday, Oct. 16, is Greek Row house decorating. Wednesday, Oct. 17, is a safety day and basketball event. Thursday, Oct. 18, is Songfest and a movie night where attendees will watch “Remember the Titans” with football coach Kyle Whittingham. Friday, Oct. 19, is Crimson Nights Haunted Homecoming. Saturday, Oct. 20, is the scholarship 5K and kids 1K. Finally, the U’s homecoming game is on Saturday, Oct. 20, against the University of Southern California.

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