The unseasonably warm weather didn’t hurt. The fact that DU athletes owned the weekend didn’t hurt either. But DU’s Homecoming Weekend was a masterful event with food, events, and sports for DU family, friends, and alumni. It showed what DU can be when all the DU pieces are put together, showcased and celebrated.
This event was important – and more than just a once-a-year social event. This was a chance to bring people together in something that is bigger than the sum of its parts. We have talked about soft attendance at DU athletic events and Chancellor Chopp envisions a more active campus with a lively ‘DU District’ in the heart of south Denver. This year’s homecoming gave us a glimpse of what DU can be.
The DU Alumni relations team should be congratulated for pulling off the best homecoming weekend ever. There was something for everyone from book lovers to unstructured campus strolls on a beautiful fall weekend. The weekend featured collaboration between the DU’s Alumni organization, the athletic department, and showcased some new facilities and new priorities for DU – the opening of the Daniel Felix Ritchie Engineering and Computer Science building and the opening of the Knoebel Institute for Healthy Aging. Social gatherings, including Oktoberfest and Taste of DU, were packed with families at a great value – offering more food and drink than nearly any attendee could consume.
And the parents. After making what for most families is a major sacrifice for their children’s education, they could put a face to their sacrifice – “This is THE perfect place for my kid.”. The parents I talked to were delighted with the weekend and offer up the prospect of becoming advocates for a DU education to other students and parents.
As for athletics, all the venues were nearly full (technically) and the crimson and gold jerseys all exited the weekend with victories. And there was a buzz around the courts, fields, and ice. All Pioneer squads were vying for either national ranking and/or NCAA Tournament positioning. The 23-time NCAA championship ski team came out in skates at Magness during Friday’s first hockey intermission to add another year to the Skiing national championships banner – and extend their reputation as the NCAA’s most accomplished program.
There is a lot to feel good about.
If you didn’t make it, you missed one of the best DU weekends ever. Whether you live on the front range or reside in a far away place, plan on coming out to Denver for next year’s homecoming. Or, look at other ways to reconnect sooner. It’s worth it.