Families and alumni celebrate the Willamette community

by Daniel Johnson,

  • Blitz the Bearcat cheers in front of the stands at a football game
  • Fans stand in the football stadium cheering
  • Bearcat football player cuts to his right while holding the ball to dodge a defensive player
  • Two people smile and laugh amid the Bearcat fans at a football game
  • Willamette Cheer team waves pompoms before the crowd at a football game
  • A fan in Bearcat attire smiles at cheers among the crowd at a soccer game
  • A soccer player kicks the ball
  • A football play with helmet removed, smiles on the sidelines
  • A child smiles with a unicorn painted in makeup on her forehead
  • A fan gives a thumbs up from the sideline of the soccer field
  • People converse at while sitting at a table
  • Two people visit at a picnic table
  • A father throws a football to his Bearcat son who is warming up for the game
  • A fan stands dressed in cardinal
  • A student and parent hug
  • People conversing and smiling while sitting at a picnic table
  • Fans cheer in the football stands
  • Fans visit while eating at a picnic table
  • A Bearcat fan stands cheering with arm outstretched among a bunch of sitting fans

Family Weekend and Homecoming combine for action-packed days of entertainment, commemoration and fun.

Willamette University’s offices of student activities and alumni and parent engagement teamed up last weekend to host Family Weekend and Homecoming for the first time. Approximately 1,200 parents, family members and alumni were on campus to celebrate Willamette’s students while giving parents a glimpse of the college experience.

The action-packed weekend featured a variety of activities, some of which included “Mini-University Sessions,” a hike at Silver Falls State Park, a stand-up comedy show, Willamette Theatre’s production of “Dead City,” music concerts, a parents’ reception, home games for women’s volleyball and soccer, and the traditional tailgate party before the Bearcats’ homecoming football game versus George Fox University.

Although the Bearcats fell to the Bruins 28–6, there was much to celebrate at the Athletics Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony the night before. Willamette welcomed 18 Bearcats — including longtime swimming coach Skip Kenitzer and 2008 NCAA Division III Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year Sarah Zerzan ’08 — into its most exclusive athletics’ club. The 1974 and 1975 national champion handball teams were also inducted.

“Seeing Bearcats of all ages and interests having fun and connecting is exactly what we’d hoped for when we combined these signature events,” says Tyler Reich ’06, associate vice president for university relations. “We’re excited to build upon this year’s success to make next year’s event even better.”

Reich and Associate Director of Student Activities Emily Morris offer their thanks to everyone across campus who made the weekend a success. They extend special thanks to Family Weekend Coordinator Grace Gautereaux ’20 and the many student volunteers, Tony Perez and the facilities staff, and the teams of employees in student activities, athletics and alumni and parent engagement.

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