Family Weekend & Homecoming highlights the best of Willamette

by Paul McKean ’11,

  • two individuals take a selfie at homecoming
  • Three people chat at the hall of fame event
  • A group of hall of fame awardees pose together on the football field at half time
  • Jim Booth chats with hall of fame guests
  • Three guests at hall of fame event
  • A group of alumni at the homecoming tailgate
  • A group of attendees at hall of fame
  • A group attends homecoming tailgate
  • A speaker introduces a hall of fame winner
  • A person sits outside at the homecoming tailgate
  • A group enjoys homecoming
  • Three people staff the check-in table at
  • attendees sit under the homecoming tailgate tent
  • A football player stands next to a person holding a sign "#5 on the field but #1 in my heart!"

Families, alumni return to campus to celebrate athletic, artistic and academic excellence.

Willamette bustled with activity last weekend as it celebrated present, past and future Bearcats during its annual Family Weekend & Homecoming festivities.

Nearly 1,000 visitors enjoyed a beautiful fall weekend on campus, which included a comedy show, Zenafest, a trivia night, choral and jazz performances and Willamette Theatre’s production of “Men on Boats.” The Alumni Board of Directors and the Parent Leadership Council also convened to plan for the coming year.

Visitors had the chance to return to the classroom for “Mini University” sessions on varied topics ranging from the mysteries of the Big Bang to mental health and math games. One session featured Ron Sticka ’69, who spoke passionately about using music and art as therapy for foster children and veterans with PTSD.

Thirteen exemplary athletes representing nearly 60 years of Bearcat history were inducted into the Willamette Athletic Hall of Fame. Former Willamette Sports Information Director Cliff Voliva was also inducted, as well as the 1983 women’s swimming team and the 1993 men’s tennis team.

Later in the day, over 400 alumni, students and families cheered on the football team while enjoying a delicious spread of barbecue at the Homecoming tailgate. Although the Bearcats came up short against Pacific University, the spirited engagement of Willamette fans made for an enjoyable fall afternoon.

“Homecoming & Family Weekend is a signature event for our whole community,” says Tyler Reich ‘06, associate vice president for university relations. “This is a special time for Bearcats to connect and enjoy all that Willamette has to offer.”

Reich and Associate Director of Student Activities Emily Morris thank everyone on campus who helped make the weekend a success. Special appreciation goes to Family Weekend Coordinator Gray Gautereaux ’20 and Associate Director of Alumni and Parent Engagement Kim Burris for their hard work.

Next year’s event is already set for Oct. 2-4, 2020 and registration will open next August.

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