As this week draws to a close, the campus population is expected to swell as over 1,000 alumni and their families make the trip to Galesburg for Knox’s Homecoming. This weekend is an opportunity for former students to get back together again, visit their old hangout spots, and mingle with current students and faculty. The college also uses this weekend as an opportunity to thank alumni for their donations and commitment to Knox. This year, Homecoming has a little bit of something for everyone.
“Homecoming is a very big tradition here,” said Director of Alumni and Constituent Programs Carol Brown. “It seems to become more popular each year.”
The Alumni Association begins planning for Homecoming weekend in March, and sends out a list of scheduled events to alumni in the summer. Educational lectures are a major part of the schedule because they allow faculty and alumni to share their research. Several Knox clubs and organizations hold receptions for their alumni in order to form connections between the generations.
“There’s not as much mingling as there used to be, but it gives students a chance to talk to alumni,” said President Roger Taylor. “It could help students after they graduate, get a job or go to graduate school.”
This year there are also reunions for class years ending in the numbers eight and three, as well as events planned to honor alumni who have made contributions to Knox.
“I think Homecoming is important because it gives alumni a chance to get a glimpse of what is happening at the college,” said Taylor.
The “Taste of Galesburg”, in which several local restaurants sample their food in the Fieldhouse, will take place again this year. Such events allow alumni to gather and be treated by the college.
In addition to the usual class reunions, educational lectures, and athletic events, this year’s events include several Halloween-related events throughout the week and a carnival for students and children on Friday.
“The objective is to have something for everyone,” said Brown.
There will also be an interactive activity held by Coordinator of the Center for Community Services Kathleen Ridlon and Semenya McCord “for children to be creative with music and dance.”
The date of Homecoming this year has been controversial because it is over Halloween weekend, which could deter some alumni with children from visiting Knox said Brown.
“We’re not happy with the date,” said Brown, though there are Halloween events built into the Homecoming schedule. At the carnival on Friday night from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the gym, there will be a costume contest, carnival games, and cardboard houses sponsored by Knox groups for trick-or-treating. The Campus Life office is providing the candy. Students, faculty, and alumni are all encouraged to come.
The date had to be this weekend because the home football game needed to happen on a weekend that did not conflict with Monmouth Homecoming; otherwise, there would not be enough hotel space in the area. Homecoming also involves a Board of Trustees meeting, so it could not happen too early in the year.
Alumni are invited to attend classes on Friday, and Homecoming Convocation will be on Saturday. This year’s speakers are Caroline Andrews Porter, ’58, and senior Mike Dooley. Taylor said this is a popular event because the speakers often tell stories about their time at Knox.
“They are very often a hoot,” said Taylor.
Assistant Director of Campus Life Jimmy Stewart and a group of students planned homecoming week, which included everything from a ghost hunter to spooky lunch in the Hard Knox Café to a pumpkin carving contest.
“The entire week is hoping to build up the excitement for the weekend,” said Stewart.
“Nothing like this on this scale has ever been done before. Alumni will enjoy Homecoming that much more if students are at all the events.”
Another change from previous years is that students will be invited to the Homecoming dance. The dance is this Saturday from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. in T. Fleming Fieldhouse, featuring Sally Weisenburg and the Famous Sidemen, which is a jump blues and swing band. Dress for the event is business casual, and students will be carded if they want to drink alcohol.
“I think they’re a great dance band,” said Brown. “It’s a perfect opportunity for people to mix and mingle at the same time. Hopefully some students will take advantage of it.”