William & Mary

Homecoming 2008: 'A link among the days'

  • Tribe Pride
    Tribe Pride  Tracy Stauffer, a 1998 William and Mary graduate and member of the Richmond alumni chapter, carried her flag high during the Homecoming parade on Oct. 25.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
  • Walking Wren
    Walking Wren  Alexandra Martin, a graduate student with the anthropology and archeology departments, paraded as the Wren Building.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
  • In the parade
    In the parade  (l-r) Mary Anna Rodabaugh and Gabby Brooks paraded for Phi Mu during the William and Mary Homecoming parade.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
  • Marshals honored
    Marshals honored  W. Taylor Reveley III, president of the College of William and Mary, presented Sam Sadler ('64, M.Ed. '71) and Mary Liz Smith Sadler ('65) who were the Homecoming parade marshals with an honorary award. Betsy Calvo Anderson ('70) of the Alumni Association's Board of Directors also was part of the presentation.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
  • Leading the pep
    Leading the pep  Dustin Glasner, director of the William and Mary Pep Band, cheered on his band and the football team during the Homecoming game.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
  • Interception reaction
    Interception reaction  The William and Mary home crowd reacts to junior safety David Caldwell scoring on a 62-yard interception return for a touchdown to help power the 23rd-ranked College to a 34-24 Homecoming win over the University of Rhode Island on Oct. 25.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
  • Triumphant Tribe
    Triumphant Tribe  Mike Pigram was congratulated by his teammates on the sidlines after springing safety David Caldwell for an interception. On his pick-six interception, Caldwell said, "I had Mike Pigram underneath me and the ball came right at me. Mike put up a good block, then recovered and had another huge block. Once I got the ball, I had a lot of help getting the ball into the end zone."  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
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At exactly 9:30 a.m. on October 25, the rattle and roll of drums and the blaring music of unstoppable marching bands announced the beginning of the College of William and Mary's annual Homecoming parade. Leading the long train of floats and cars were none other than the recently retired Vice President for Student Affairs W. Samuel Sadler ('64, M.Ed. '71) and his wife Mary Liz Smith Sadler ('65), who officiated the parade.

Yet, Sadler was not the only familiar face on the parade route. He was joined by thousands of William and Mary alumni and students who gathered in Williamsburg between Oct. 23 and 26 for the College's annual Homecoming weekend.

The weekend's activities began for hundreds of students on Friday night with a successful pep rally on Yates Field—the first in three years. The pep rally also featured the banner competition, performances by the a cappella group, The Intonations, and appearances by the Homecoming court. President W. Taylor Reveley III was there to sing the Alma Mater along with cheerleaders, football players, students and recent alumni. The event was organized by the Student Assembly's Undergraduate Council, and chaired by Laura Nelson ('10), vice president of advocacy for the Class of 2010.  Lamar Shambley ('10) served as the emcee of the event.

"The alumni at the pep rally mentioned that it was astonishing to see the College community together, engaging and interacting as a 'Tribe,'" said Kevin Dua, Senior Class President. "It definitely livened up the meaning for ‘Homecoming’ for every generation of classes."

Dua and Alyssa Wallace, vice president of social affairs for the junior class, served as co-chairs of the Saturday morning parade. Both had never put together a parade before since last year's event was cancelled due to heavy rain.  For them, planning began early.

"We met every week with Eric Eickoff from the Alumni House [and] Alyssa and I spent from August up until Saturday morning planning every detail of the parade," said Dua.  "At times it was exhausting and tedious, but overall, especially working with someone as organized and focused as Alyssa, we were able to put on a smooth, entertaining parade—light rain included." 

The excitement of Friday night's pep rally carried over to Saturday's football game, despite the fact that the rain, in what one alumnus described as "typical Williamsburg fashion," came down intermittently in the afternoon.  The Tribe defeated the Rhode Island Rams 34-24 for their third straight win.

Navigating through the maze of tailgaters outside of both Zable Stadium and William and Mary Hall was more exhilarating than overwhelming for Seth Levey ('08), who was happy to return to the College after graduating last year.

"It was amazing to be back home seeing my friends, who over the years have become my family," he said. "It was even great to walk over the gloriously unstable brick pathways in the rain. And, as I suspected, it was hard to say good-bye when the time came to leave."

Levey is a member of what the College’s Alumni Association calls the Young Guarde, alumni who graduated within the past five years.  The Olde Guarde, comprised of alumni who graduated 50 or more years ago, were not to be outdone.  The Alumni Association planned several events in their honor, including the annual Olde Guarde Luncheon with its famous Bloody Marys. Several of the alumni were able to boast 58 years of participating in Homecoming events.

Senior Tom Yake felt a different kind of emotion during his last Homecoming as a student.

"As the alumni began to appear on campus—it really hit me.  My four years at the College are nearly done," Yake said.  "And all I really want is four more years."

Besides the official activities put together by the Alumni Association, many student organizations held their own events.  The Greek community held open houses and alumni receptions, and a cappella groups welcomed back the familiar voices of their graduates.

Despite the last-minute cancellation of the band The Rogue Wave, the University Center Activities Board (UCAB) was still able to hold the annual Homecoming concert at Matoaka Amphitheater.  The Ting Tings, described as an English indie pop band, were upgraded to feature act and The Cool Kids, a Chicago-based hip-hop group, was brought in to open for them.

This year's Homecoming was not only an important event for the spirit of the William and Mary, but for honoring those generous enough to support the College with unrestricted reunion gifts. It was recently announced that the class of 1983, one of nine classes celebrating important reunion landmarks, had raised $1.019 million for their 25th reunion. Right behind them were the classes of 1973 and 1988 with $502,000 and nearly half a million raised, respectively.

The magic of Homecoming for most, however, did not lay with any one concert, game or donation, but was found in this year’s theme: Heritage.

"On the bottom of one of the plaques on the Wren building there is a quote from a Lord Tennyson poem that reads: 'A link among the days to knit the generations each with each.' I think that line describes our College perfectly," said Levey, glancing out over the Sunken Garden. "You could certainly see it with the little kids in their green and gold outfits, their parents showing them where they took their first history class. You could see it with some of the older alumni meeting up with old friends. It truly was a like coming home."