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Homecoming & Reunion Weekend 2018 reconnects the Tribe

  • Homecoming:
    Homecoming:  Smiles and sunshine abounded as parade goers enjoyed an array of floats and performances during Friday's William & Mary Homecoming Parade.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
  • Homecoming:
    Homecoming:  Floats sported all kinds of decor and sound effects as they made their way down Richmond Road in Friday's parade.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
  • Homecoming:
    Homecoming:  Many William & Mary campus clubs, groups and organizations were represented in Friday's parade.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
  • Homecoming:
    Homecoming:  William & Mary President Katherine A. Rowe and her spouse, Bruce Jacobson, took part in their first Homecoming Parade at William & Mary Friday.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
  • Homecoming:
    Homecoming:  Ruth Tillar ’45, who has attended 76 William & Mary Homecomings, served as Grand Marshal of Friday's parade.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
  • Homecoming:
    Homecoming:  William & Mary's commemoration of 100 years of coeducation, celebrated here as part of Friday's Homecoming Parade, will go on throughout the 2018-19 academic year.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
  • Homecoming:
    Homecoming:  William & Mary's Rowing Club was represented during the festivities at Friday's Homecoming Parade.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
  • Homecoming:
    Homecoming:  The younger crowd celebrated vividly at Friday's William & Mary Homecoming Parade.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
  • Homecoming:
    Homecoming:  Seated or standing, in groups large and small, William & Mary supporters lined Richmond Road to see the floats and marchers at Friday's Homecoming Parade.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
  • Homecoming:
    Homecoming:  William & Mary Pep Band members scream and shout Saturday as the Tribe defeated Maine in the Homecoming football game.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
  • Homecoming:
    Homecoming:  Fans had plenty of reasons to smile as William & Mary defeated Maine in Saturday's Homecoming football game.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
  • Homecoming:
    Homecoming:  William & Mary alumni, students and friends reconnected at numerous events around the campus during Homecoming & Reunion Weekend.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
  • Homecoming:
    Homecoming:  A Griffin statue was unveiled in the new Tribe Plaza at Zable Stadium on Friday.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
  • Homecoming:
    Homecoming:  The class of '93 was well-represented at Saturday's Homecoming football game.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
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William & Mary’s Homecoming & Reunion Weekend brings together students of today with alumni from decades past. With the campus teeming with familiar faces, in addition to family and friends of alumni and current students, Homecoming was met with a sense of Tribe pride and autumnal gathering unique to this year.

The Homecoming Parade kicked off the weekend on a bright and sunny Friday afternoon. Serving as Grand Marshal was Ruth Tillar ’45, who has attended 76 W&M Homecomings.

Clubs, activities, and organizations walked or rode on various conveyances down Richmond Road as attendees lined the street to cheer in the celebrated tradition.

{{youtube:medium:right|SN97vXeke1c, Homecoming Parade 2018}}

After the parade, an unveiling ceremony took place at the entrance to Zable Stadium introducing Tribe Plaza. The plaza, adorned with a new bronze statue of a Griffin, will serve as a focal point for Tribe athletics to cultivate community for its friends, fans and alumni.

The bronze Griffin statue was purchased with funds raised by the Tribe Club, the fundraising department of W&M Athletics, according to athletics officials. The new statue will have flagpoles surrounding it, as well as future plans to include seating for students and fans to gather under the shadow of Zable Stadium.

New President Katherine A. Rowe was ushered into her very first Homecoming weekend with open arms. Joining the parade, leading the sunset ceremony and speaking to the many alumni and students across campus, Rowe added to the weekend’s convivial feeling.

Comedians Beth Stelling and Rae Sanni performed Saturday evening among a host of activities that ranged from a concert by Chip Esten ’87, star of "Nashville," and a children’s carnival earlier in the day to the Saturday Night Bash in the Sunken Garden.

With students seeing old friends and meeting alumni, Homecoming weekend felt like an actual welcome home for many.

“As a senior, it was very exciting,” said Abby Minor ’19. “It’s going to be weird to be on the other side next year, for sure.”

As always the weekend was filled to the brim with many different activities to celebrate the return of the alumni. This year, however, held an even more auspicious celebration due to the celebration of 100 years of coeducation at W&M.

With several acknowledgements by Rowe, as well as appearances by noteworthy female alumnae, the mixture of both Homecoming weekend and 100 years of coeducation created an even greater reason to celebrate.

Saturday’s football game brought another cause for celebration.

After tailgaters across campus laid out their feasts, fans gathered at Zable Stadium to watch the Tribe take on nationally-ranked Maine. The Green and Gold pulled out a 27-20 victory, leading to uproarious applause and cheers that echoed across campus.

For many alumni, Homecoming Weekend offers a joyous experience to walk down memory lane, often sharing those experiences with family members. For Beth Smith ’84, returning to William & Mary is always a family affair.

“My husband and I came to Williamsburg and walked the campus for years with our two daughters, and both of them are now alumnae,” Smith said.

Daughters Catherine Smith ’18 and Emily Thompson ’14, M.Ed. ’15 shared in the weekend of festivities, visiting their friends and various student clubs and organizations.

“My favorite memory of college is singing Meatloaf’s ‘Paradise by the Dashboard Lights’ at the Alpha Chi Omega house parties,” Beth Smith said.

Homecoming is also a time for alumni to revisit their old stomping grounds, including the academic buildings and dorms they frequented. For Beth Smith, this weekend was not an exception.

“[I came to Homecoming] to see people, attend a cappella concerts, visit my sorority house and tailgate,” she said.

With countless activities and reunification of graduates from last year or from decades ago, Homecoming is an excellent opportunity for the campus to gather together.

“I felt very connected to the community,” Minor said.

And for those who return to remind themselves of their fond days at W&M, it is always a bittersweet return.

“I’ve never lost that love for William & Mary,” Beth Smith said.