William & Mary

Campus comes alive with Tribe spirit during Homecoming & Reunion Weekend 2019

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    Homecoming  Nearly 4,200 people attended the Homecoming Parade, which featured student activity groups, faculty and staff and local organizations marching down Richmond Road.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
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    Homecoming  William & Mary students showed their Tribe pride during the Homecoming Parade, many decked out in the university's colors of green and gold.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
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    Homecoming  William & Mary faculty and staff participated in the Homecoming parade with alumni, student groups and area organizations.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
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    Homecoming  Students dance during the Homecoming Parade. Nearly 4,200 people were on hand to participate in the revelry of the parade.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
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    Homecoming  Some parade attendees were all decked out in school colors. Some wore costumes. Some wore both.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
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    Homecoming  Parade goers show off their school spirit with pompoms, top hats, sunglasses and bow ties. Everybody had their own signature flair.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
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    Homecoming  Go big or go Homecoming. Oversized glasses were a popular prop for many parade attendees.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
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    Homecoming  Tribe fans of all ages were in attendance at the William & Mary Homecoming Parade.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
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    Homecoming  The Homecoming Parade provide an opportunity for student activity groups, faculty and staff and local organizations to march down Richmond Road past a sea of W&M students, families, alumni and fans.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
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    Homecoming  Richmond Road provided a festive parade route filled with cheering people decked out in green and gold.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
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    Homecoming  The Homecoming Parade brought smiles to the faces of parade participants and those who lined Richmond Road to watch.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
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    Homecoming  The Homecoming Parade brought together Tribe fans of all ages.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
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    Homecoming  The William & Mary community showed its school spirit during the Homecoming Parade. Nearly 4,200 people were in attendance.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
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    Homecoming  William & Mary pride was on full display throughout the Homecoming Parade.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
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    Homecoming  Jill Ellis '88 acknowledges the fans at William & Mary's Homecoming football game. Ellis coached the U.S. Women's National Soccer Team to the 2019 World Cup championship.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
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    Homecoming  William & Mary President Katherine A. Rowe and Mike Tomlin '95, head coach of the NFL's Pittsburgh Steelers, were among those in attendance at the Tribe's Homecoming football game.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
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    Homecoming  Fans cheer for the William & Mary football team during its Homecoming game.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
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The William & Mary campus came alive with Tribe spirit, as current students and alumni from decades past came together to celebrate Homecoming & Reunion Weekend on Oct. 17-20. 

Homecoming featured a variety of activities for the entire W&M community. Events took place across campus throughout the long weekend. 

“We’re very engaged in university activities, and there’s nothing like Homecoming to come back and celebrate the Alma Mater of our Nation, and to see your friends,” said Bee McLeod ’83, MBA ’91. 

{{youtube:medium:right|xzGyfjBHmVE, Homecoming Parade}}

The atmosphere of Homecoming was nostalgic, warm and joyful. Reunions from the various classes took place all weekend long. 

“It’s my 35th reunion year,” said Janet Rollins Atwater ’84. 

“I’m very blessed to be on a variety of boards at the university, and because of that, we now have friends from the classes of the ’40s and the ’50s,” she added. “We’ve often said our best years at William & Mary were after we graduated.” 

Atwater met her husband, Peter Atwater ’83, at W&M. They have been avid supporters of bringing artists to campus through a lecture endowment that bears their name. 

Peter Atwater is also on faculty at W&M as an adjunct lecturer of Economics. 

“On Friday, I was over at Swem doing some writing in the morning, and walked by the Crim Dell and stopped to take a photo,” Atwater said. “It never gets old.” 

Some highlights of Homecoming weekend included the academic showcase, which promoted the work students and their faculty are conducting. Topics included synthetic biology, Chinese international affairs, and African diaspora, a nod to the 1619 anniversary of the first enslaved African people arriving in what would become English North America. 

Athletics continue to be an important part of the W&M community and experience. Alumni were able to catch a glimpse at the future of W&M Athletics in Tribe Talks, a discussion with student-athletes and staff, hosted by Director of Athletics Samantha K. Huge. 

“All that the campus recreation center and football stadium have going on is very exciting,” said McLeod, in reference to the exciting changes coming to W&M. 

It wouldn’t have been Homecoming & Reunion Weekend without the Homecoming Parade. With nearly 4,200 people in attendance, the parade offered student activity groups, faculty and staff, and local organizations the opportunity to march down Richmond Road past a sea of W&M students, families, alumni, and fans. 

The sidewalks were packed with cheering people decked out in green and gold. Rollins Atwater was fortunate enough to walk in the parade as a part of the Society of 1918, a group that is committed to growing the engagement, leadership and philanthropy of W&M women. 

Serving as this year’s parade grand marshal was Marshall Acuff ’62, L.H.D. ’07, who has served as university rector, president of the Alumni Association and on many university boards. Acuff received recognition throughout Homecoming and rode in the lead car during the parade.

Jill Ellis '88, coach of two World Cup champion U.S. Women's National Soccer Team squads, held a discussion with President Katherine A. Rowe on Saturday morning about leadership and how W&M prepared her for her career. Ellis also was featured in the parade and attended festivites all weekend.

The football game, a quintessential homecoming staple, was an exciting experience for many. A crowd of nearly 10,000 was on hand to witness W&M take on James Madison University on Saturday afternoon. 

Although the Tribe lost 38-10, the roars of the crowd were heard in every corner of campus and beyond. 

In addition to the numerous activities and reunions with friends and former classmates, alumni were overjoyed to make connections with current students. Rollins Atwater mentioned attending a scholarship luncheon and sitting next to a double major in biology and theatre. 

“William & Mary is about the ampersand. It’s the and,” she said. 

“It’s the mindset. Everybody here has this sense of ‘I’m this, and I’m that. I’m left brain and right brain,’” Atwater added. 

McLeod and her husband, Goody Tyler, who received an honorary degree in 2011, attended a scholarship luncheon as well. Each donor was paired with a scholarship recipient. Tyler spoke about how meaningful attending that event was for him. 

“You get to see the value of your scholarship. You get to see how it directly impacts the students,” Tyler said. 

“It makes me really appreciate more of the majority of the student experience than I had,” added McLeod. “My graduate degree gave me my career, but it’s the undergraduate experience that made me love William & Mary.” 

Memories new and old were borne from Homecoming & Reunion Weekend. And although the tents are down and the tailgates are over, many can look forward to the revelry of next year’s weekend of festivities.