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Alumni recall fun Homecoming memories

Each year, those who participate in Homecoming activities walk away with memories, some of which will last a lifetime. Some will remember the band that played at UAO’s Homecoming concert their senior year.

Returning alumni may remember seeing an old friend at a tailgate party 15 years after graduation.

Others will remember the speaker who said something so powerful it that it will inspire them for years to come.

Sidney Ribeau, University President, remembers meeting Anna Mae Thomas in his second or third year at the University. In 1943, Thomas was the first African-American to graduate from the University.

During their conversation, she told stories about when she worked on campus for University president Frank Prout, Ribeau said.

Ribeau noted that Thomas is now 94 years old.

“It was moving because she was a history maker,” Ribeau said of Thomas.

Bruce Moss, Director of University Bands, also remembers meeting someone extraordinary.

Two years ago, the Falcon Marching Band honored Lou Marini, a retired faculty member. Marini brought with him his son, Lou Marini Jr.

Marini Jr. plays tenor sax and can be heard performing in the original Blues Brothers movie. He was also a member of the original Saturday Night Live band. In addition, he continues to perform with nationally known musicians – people like James Taylor, among others.

“It was a great performance,” Moss said. “He joined the Falcon Marching Band at half-time.”

Ron Binder, associate director of residence life and director of greek affairs, looks forward to homecoming each year as a chance to reconnect with old friends.

“I get to see people I haven’t seen in awhile,” Binder said. “Realistically, the only way to meet up with people is homecoming.”

Seeing and meeting people are not the only aspects of Homecoming that can be memorable.

Ribeau recalled a football game against OU in which BGSU won 72-21.

“That (score) was like a basketball game,” Ribeau said.

It was at a time when, “we began turning around the football team.”

Aside from the people and the football game, there are other activities going on during the week that can make Homecoming memorable.

Moss participates in things, like parades, with the marching and pep bands.

There has not been a parade in a few years though, Moss said.

Ed Whipple, vice president for Student Affairs, also remembers the parades.

“We used to have a parade, which was fun,” Whipple said. “However, interest dwindled and about seven years ago we had few participants and it was about 10 degrees outside.”

Prior to the last few years, Homecoming was just another weekend. Now there are more participants and there are more activities, Ribeau said

Ribeau participates in the 5k run on the Saturday morning of homecoming week, attends the pep rally and gets to meet the king and queen.

“It’s always a treat to see who the winners are,” Ribeau said.

Whipple also participates in the 5k run.

“I get my daily exercise and I haven’t missed one yet,” Whipple said.

The excitement and pride that can be felt during Homecoming week is also an important aspect.

“It’s a celebration of what’s important for them (current students) now,” Ribeau said. It gives a “true sense of community that extends beyond one year.”

It also gives alumni a way to express their pride and reconnect with old friends, classmates and professors.

This is “important in developing pride in the institution,” Ribeau said.

Homecoming is more than just another week or weekend.

It represents the culmination of weeks of hard work and planning by students and faculty alike.

It is a chance to create memories, which have the potential to not only last a lifetime, but also affect a life.

It is a chance to welcome back alumni, reconnect with those who have been away for years and “contribute to the pageantry and excitement of homecoming,” as Moss does with the Falcon Marching Band.

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