Homecoming is back in earnest. Last year, alumni director Sterly L. Wilder '83 decided to reinforce the tradition as the premier fall event for alumni and students. This year, the four-day weekend, which began with Founders' Day convocation on September 28, broke attendance records and set a new standard for variety and abundance of events.
Nearly 1,700 alumni and their guests gathered to watch and participate in sports and be enlightened by educational activities. The Half-Century Club, a group composed of alumni who graduated more than fifty years ago, saw an increase of 22 percent, to 136 alumni and friends attending the festivities
Traditionally thought of as a football weekend, Homecoming featured a Saturday afternoon game with Virginia but also included a variety of other sports offerings, from spectator to participatory. On Friday afternoon, thirty-two teams made up of undergraduate, graduate, and professional students; faculty and staff members; and alumni engaged in gladiatorial competition on the Main and Clocktower quads for a dodgeball tournament sponsored by the AOPi sorority.
Other weekend sports offerings included a golf tournament sponsored by SAE fraternity, an alumni varsity baseball game, alumni varsity tennis events, field hockey against Boston College, and women's soccer against North Carolina State.
Alongside the sports offerings, scholarly lectures showcased Duke's rich array of intellectual experts. History professor William H. Chafe, former dean of the faculty of Arts & Sciences and vice provost for undergraduate education, spoke about his new book Private Lives/Public Consequences; professor of law James Coleman related his experience teaching students about the death penalty; Noah Pickus, acting director of the Kenan Institute for Ethics, led a panel discussion of campus culture in the wake of the lacrosse incident; Russell Robinson '54, LL.B. '56 and Sally Dalton Robinson '55, recipients of this year's Distinguished Alumni Award, shared their experiences as philanthropists; Women's Center director Donna Lisker discussed the legacy of the first dean of the Woman's College, Alice Mary Baldwin; and religion professor Bruce Lawrence discussed the messages of the Qur'an and Osama bin Laden. In addition, tours of the Nasher Museum of Art and the Lemur Center provided a glimpse into the workings of two of Duke's most popular destinations.
Friday evening's offerings included the National Pan-Hellenic Council Step Show and dinners and social hours sponsored by various campus and alumni groups. Duke Chorale offered two rehearsals before Saturday night's performance. The Duke University Black Alumni Connection (DUBAC) celebrated its twentieth anniversary, with 160 alumni and guests returning for the weekend. The group's activities included its biennial meeting followed by a festive dinner on Saturday night.
The football team's defeat at the hands of the Cavaliers didn't dampen the festivities of the other signature event of the weekend, the President's Homecoming Dance, on Saturday night. President Richard H. Brodhead and his wife, Cynthia Brodhead, took their turn on the dance floor along with students and alumni of all ages.
Welcoming Alumni Home
November 30, 2006