Events planned for alumni returning for U Homecoming

Matt Chock

This year’s Homecoming will once again attract alumni from all over the country as they return to visit their alma mater.

The University of Minnesota Alumni Association will coordinate the events for the alumni, along with preparing a number of forums to allow both those returning and those not able to make the trip an opportunity to connect.

The newest mechanism aiding this connection is an Web site called Virtual Homecoming. This site gives alumni all over the world the ability to write notes to former classmates.

“The goal of the Virtual Homecoming is to allow those alumni who couldn’t make it into town the ability to see what those people they went to school with are doing now,” said Tom Garrison, director of communications for the Alumni Center.

There are also a number of events scheduled for those alumni spending the weekend on campus to allow them to catch up with old friends.

For recent graduates, there will be a gathering called the Homecoming Huddle. Designed for graduates from the last 10 years, it allows those just beginning careers to catch up on recent years.

A pancake breakfast will be served Saturday from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. at the Gateway alumni center’s Memorial Hall. The cost is $5 per person, payable at the door.

The breakfast is at the end of the parade route and will have reserved parade viewing, along with shuttle service to the Minnesota vs. Michigan State football game.

At the breakfast, there will also be terminals set up to allow alumni a chance to participate in the Virtual Homecoming.

The parade itself will honor two people who have been involved with Gophers football, co-grand martials Bobby Bell and Ray Christensen.

Bell was a 1963 All-American lineman for the Gophers, winning the Outland Trophy his senior year. He went on to become a linebacker for the Kansas City Chiefs, helping them to two Super Bowls. In 1983 he was inducted into the Professional Football Hall of Fame.

Christensen, also known as the Golden Voice, has been a longtime announcer for the Gophers. He’s spent the past 50 years announcing football games and, in the last 45, also announcing basketball games.

The two will ride in the parade and afterward spend time at the pancake breakfast.

“I will be speaking briefly at the breakfast about my time broadcasting the Gopher football and basketball games,” said Christensen.

The alumni association also recently set up a new Greek Alumni and Friends Network. Because this organization is just starting, it does not have any of its own events scheduled.

“We are encouraging the alumni to participate in anything and everything they can, especially by attending the football game,” said Erica Giorgi, a director for the Greek Alumni and Friends Network.

Many of the greek alumni get block tickets and sit together at the game, wearing the letters of their houses.


Matt Chock welcomes comments at [email protected]