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Campus News

Alumni return to campus for Homecoming 2015

View a slideshow of images from Homecoming.
Watch a short video of Homecoming highlights.

By Emily Evans

Hundreds of students, alumni and their families descended on the Brandeis campus to show their Judges pride during Homecoming 2015, cheering on the varsity soccer teams, reliving the glory days during alumni contests and gathering to see fellow members of the Class of 2015 at the 0-year Reunion.

“Every year it seems like attendance at Homecoming doubles,” noted Jessica Bergman ’91, chair of the Friends of Brandeis Athletics (FOBA) and a member of the Alumni Association Board of Directors.  “The event started small but it’s growing and gaining momentum. My vision for Homecoming is that in five years I won’t be able to find somebody in the crowd because it will be that big!”

As a former Brandeis athlete – she was a member of the basketball, softball and track and field teams – Bergman sees Homecoming as the perfect opportunity to bring alumni athletes together: “Homecoming is becoming an anchor for Brandeis alumni – one special, celebratory weekend to bring everyone back together. Athletic alumni remember their teammates, their games, their wild practices; their memories with each other are happy and full of pride. I want them to feel that again at Homecoming.”

The weekend festivities were organized by the Department of Athletics, the Brandeis Alumni Association and FOBA, and kicked off on Friday as the Brandeis soccer teams split a pair of matches against the University of Chicago. The men won, 1-0, while the women lost by the same score.

On Saturday, dozens of former student-athletes returned to campus for spirited alumni basketball, fencing, baseball, softball and tennis contests. Several alumni athletes also participated in a panel discussion, organized by the Hiatt Career Center, in which they provided career advice to current student-athletes.

In the evening, Brandeisians came together to honor the latest group of inductees into the Joseph M. Linsey Athletics Hall of Fame – former major league pitcher Nelson Figueroa ’98, tennis star Brenda Schafer ’77, the 1957-58 men’s basketball team and contributor Israel “Ace” Weinstein. Figueroa, a former New York Mets pitcher and now a broadcaster for the team, watched the Mets’ National League Championship Series victory with fellow alumni in a tent set up in the Gosman Sports and Convocation Center parking lot.

“The Hall of Fame induction was a really special event,” said Lynne Dempsey ’93, a former Brandeis student-athlete (soccer, basketball and softball) and the University’s acting athletic director. “It was really touching to watch the inductees genuinely thank their teammates and coaches who helped get them to the places they are now.”

Saturday ended with a festive party as members of the Class of 2015 enjoyed their 0-year Reunion, a new tradition that began last year, with other young alumni. “We didn’t want the young alumni of the Class of 2015 to have to wait five years to have a formal reunion,” explained Patsy Fisher, vice president of alumni relations. “They miss each other so much, so we want to provide an opportunity for them to get together sooner with the 0-year Reunion event at Homecoming. Their attachment to each other and to Brandeis is so strong.”

On Sunday morning, more than 20 alumni swimmers met for a splash match, and later graduates gathered to cheer on the men’s and women’s soccer teams as they faced Washington University (the women prevailed, 1-0, while the men fell, 2-0). The day culminated with the Homecoming Barbecue and Carnival, complete with a petting zoo, pony rides, a rock-climbing wall and an inflatable corn maze.  

Despite the cold weather and the first snowflakes of the season, spirits were high.  “This tradition is one that continues to grow, and is about showing off our Brandeis love,” said Fisher. “Homecoming fosters connections that alumni have with each other, and also with staff, faculty and coaches. We keep expanding programs so that we can welcome back everyone in the Brandeis family. We’re building a tradition of spirit and pride, because we have a lot to brag about here at Brandeis.”

Categories: Campus News, Events
Date: October 19, 2015