Carrying it forward—and bringing it all back home again

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Homecoming—the name says it all. Members of the VCSU family travel back to campus to celebrate with former classmates and members of the VCSU community. This alumni pilgrimage to Valley City is an acknowledgment of the vital role VCSU has made in shaping who they now are. Smiles, laughter, and joy will permeate the campus and community atmosphere, and I am glad I’ll be in the thick of it all!For current students, the festivities run all week long. The homecoming court is celebrated, and a variety of high-energy, fun events take place, strengthening their interconnectedness. This fall, the concept of a pep rally will be reintroduced, and, of course, the ultimate bonding experience will involve cheering “loud and proud” for the volleyball and football Vikings!Alumni will have lots of opportunities to reconnect with old friends and make new friends. Some alumni, such as Hilbert “Si” Seiwert, will travel from afar to return to campus. Si once again will make the trek from California to participate in VCSU’s homecoming celebration, a journey he has made for more than 20 consecutive years! I have a list of special friends, near and far, that I will seek out for a warm embrace and cheerful conversation. Si is definitely on that list. Homecoming is also a time to recognize the achievements of our alumni; we’ll do that at the Friday night Hall of Fame Banquet and Induction Ceremony and Saturday morning at the Alumni Honors Breakfast. Among the honorees are local residents Diane (Starr) ’73 and John Hill ’73, who will receive the Alumni Service Award, and Bryan Niewind ’00 of the North Dakota Highway Patrol, recipient of the Young Alumni Achievement Award. Viking stalwart Dave Bass ’77, assistant professor of education and faculty athletics representative, will be among those inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame. I’ll be in attendance to hear their powerful stories and the impact that they—and VCSU through them—have made in the world. Another thing I really love about homecoming is the intergenerational conversations that occur when current students and alumni interact through meaningful activities and exchanges. Those conversations bridge the student events which strengthen their ties to VCSU with the renewal of alumni connections to alma mater. At homecoming, part of the charge given to graduates in the commencement address becomes real: “Those feelings of nostalgia are important. They mean we’ve etched a place in your heart and mind. We want you to carry that connection with us, your alma mater, forward into your life. This commencement exercise does not mean a severance of your tie to us or the university’s tie to you. Like a good parent, its love and concern will always be with you, ready to help in any way possible.”Homecoming is indeed steeped in memories and love for VCSU, which makes it yet another great day to be a Viking!