Monday, October 18, 2010

Home(coming) is where the heart is

They say the best years of your life are spent at college. I wouldn’t argue with that. At no other time in your life will you be in an atmosphere like this that blends abundant opportunities to have fun with the tremendous amount of learning that forms the basis for great personal success well into retirement. It’s what we’re committed to here at Bloomsburg University and celebrate every October during Homecoming Weekend.

Earlier this month, the BU campus got off to a quick start to this year’s Homecoming: Rollin’ the Dice and Enjoying the Nights in Vegas, Oct. 23 to 24, when students decorated windows of their residence halls for a competition and began campaigning for their friends for Homecoming king and queen. It’s captivating to see our freshmen be filled with Husky spirit after only a few weeks on campus. This energy intertwines with the passion our alumni bring back from the far corners of the state and other areas of the country, as they return to a changing campus they once called their own.

I graduated from the University of California, Berkeley about 40 years ago and went on to graduate school more than 400 miles away at UCLA, never living closer to Berkeley than that. Yet I have revisited the UC Berkeley campus more than 30 times in those intervening years; most recently last month while on Bloomsburg University business in the San Francisco Bay area. Every visit is a true Homecoming for me. The sights, sounds and even the smells of the campus bring both nostalgia and excitement, as I visit the places that were so important to me in my undergraduate years and see all of the changes.

Last month, I was able to share my visit with a colleague from BU. I was delighted, and I don’t think he was too bored, as I showed him the dorm and fraternity house where I lived, the library where I spent so many hours studying, and the beautifully restored and renovated, 100-year-old Life Science Building where I studied and worked in my formative years as a biologist. I often make the return trip to campus with my freshman roommate and best friend, who teaches high school biology and chemistry in the area.

Many BU alumni, including those in the Class of 1960 celebrating their 50-class reunion this year, will be surprised to see how much our campus has grown, especially upper campus with the newly renovated Nelson Field House and the Jessica Kozloff Apartments that opened in fall 2009. On the lower campus, alums can take notice of an updated Hartline Science Center and the gutted Sutfliff Hall that’s undergoing its own transformation to be completed next fall.

In addition to the sightseeing, there will be plenty of activities to enjoy with your family and old Husky friends on Saturday with the traditional BU/Bloomsburg High School Homecoming Parade, Alumni Tent Party at the Fenstemaker Alumni House, and of course, the Husky football game against one of our biggest rivals, the West Chester Golden Rams.

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