Wilkes University Homecoming 2015 to be a family affair


Jesse Chalnick

At left: Anthony Fanucci and Makia Stocker prepare for homecoming festivities in the Alumni office. “Family of Colonels” is the theme for Wilkes Homecoming 2015. It will take place Friday, Oct. 2 through Sunday, Oct. 4, with various activities thoughout the weekend.

James Jaskolka, Editor-in-chief

Held Oct. 2 through Oct. 4, Wilkes University Homecoming 2015 will have something for everyone, thanks to this year’s theme – Family of Colonels.

Director of Alumni Relations Bridget Giunta explained that since Wilkes is a close-knit community, it made sense to pay homage to the “Family of Colonels” – even if the family isn’t blood-related.

“There are greater opportunities here to cultivate that culture of a family of Colonels because everyone can come together more frequently than at a larger school,” Giunta said.

“We have athletic teams that become so close they’re like a family, friends who are like family, as well actual families [as alumni],” Jacki Lukas, alumni communications and events manager, said. “It kind of just fit with what we wanted to do and how we wanted to bring things to campus.”

The newest initiative is the launch of the “Colonel’s Kids Club,” which allows alumni to register their children or grandchildren to receive a birthday card from the Colonel every year. Giunta said that familiarizing children with the university early on helps “add another layer” to the “Family of Colonels” concept.

Additionally, the annual Tailgate Tent, held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, at the Ralston Athletic Complex, will now feature the Colonel’s Kids Corner. This will bring a variety of activities for children, including face painting and a bounce house. Student clubs and organizations will host activities and demonstrations of their own, making it suitable for older children as well.

“I really think there’s going to be something for all kids,” Lukas said.

“This year, we wanted to really focus on kids and make sure alumni know it’s a family event” Giunta explained.

Alumni without children will still find plenty of activities, however. This year marks the second installation of the “Share the Spirit” event, a celebration of school spirit with a focus on athletics,  held 6 to 9 p.m. on  Saturday in the Recreational and Athletic Center in the University Center on Main. Kevin Gryboski, ‘95, will be making a return as a guest of honor at the event.

In addition to the familial focus, many events this year are centered around the recent changes on campus, the biggest of which is the new gateway from South Main Street. The official campus dedication and opening celebration will take place at 4:30 p.m. on Friday, October 2.

To showcase the changes, several events – including “Pints with Professors” at 6 p.m. Friday – will be moved to the parking lot behind Weckesser Hall.

Since Lukas has been updating the alumni Facebook page with photos of the progress since construction began, she is excited about sharing the changes with former students.

“We want the alumni to be able to see the gateway,” she said. “Nothing beats seeing it in real life.”

Following the opening ceremony is a small reception, both of which are open to the public as a way to remind the community that Wilkes really is a “Family of Colonels.”

“Everyone’s a Colonel at Homecoming,” Giunta said.