Monmouth University kicked off Homecoming 2022 this past weekend, the first Homecoming in the Colonial Athletic Association, strengthening Monmouth’s national brand. Many students gathered for a week full of activities, from Wednesday, Oct. 19 to Saturday, Oct. 22.
On Friday, Monmouth’s community congregated for Basketball’s Blue and White Night in the Ocean First Bank Center. The event featured player spotlights and introductions, as well as performances from the spirit squad. Fans also received limited -edition Blue and White Night shirts.
Saturday included a plethora of festivities to choose from, from a historic tour of The Great Hall in the morning to the Men’s Soccer game at night. Most of all, many were excited about the tailgating event that led to that afternoon’s football game against the University of Rhode Island.
Joining the Colonial Athletic Association is a huge deal for Monmouth’s football team. Not only is it a marker of exposure for Monmouth, but it also promotes diversity and inclusion within sports and, ultimately, on Monmouth’s campus. One of the University’s professed campus-wide goals is to facilitate a more inclusive environment. By joining the Colonial Athletic Association, Monmouth further advances its college programs and empowers athletes in each aspect of their lives.
The Colonial Athletic Association spans the East Coast, from Massachusetts all the way down to South Carolina. It is a collegiate athletic conference affiliated with the NCAA’s Division I.
President Patrick Leahy led the effort to position Monmouth University into the conference. He said, “I am proud of our recent move to the CAA, which not only heightens competition for our Division I sports teams, but also burnishes our academic brand by having Monmouth associate with fine institutions like Delaware, Drexel, Elon, Northeastern, William & Mary, and Villanova, to name only a few. Competing in the CAA will provide Monmouth with increased regional and national exposure, helping to promote our brand in significant ways for prospective students and families.”
Monmouth’s football team played their first Homecoming game against the University of Rhode Island at the conference. On Saturday, many students, alumni, and families gathered before the game to enjoy good food, live music, and early access to the game.
Julian Rebelo, a senior chemistry student with a minor in graphic design, said, “As a senior, I made the best of celebrating the last year of my undergraduate career with my fraternity. I enjoyed seeing many familiar faces from Monmouth and being able to spend time with friends. The turnout overall was great, especially at the tailgating events which is what I look most forward to.”
Each year, the tailgate is organized by Monmouth alumni. It is one of the many ways alumni, new and old, can come back and connect with our campus, current students, and faculty. Alumni Relations works with Monmouth’s athletic teams to provide experiences for not only alumni, but also current students to enjoy events, such as Homecoming.
Laura MacDonald, Associate Director for Recent Alumni and Student Programs, stated, “This year’s alumni tailgate event was held on the practice field for the first time. Nearly 1,000 alumni and friends participated in the festivities, which included live music, inflatables, crafts, photo booths, food, and more before heading into Kessler Stadium to cheer on the Hawks.”
MacDonald continued, “It was a beautiful day for our alumni to come home and celebrate their Hawk pride with their friends and family. We look forward to continuing this tradition!”
Homecoming was a great opportunity for all Monmouth students, families, faculty, staff, and alumni to come together. With a great turnout, a variety of events to experience, beautiful weather, and the addition of our athletic teams in the Colonial Athletic Association, there couldn’t have been a better way to spend the weekend.