BRANDON – The Brandon University is still basking under the golden glow of this past weekend’s special BU50 Homecoming celebrations.
“What an incredible, exciting four days of fun, inspiration and entertainment as we all came together to celebrate Homecoming and to mark 50 years since Brandon College became Brandon University,” said BU Interim President Dr. Steve Robinson. “There was a tremendous amount of energy all across campus, and I was impressed by the wide range of people who participated. It is clear that Brandon University is a special place for so many of us.”
This year’s expanded Homecoming included traditional academic, alumni and athletics reunions, awards and get-togethers, as well as Bobcats matches and campus tours, with much more added to commemorate the 50th anniversary occasion with a party for the entire community.
“My heartfelt thanks go to everyone who was a part of Homecoming this year, and who joined us over the weekend,” Dr. Robinson said. “It was an absolute pleasure to speak with alumni from near and far who returned to share their weekend and their memories with us, and I was very happy to reconnect with retirees who joined us at our Champagne Reception. I also thank all the faculty, staff and students who worked tirelessly in planning, putting together and volunteering at the dozens of events that were part of this year’s Homecoming.”
The golden anniversary meant a much bigger Homecoming than in previous years, with many more events across campus than usual. New highlights included a community research conference, a music festival in a gigantic heated tent, a family fun day, and keynote speaker Col. Chris Hadfield.
“We were thrilled by the wide range and sheer number of people who turned out for all of our events, as well as all the members of our campus community who helped pull it off,” said Carla Eisler, BU’s Director of Advancement and Alumni Relations.
“Several events were full or sold out, which is a testament to the support our expanded Homecoming received from our wonderful community.”
Homecoming kicked off Thursday with an information night for future students, a talk by Interim President Dr. Steve Robinson, and a pro series concert with faculty from the School of Music, as well as art and athletics exhibits, an authors’ celebration, and a night at the BU Observatory.
Friday saw one of the top highlights of the weekend, with Col. Hadfield delivering two keynote speeches, including one that was delivered to middle-years and younger students from across western Manitoba. After the public keynote in the evening, Col. Hadfield stayed late to ensure that every fan had a photo or a signed book before leaving.
Also Friday were the official kick-off reunions for classes celebrating anniversary years, the Bobcats basketball teams, and all faculty, staff and retirees who were invited to the BU 50th anniversary Champagne Reception.
While cold, blustery weather blew in for the Family Day activities and the Fifty Fest concert on Saturday, the campus was bustling all day and late into the evening with high-calibre activities and entertainment — indoors, outdoors, and under a 5,400-square-foot heated tent.
Homecoming concluded on Sunday with a farewell brunch attended by many alumni who lauded the university for a wonderful weekend, reminisced about their years at Brandon College and Brandon University, and spoke with ambition about the future of BU and the future of Homecoming.
“Every year it seems we outdo last year, but this year’s golden anniversary was something very special,” Eisler said. “We learned a lot about what new elements our community are eager to support, and we are already talking about how we can make Homecoming 2019 another must-do event in Brandon.
“Thank you to everyone who helped make this year’s Homecoming weekend the thrilling success that it was.”