Every year, Retrievers of all ages (including some actual Retriever pups) and community members gather together for UMBC’s Homecoming—and as always, this year has something for everyone. Designed to span two weeks (October 7 through 16) to accommodate all the festivities, “it’s an opportunity to think differently about what the concept of Homecoming actually is,” says Jess Wyatt, associate director of Alumni Engagement and one of the event organizers.
“For a lot of folks at UMBC, it’s coming back to a department, coming back to a social group, coming back to a physical space, coming back to an experience.”
Here’s how we make Homecoming our own at UMBC.
Revisiting student favorites
Homecoming is a special time for current students to celebrate their return for another year of classes and welcome first-year students into the fold. Keeping with tradition, the annual bonfire will kick off Homecoming on October 7, when students gather on Erickson Field for food, giveaways, and great company. After the bonfire, students can roll out their blankets on the lawn and cap the night with an outdoor movie screening.(Marlayna Demond ’11/UMBC)
The following week, Erickson Field will be transformed into a carnival ground—students get to preview the fun first, and on Saturday, October 15, the whole Retriever community is invited to play and ride, enjoy the petting zoo, food trucks, and more. Check out the full calendar of events for a packed day of activities, including an ice cream social hour and the hit Puppy Parade. All good dogs are welcome to join, with especially well-dressed pups participating in a special costume contest.
Welcoming back alumni
Alumni are always welcome back on UMBC’s campus, and Homecoming is a great opportunity to revisit your Retriever roots. If you ask Ron Pettie ’82, English, and his wife Christine, it’s all about reconnecting. “It’s a chance to come back and see what the school is doing now,” they’ll tell you. Through the years, the Petties have made a point to return to UMBC each October and are enthusiastic to talk about the close soccer wins, sharing a corndog, and trying to keep up on the rides with their two little nieces.(Kiirstn Pagan/UMBC)
This year, Retrievers of all backgrounds will find a variety of events geared specifically toward them. Alumni will enjoy reunions, socials after sports games, compelling talks at GRIT-X, relaxation at the beer garden, and so much more. A recent addition for alumni is a Homecoming get-together at UMBC at the Universities at Shady Grove (October 8). And returning after a hiatus, is the Retriever 5k Dawg Chase and Fun Run (October 15), welcoming all runners and walkers.
Spending time with family
Homecoming at UMBC is an event for Retrievers to enjoy with their families, and the Family Breakfast (October 15) is our time to celebrate where we come from, the people we love, and how UMBC nurtures those connections.(Marlayna Demond ’11/UMBC) (Marlayna Demond ’11/UMBC)
“We have a lot of non-traditional age students, students who are parents, [and] students who live in a multi-generational household,” says Wyatt. As such, Homecoming has been planned with students, alumni, and families of all types in mind. Pettie and family see Homecoming as a way to encourage their nieces to make connections for their future college careers while having a lot of fun at the same time. No two Retrievers are the same, and Homecoming is an opportunity to celebrate that.
“Homecoming isn’t just a work project for a lot of us, it’s the thing that we bring our families to every year,” says Wyatt. “It’s really just seeing the best of everything that UMBC has to offer.”
Catch a game
If you’re looking to show some school spirit, week one of Homecoming is stocked full of sporting events, beginning with the Athletics Hall of Fame induction ceremony (October 7). Dress up in your favorite Retriever swag and come cheer for our basketball, lacrosse, soccer, volleyball, and softball teams across both weekends. Alumni will also step out onto the field to go head to head in a women’s lacrosse game, as well as a double header softball game–and don’t forget to stay afterwards for a BBQ! Whether you want to cheer or work up a sweat yourself, there’s always an opportunity to get moving at Homecoming.
With all this in mind, anticipation is in the air. “All the Homecoming events continue to evolve and are top notch,” says Pettie. “We always look forward to it.”(Marlayna Demond ’11/UMBC)
Homecoming events are spread across two weeks, October 7 through 16. Make sure to check out the full schedule of activitiesin advance, including any events that require registration, like Athletic events, Family Breakfast, and the 5k.