Homecoming Fosters Community, Connections, and Charger Pride
For the thousands of Chargers who took part in Homecoming Weekend, the celebration was a fun and meaningful way to reconnect with their fellow members of Charger Nation and to see firsthand the exciting changes taking place on campus.
October 12, 2021
By Renee Chmiel, Office of Marketing and Communications
Christina Genovese ’20 was excited to return to the University of New Haven for her first Homecoming as an alumna. Her Charger Pride was on full display – first as she took part in the University’s Centennial Commencement for the Class of 2020, and then as she enjoyed the University’s Homecoming: #TheBlueout festivities that followed the ceremony.
Genovese, who was president of the Class of 2020 and a writer and community engagement editor for The Charger Bulletin, the University’s award-winning student-run newspaper, had been looking forward to reconnecting with her fellow Chargers.
“It’s great to have current students and alumni back on campus,” said Genovese, who is pursuing her master’s degree in counseling education at Central Connecticut State University. “It’s nice to be with everyone, to see faculty, staff, and students – many of whom I haven’t seen since March 2020. It feels good to be back.”
Genovese was among the thousands of members of the University community who visited the campus as part of Homecoming. The weekend-long celebration included a variety of events that enabled alumni to reconnect with each other and to learn more about the important work taking place at the University.
“I think of Homecoming as a great opportunity to return to the University to see what has changed, to be with my alumni friends, and to connect with current students,” said Dawn Alderman '99, '03 M.S., president of the University’s Alumni Board of Directors. “I was really impressed with the turnout. It’s important to feel like we’re all part of the University community. Kudos to the University for keeping everyone safe while holding Homecoming in-person.”
‘It’s nice to see everyone come together’
Homecoming also provides an opportunity for alumni to explore the University’s always-evolving and ever-developing campus. As part of the day’s events, the University marked the next step in its growth with the groundbreaking of the Peterson Performance Center. The facility is named in recognition of David Peterson Jr. ’88, ’17 Hon., a member of the University’s Board of Governors and a former defensive end on the University’s football team. Peterson, his wife Karen, and their family took part in the ceremony.
The 31,000 square foot facility will be built at North Campus, and it is part of the University’s goal to transition its athletics program to Division I. Derrick Rowland ’22 MBA, a member of the Chargers men’s basketball team, spoke as part of the ceremony, saying he was excited to be a part of the celebration.
“It was pretty remarkable to be a part of the groundbreaking,” he said. “This new building – and all the changes taking place at the University – is exciting. It’s important to be part of the culture and the atmosphere at Homecoming. It’s nice to see everyone come together, and traditions like Homecoming that bring everyone together are so important.”
‘Lots of good people who love being a part of the University’
Athletics was one of the many highlights of Homecoming, as the University community was charged up to watch the Chargers football team face Saint Anselm on the gridiron. The Chargers triumphed 56-7. Later that night, field hockey posted a 2-0 win over Southern New Hampshire.
For Robert McDonald ’86, ’95 M.S., one of the best parts about attending Homecoming is being part of it as both a graduate of the University and as a professor.
“Homecoming is a terrific reminder of all that goes on at the University, and it’s important for everyone to see it,” he said. “It’s also good to reconnect with everyone. I enjoy interacting with students – seeing them in class and now here. It’s good for them to see faculty engagement.”
Homecoming offered a variety of opportunities for engagement throughout the weekend. In addition to connecting at the alumni tailgate party, Chargers toured the campus and attended open houses at the Myatt Center for Diversity and Inclusion and at WNHU, the University’s award-winning radio station.
For Mike Ambrose ’84, ’19 Hon., vice chair of the University’s Board of Governors, it is important to him to show his involvement and commitment to the University. He called Homecoming a “wonderful event,” and he hopes it enabled students to connect with alumni and share their experiences as Chargers.
“The University was a blessing for us, and we took what we learned into our lives,” said Ambrose, a standout member of the Chargers track and field team. “It’s important to show students what their future could look like, and this was a good opportunity to connect. It’s great to celebrate together – especially after not being around people for so long – with lots of good people who love being a part of the University.”