Why I attend Homecoming each year
By Fred Peck '66
It was July 4 weekend 1963 and the first third (roughly 150) of the freshman class of 1967 arrived on the Harpur College campus for the start of the (not-so-) great trimester experiment. I was among them. During the ensuing three years (because of continuous attendance, I was able to graduate a year early in 1966), I took advantage of just about everything a first-rate, small, liberal arts college had to offer:
* A wide variety of courses in diverse fields outside my major;
* A somewhat intimate (the entire student body, after all, numbered less than 2,000 – including graduate students) social experience with a fraternity-like feel involving "local" social clubs rather than nationally affiliated Greek frats – I was a brother in Adelphi Men's Social Club;
* An active student government – the Student Center Board – which brought a wide array of activities and top-flight entertainment to campus. [Do you remember the Chad Mitchel Trio sans Chad Mitchel, who had been replaced by newbie John Denver?];
* And most importantly for me (well, maybe right after having learned something and actually graduating) intercollegiate athletics – soccer, swimming and track.
Fast forward 35 years: My son, Jordan, selected Binghamton University over several other outstanding top-ranked (including Ivy League) schools and we become a "legacy" family. While I had visited the campus periodically during the intervening years, it was 2001 that marked the beginning of my frequent visitations – Homecomings, Family Weekends, key sporting events and other special occasions like the ceremonial opening of the Events Center. The more I visited, the more I realized that despite its enormous growth into a then-14,000+ student, major research university, the feel of the school – and the collegiate experience that my son and his classmates got to enjoy – was just not that different from my own all those years ago.
Since then, I have attended every Homecoming. I am always thrilled to see yet another generation of students roaming the very pathways that I did – except for the "deconstructed" esplanade, of course. I always take the time to stroll from the Glenn G. Bartle Library across the quad to what is now Science 1, along the pathway on which my friend Tony ran over to me as I hustled my way toward chem lab on that gray Friday afternoon, Nov. 22, 1963, to inform me that President John F. Kennedy had been shot!
With just a touch of melancholy, I often gaze down the hill from my old (but now, brand-new) dorm, Bingham Hall/Newing College, toward the field below, now occupied by the Institute for Child Development, and recall the rope tow and ski slope down which my then-girlfriend (love lost) Lynne would expertly wedel. And, of course, the highlight of my annual pilgrimage to my alma mater is seeing my favorite collegiate soccer team – the Binghamton Bearcats – in action! Let's Go Bearcats!
Homecoming – it really is just that!
See the full schedule of events and register by Oct. 5, at homecoming.binghamton.edu. Friends truly make Homecoming special. After you register, reach out to them through Facebook and the B-Connected online community. Encourage them to join you for Homecoming.
If you have any questions about the weekend's activities, contact the Alumni Relations office at firstname.lastname@example.org or 607-777-2424. We look forward to seeing you here on campus in the fall.