The University of St. Francis Alumni Office welcomed home a record number of alumni during Homecoming/Reunion Weekend Sept. 24 through 26. Director of Alumni Relations Aubrey Durish said the weekend had the highest rate of alumni participation in recent history.
“It was wonderful visiting with alumni who keep in contact with us regularly as well as meeting alumni who may not have been back to campus in over 50 years,” she said. “We love hearing their stories and showing them all the changes here on campus. They’re welcome to come home any time of the year.”
Durish attributes the success of this year’s Homecoming/Reunion celebration to a reorganization of events and the addition of the “Phone Home” campaign. The campaign, which was a part of the university’s 90th anniversary celebration, encouraged alumni to make contact with USF and update their contact information. Hundreds of alumni checked-in with the Alumni Office during the Alumni and Friends Tailgate Party—which was the weekend’s featured event—but hundreds more called, emailed or participated on the university’s Facebook page.
The Alumni Association’s annual dinner and awards ceremony, a mainstay of the Homecoming celebration, also grew in popularity. A near-capacity crowd gathered to honor five alumni who have experienced professional and personal success and/or exhibit the spirit of our patron saint, St. Francis.
This year’s alumni award winners were Dr. Billie Terrell, ’77; James “Jay” Hamilton, ’89, ’07; Dr. Stephen Morrissette, ’83, ’86; Martin J. Shanahan Jr., ’94; and Kelly (Pero) Petty, ’06. Another highlight of the weekend was the Class of 1960 reunion, nearly half of the living members of the 1960 graduating class returned to campus for their 50th reunion celebration.
USF has more than 42,000 alumni nationwide, including more than 18,000 in Illinois and with more than 6,000 in the Will County area.