Homecoming Builds Special Bonds for Alumni & Students

Friday, October 14, 2022
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A record number of alumni, family and friends returned to enjoy Homecoming festivities this year while current students started building their own memories by constructing the bonfire and winning the football game.

Career and personal obligations may keep mechanical engineering alumna Debbie Kroll from returning to Rose-Hulman very often these days, but 2022 Homecoming festivities brought back the same emotions that welcomed her to campus as part of the college’s 1999 inaugural coeducation class.

“I know that the campus has changed, with new buildings and different faculty and staff members, but driving through the tree-lined front entrance was like being ‘home’ for me. It’s still the same Rose-Hulman that I cherish, filled with lots of special memories,” said Kroll, now an electrical vehicle validation engineer with the Stellantis multinational automotive company. This is her seventh company, with nine different jobs, in the 23 years since graduation.

“There’s been a lot of change in my life, but it’s nice knowing that Rose-Hulman is still the same place that I remember, with quality students and a caring faculty and staff,” she said. “The friendships that I made here have endured and are so special to me and my fellow classmates.”

The same sentiment was shared by other alumni from a spectrum of more than 60 years who returned for this year’s Homecoming festivities to reminisce and get reacquainted during class reunions, the pep rally and bonfire, golf outings, academic open houses, campus tours, and cheering the Fightin’ Engineers onto a 34-point victory on the gridiron. For some, activities started in mid-week when alumni recruited current students during the Fall Career Fair, an event that attracted a record 283 companies from across the country. 

“Rose-Hulman is ‘home’ for me and my family. I get emotional thinking about this place and the impact it had on my life,” said 1989 mathematics alumnus Floyd Yager, a recently retired senior vice president with Allstate Insurance. His son, Michael, is a junior majoring in mathematics and data science, while being a pitcher on the baseball team. “It’s still a beautiful campus with a small campus feel and people that care about you and your success. It’s great that our son is now making his own memories here.”

Building their own Homecoming memories, literally, were first-year students who continued the tradition of building the bonfire that was set ablaze beneath a spectacular fireworks display following the pep rally. 

“Every time I’m back I meet people who I hadn’t seen in nearly 50 years, when we were roaming campus just trying to figure things out – together. And it was like we had been lifelong friends,” said Ronald Hough, a 1973 civil engineering alumnus. “There are shared experiences with lots of hard work, and some hijinks and other fun times that attach us to this place. That’s what makes alumni come back whenever possible.”

The Office of Alumni Relations reports a record number of alumni, family members and guests registered for Homecoming activities this year. 

“You’re not here for four years, you’re at Rose-Hulman for life,” remarked former residence hall and fraternity leader Chris Inman, who a 2000 mechanical engineering graduate who added a master’s degree in biomedical engineering in 2002. He is now a business area manager with Raytheon Technologies Corporation. “Rose-Hulman opens a sea of opportunities for its students and it’s delightful to see where all our alumni go with their degrees. It’s amazing to see the contributions they’re making across the country and world.”