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Alumni News

Back on Campus: Homecoming 2021

Posted in: Alumni News and Events

Three alumni jumping up under balloon arch

As fellow Montclair State alumnus Christopher W. Fitzpatrick ’04 stated, “There’s nothing quite like homecoming for an alumnus or for a Montclair State family – seeing the campus abuzz with current students and all of the exciting changes always reaffirms our connection and commitment to our alma mater. It’s perfect.” Indeed, it was.

Homecoming 2021 marked the long-awaited return to campus for alumni and friends, who enjoyed an exciting day filled with fun, food and football! Visitors started the day at the Alumni Welcome Tent where they learned about Homecoming activities, sipped hot cider and reconnected with the University and fellow alumni. Visitors enjoyed the Street Fair along the University Promenade with carnival games, balloon artists, campus partners, student organization tables and much more! Many guests joined tours to check out the amazing changes to campus. The Homecoming Tailgate brought together alumni and friends and included a visit from Rocky and the Pep Band to get ready for the big game.

President Jonathan Koppell kicked off his first Homecoming by welcoming alumni and friends back to campus and sharing his vision for Montclair State University. View the presentation to listen to his inspiring remarks.

President Koppell on stage speaking to alumni
President Koppell takes the stage at Presentation Hall in the School of Communication and Media to address the crowd for the day.

To start the day’s events, members of The President’s Club, Montclair State University’s leadership giving society, came together for an exclusive luncheon to connect with one another and President Koppell.

“It was a pleasure meeting so many of our leadership donors at our President’s Club luncheon held on Homecoming Saturday,” said Jerry Appelstein, chair of The President’s Club. “I am pleased that we could come together to mingle, celebrate our common philanthropic bond to the Red Hawks, enjoy great food and hear from our new President Dr. Jonathan Koppell. The positive energy in the room was breathtaking.”

Three alumni pose at homecoming

Many exciting athletics events and activities were held all throughout campus, including Field Hockey, Football and Soccer, as well as a Game Day Live! Program hosted by the Red Hawk Sports Network.

Students packed in tightly in stadium stands
Six members of the Red Hawk Sports Network pose wearing suits and ties

The Street Fair lined the promenade with delicious food stations, carnival games, balloon art and more! There was something for the whole family to enjoy. From the Street Fair, made their way down the street fair to enjoy the annual Student Talent Showcase at the historic amphitheatre.

Homecoming attendees pose with balloon hats and flowers
A Montclair State family poses in MSU sweaters

The signature Alumni Homecoming Tailgate was a great opportunity for alumni and friends to come together to celebrate Montclair State. The fun included tailgate games including corn hole and kan jam, craft beers, BBQ fair, with entertainment featuring a live band – The Weisenheimers.

Alumni and their families pose in MSU gear
Four alumni smiling in MSU gear

The event provided an opportunity for alumni to gather with and get to know some of our new affinity groups. Alumni had the opportunity to meet up with members of the Educational Opportunity Fund/Health Careers Program (EOF/HCP), Black Alumni Advisory Council (BAAC) and the Hispanic/Latinx Alumni Network (HLAN).

“Homecoming last Saturday was a well-organized opportunity for Montclair State’s Black Alumni Advisory Council to connect with and reintroduce ourselves to the MSU Community,” added Brenda Coleman-Caldwell, Vice President of BAAC. “ It was a great day and we loved being a part of it all! We look forward to welcoming our Alumni back home and partnering together to forward Montclair State University’s mission.”

Members of the Black Alumni Advisory Council pose behind their table

“The Hispanic/Latinx Alumni Network enjoyed being a part of last weekend’s Homecoming! Being at the Alumni Tailgate party was a wonderful way to connect with fellow alumni and the Montclair State community to promote this group and open the door to future collaborations,” stated Marilyn Moya ’98 of the Office for Hispanic Initiatives.

Five members of the Hispanic/Latinx Alumni Network pose in MSU gear

Another highlight of the day was the reunion of the Knute Rockne Championship Team celebrating their 50th anniversary of their championship game. The team was deemed the “greatest football team to ever play at Montclair State” as the only football team in New Jersey to ever win a national championship. The story of this historic game was told over the loudspeakers at Sprague Field as the members of the team were greeted by the spirit squads with roaring cheers and applause during halftime.

Members of the Knute Rockne Championship Team gathered on Sprague field

For those unable to make it to campus, there were many opportunities to join in online! Offerings included a webinar focused on professional development, a scavenger hunt, a yoga class led by alumna Camryn Chernick ‘21 and even a virtual trip through the solar system! All athletics games, Game Day Live and the President’s welcome remarks were streamed live to make sure all Red Hawks were able to celebrate Homecoming right from home.

Whether you attended in person or online, the day was a great success with thousands of alumni, friends and students coming together to celebrate their Red Hawk pride!