On a chilly weekend in early October, the campus was full of alumni reminiscing about their university days, prospective students dreaming about the future and current students simply enjoying the festivities. The first Alumni Homecoming in about a decade ran from Oct. 4 to 6. It converged with the annual Discovery Day for prospective students, turning Oct. 5 into one giant party in honour of U of T’s 175th anniversary.
While U of T has hosted homecomings in the past, for the last 10 years it has held an annual October open house for the larger community. The event was called U of T Day until the last few years when the focus shifted to student recruitment, and it was renamed Discovery Day. Dr. Robert Bennett (DDS 1963), a Governing Council member and longtime proponent of the fall festivities for all alumni, says, “Coupling homecoming with Discovery Day gave access to the two ends of our community that we most want to engage.”
The big day included a homecoming parade down St. George Street and Supper Under the Stars on Philosopher’s Walk with President Robert J. Birgeneau and his wife, Mary Catherine, which was attended by about 300 people.
Almost 30 U of T faculty members volunteered their time throughout the weekend to put on Classes Without Quizzes, giving alumni a stress-free way to go back to school for a day. Some of the best-attended classes were on subjects such as forensic science and the search for extraterrestrial life. Other homecoming events included a recital at the Soldiers’ Tower in celebration of the carillon’s 75th birthday, and a football game at Birchmount Stadium in Scarborough.
At least 5,000 prospective students also took the opportunity to get a taste of life at U of T by talking to faculty members and current students, meeting Varsity athletes and even sitting in on mini-lectures.