Photo of Spartie with 2022 homecoming court members Jerry Ukwela, Paola Giammattei and Grayson Holt
From left: 2022 homecoming court Jerry Ukwela, Paola Giammattei and Grayson Holt

Back with a bash: Homecoming weekend gets reimagined for 2022

When planning Case Western Reserve University’s first full-fledged homecoming since 2019, organizers seized the opportunity to reimagine some of the events. This included a bigger and more ambitious opening night celebration, a pregame party instead of a parade, and a free Saturday night homecoming concert with singer and rapper Sean Kingston on East Bell Commons, co-sponsored by the University Program Board and Office of Student Activities and Leadership.

Kicking off the festivities on Thursday, students, families, alumni and friends donned their best blue and gray at Blue Bash. Previously a “Blue Block Party” at Toby’s Plaza, this year’s event moved to Freiberger Field. The far larger space allowed more alumni and students to showcase their talents, including a colorful chalk portrait at the entrance to Tinkham Veale University Center by Anna Arnold (GRS ‘10, art education), music by DJ Rachel Hunt (CWR ‘12) and demonstrations from student groups such as the Case Rocket Team and CWRUbotix. People of all ages toured the dynamic, street festival-style event that featured food, games and a 360-degree photo booth, closing the evening with a fireworks display.

Over the next few days, more than 100 events took place across campus. They included the College of Arts and Sciences’ all-alumni reunions for biology, chemistry and Spanish majors; continuing education courses for in-person and virtual audiences at Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing, School of Dental Medicine, Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences and School of Law; the rededication ceremony to mark the 20th anniversary of Weatherhead School of Management’s Peter B. Lewis building; the Case School of Engineering’s inaugural picnic in Tomlinson Hall; and networking and mentoring events among School of Medicine alumni and students.

After sharing a photo of the newest member of his family—a 124-pound rescue dog named Adelbert (affectionately called Bert)—at the Alumni Association’s Homecoming Luncheon, President Eric W. Kaler shared news about the university’s initiatives in diversity, equity and inclusion; the goal of increasing annual research expenditures from $440 million to $600 million; and a commitment to more robust community engagement.

Kaler closed his remarks quoting an African proverb that states: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

The luncheon also included the presentation of Alumni Association awards

  • John “Jack” Dannemiller Jr. (CIT ’60, MGT ’64), Distinguished Alumni Award
  • Timothy J. Miller, PhD (GRS ’08, pharmacology), Professional Achievement Award
  • Cheryl McRae-Bergeron, DNP (NUR ’94), Newton D. Baker Distinguished Service Award
  • Oliver L. Poppenberg Sr. (CIT ’59), Daniel T. Clancy Alumni Service Award
  • Felipe Gómez del Campo (CWR ’16), Young Alumni Award

On Saturday at the Frank N. and Jocelyne K. Linsalata Alumni Center, attendees of Spartie’s Pregame Party were treated to all-you-can-eat stadium food and a rousing performance by the CWRU marching band before heading over to DiSanto Field to celebrate the members of the 2022 Homecoming Court (Jerry Ukwela, Paola Giammattei and Grayson Holt) and cheer the Spartans to a 45-21 victory over St. Vincent College.