Alumni and friends come together for weekend of fellowship during Homecoming & Reunion Weekend

School pride and festive spirits were on full display for Elon's annual Homecoming and Reunion Weekend.

Kristi Price ’02 and TJ Reynolds-Emwanta ’01 have been best friends – self-described sisters – since they first met each other on Elon’s campus more than 20 years ago. Both have aunts who are alumnae and both gravitated to each other based on their unique differences. “I had the longest name, and she came from the furthest distance,” Reynolds-Emwanta said.

Marching band playing for tailgate crowd.
The Fire of the Carolinas marching band entertaining the tailgate crowd before the Homecoming football game on Saturday, Nov. 5.

But during the Homecoming and Reunion Weekend, both longtime friends bonded over their unique Elon experiences and how they wouldn’t be the people they are today without Elon. “When you come back to campus, you’re able to connect with people that you don’t even know. And having that sense of family, even with people that you don’t know, that’s unique,” Reynolds-Emwanta said.

“You never feel like you’re alone,” Price echoed at the Welcome Home College Coffee at Scott Plaza on Saturday morning. “When you think about something like College Coffee, what other institution does this?”

Those deep bonds, distinctive traditions and poignant stories were found all throughout Homecoming and Reunion Weekend as thousands returned to campus for a weekend of fellowship and community.

Three students gazing at fireworks.
Students watching the fireworks finale at the 2022 Rock the Block: #ELonHome Community Block Party on Friday, Nov. 4.

On Friday, the Elon community gathered on Young Commons for the annual Rock the Block celebration with live music, food and activities for all ages. The Class of 1972 Golden Alumni were also honored during a special luncheon and induction ceremony with President Connie Ledoux Book and presented with their medallions to commemorate the milestone.

Other social events such as the Phoenix Walk with President Book, various departmental social gatherings and open houses, the Oak Originals Pop-up and expansive tailgating gave both new and seasoned alumni the opportunity to connect and provided ample fun for the entire weekend.

Woman in crown laughing at tailgate celebrations.
Elon Homecoming & Reunion 2022 gave all alumni a chance to celebrate their beloved alma mater.

The weekend offered a chance for alumni to catch up and reminisce. Dan Hoopes ’73 and Steve Patterson ’73 were roommates and have been frequent visitors to Elon since graduating. As students, both men were heavily involved on campus with Hoopes serving as a member of the Honor Court and playing a role in the creation of Elon’s first mascot – the Fighting Christian – and Patterson as a tennis player and member of the Society for the Advancement of Management. Both saw Elon grow from a small regional college with an enrollment of just more than 2,000 to a nationally recognized university with a student body more than triple the size.

And with all those changes, both feel just as connected with Elon as ever. “I feel like I’m home,” Hoopes said during the All Alumni Tailgate on Saturday.

“We absolutely love the school and to see how it’s grown,” Patterson said.

Fan dressed as goalpost cheering at Rhodes Stadium.
Thousands gathered at Rhodes Stadium to cheer on the Phoenix to their fifth straight home victory.

Khirey Walker ’11 has been an assistant professor in the School of Communication for just a few months. But his connection to Elon runs much deeper. As a former student-athlete with the football team, Walker was a familiar face on campus. But after graduating, he hadn’t been able to return as often as he would like. Homecoming gave him the long overdue opportunity to not only reconnect with old friends but remind himself of the pride he has in his alma mater.

“Everyone has started with an acorn and we leave with our sapling. I’ve seen a lot of individuals who graduated before and after me use their experience here to take off and do outstanding things with their lives,” he said. “It’s pride that we have [in Elon] and Homecoming is just an opportunity to recap all of that. And exchange ridiculous memories.”

Elon football player celebrating with pom poms during the Albany game.
Elon offensive lineman Jabril Williams pumps up the crowd during Elon’s dominate 27-3 victory over Albany.

While Walker enjoyed a dominant 27-3 victory by the Elon football team over the Albany Great Danes from the press box as a commentator for the game, Noleter Miller cheered on her son, Johncarlos Miller II ’25, among the thousands in the crowd at Rhodes Stadium.

This was the second Elon Homecoming she’s experienced and said the energy and excitement in the air was palpable as the Phoenix captured its fifth straight home victory and gained momentum into a possible FCS playoff berth.

“I’m looking forward to seeing some of the seniors that graduated last year that came back and meeting their parents because we are like a family,” Miller said. “So, this is like coming back to see family.”

Elon 2022 Homecoming Royalty court posing together during the Homecoming football game.
Christina Carr ’23 (left) and Mahogany Madden-Roberts were voted as 2022 Homecoming Royalty.

Mahogany Madden-Roberts ‘23 and Christina Carr ‘23 received the most votes from their classmates and were crowned Homecoming Royalty.

On Saturday, Elon hosted the LGBTQIA Community Enrichment Awards honoring those who have made a significant impact on the LGBTQIA+ community, and the Elon Black Alumni Network (EBAN) Alumni Awards Brunch which celebrated EBAN’s achievements over the last year and recognized the 35th reunion of the Omicron Epsilon chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.

Valerie Stewart-Rugbart ‘21 is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority and said she was excited about reconnecting with her sorority sisters after a year away from Elon. “After COVID, things are picking back up, so we’re all excited to see each other,” she said. “It’s been a good time catching up and soaking in those moments.”

Man dancing at table as seated woman smiles.
The All Reunions Party at Alumni Gym on Saturday, Nov. 5 provided a fun evening of music and celebration for all alumni.

Homecoming weekend concluded with the All Reunions Party which invited all alumni to mingle, dance and enjoy food and drinks with live performances from Soul Psychedelique Orchestra.

Scarlett Grose ‘91 said returning to Elon for Homecoming has been a bit of a double-edged sword. “I’m happy it’s growing, I’m thrilled. But when I go through campus, I’m like, ‘These buildings aren’t supposed to be here, what happened to my dorm,’” she said jokingly. “But it’s always good to see Elon doing so well.

“I’ve never met an Elon alum who didn’t have a positive experience here,” she added. “30 years later and it’s still going. Newer and young alumni are still enjoying it. It really is coming home,” Grose said.

Smiling woman holding "Elon" sign
The annual Rock the Block celebration kicked off a weekend of fellowship and community.