It was by far the busiest homecoming that York University has ever hosted as several hundred guests were welcomed to campus for a beautiful weekend, October 21-23. Alumni returned to relive their great college memories and to see the changes that have blessed their alma mater over the last few months. The weekend schedule included the usual: a theatre department production, golf scramble, alumni reception, chapel, choir concert, Athletic Hall of Fame induction, soccer and volleyball games, and class reunions. But the once-in-a-lifetime events put it over the top as far as homecomings go.

  • The Board of Trustees met for the first time in the Glen and Mary Byars Board Room on the third floor of Hulitt Hall. The Byars were instrumental in the 1956 rebirth of York College. Serving on the original board for the “new” school, investing themselves as donors, and enrolling both of their children as students were just a few of the steps they took to foster Christian education.
  • Ribbon cutting for the Studebaker Residence Hall (formerly Kiplinger Apartments) honoring Wayne and Harriet Studebaker, longtime supporters of York University. The Studebakers have always considered their support of YU as a partnership of interest and passion for Christian education in Nebraska.
  • Rededication of Hulitt Hall - Originally constructed in 1903, the structure has been transformed into a focal point for campus visitors and a hub for campus services for students. The iconic campus building received a major makeover, thanks to a $3 million gift provided to kick-start the project in 2019. In addition, over $600,000 was given by alumni and friends to complete the project this past summer. Video Link
  • Grace and Gayle Napier Plaza on the northwest side of Hulitt Hall was dedicated. The Napier’s dedication to Christian education and community service during the early years of York University (1958-1973) touched the hearts and souls of many, and the impact of their dedication continues to be manifested in our lives today.
  • Thanks to a recent gift from an anonymous donor, a new name was revealed for the 12th Street Suites purchased in May 2021. The few who knew about the amazing gift and name were sworn to secrecy until it could be announced for the first time during Homecoming Chapel that the impressive facility will now be named after Steve and LaRee Eckman. Video Link
Friday’s Homecoming Golf Scramble was won by Aaron Conyers ’15, Zane Pfau ‘19, Aaron Alvarez ’20, and Jessica Simants 22’ and raised $300 for the golf program. It was followed that evening by the President’s Reception for all alumni. The weekend also featured the York University Athletic Hall of Fame induction of Nick Harlan ’01, Lynnette Pickering ’01, and Carolyn (Barr ’02) Johnston.

Homecoming Chapel was a packed house as Grant Rathe ’03 led the singing, Eric Jacobson ’90 had the opening prayer, and Dr. Jordan Sikes ‘03 gave the morning’s address. Chapel was followed by a moving performance by the York University Singers which included an instant classic “Marching to Zion,” arranged by YU’s own Lester Ray Miller III ‘00 and a commissioned piece by the Sikes family “You Will Come to Life” composed by Dr. David von Kampen. A host of alumni joined students on the risers for the traditional closing songs. 

Following the concert, Annie (Keesee ’01) Johnson of Wichita, Kan., was recognized with the Young Alumna of the Year award and Dr. Steve (’71) and LaRee (Scroggin ’71) Eckman were honored as Alumni of the Year. Before they could take a seat, President Smith whispered for them to remain on the stage for a special surprise presentation and then announced that York University's newest residence hall will now carry the name of Eckman Hall, honoring the service and dedication of Steve and LaRee to York University. Steve, who served as president from 2009 to 2020, now serves as chancellor. 

During sets of an electrifying women’s volleyball match in which they defeated Sterling College 3-0, the York University Homecoming Court was introduced. Pictured above are this year's king and queen: Luka Gelb and Jess McGrath. Luka is from Tucson, Ariz., and pursuing his bachelor's in business management and his master's in organizational and global leadership. He is the senior class representative in student government and is a student assistant coach for the men’s basketball team. Jess is a biology–exercise science major from Widnes, England. She is a midfielder on the women’s soccer team and a guard on the basketball team.

Senior candidates for queen were Emily Eggar of Wolf Point, Mont., Grace Gaer of Irwin, Iowa, and Jasmine Scarbrough of Arlington, Texas. King candidates were Sal Fernandez of El Paso, Texas, Jordan Strong of Bellevue, Neb., and Alex Villa of Ridgecrest, Calif. Attendants honored from the freshmen class: Lauren Perez of El Paso, Texas, and Andy Jewell of Fort Worth, Texas, sophomores: Macey Truitt of Derby, Kan., and Bryson Adams of Clarksville, Tenn., and juniors: Abbe James of Edmond, Okla., and Austin Grant of Gardnerville, Nev.

Besides class reunions and dinners going late into the night, weekend guests were treated to a Friends Reunion Concert in McGehee on Saturday. As part of the 1982 class reunion, Brett Osborne and Brett Carter got the band together and gave a very memorable concert that included their early 80s repertoire and plenty of nostalgia. 
Mark your calendars for Songfest, April 6-8, 2023.