Two young Ram fans watch intently as the 2013 Albany State University Homecoming Parade makes its way through downtown Albany. (Staff Photo: Brad McEwen)
ALBANY — With attendance of nearly 30,000 people, Albany State University officials report that this year’s homecoming was one of the best in school history.
“I really think it was probably one of the better homecomings we’ve had,” said Vice President of Institutional Advancement Clifford Porter. “I think the only thing we could have ordered up was better weather.”
Despite Saturday’s rainy football game, Porter said the week was a success in every way.
Porter said, all of the week’s functions, including the alumni reunion dinners and luncheons, Saturday’s alumni golf tournament at River Pointe Golf Club and Sunday’s inaugural 5K run through campus, were well attended. Some alumni even travelled from as far away as Palo Alto, Calif. and Las Vegas, Nev.
“We had folks coming from everywhere,” said Porter. “They were literally from all over the country.”
According to Porter, homecoming continues to be the school’s biggest event, bringing the school a lot of exposure while also helping to raise funds.
“We’re still counting, but we’re already over $50,000,” Porter said. “That’s up from what we’ve had in the past.”
Porter said roughly one third of those in attendance were alumni of the school, and as graduating classes continue to increase, he feels that number, along with the overall attendance figures, to continue to rise in the coming years.
“It’s definitely growing every year,” Porter said. “I think we could definitely see a 50,000 people homecoming in three to four years.”
Porter continued by saying that every year, the school is reminded of how important the community is in making the week a success.
“We have to credit the city, Dougherty county, the convention and visitors bureau and the Chamber for helping us,” Porter stressed. “We could not have had such a great event without their help.”
Porter also added that in addition to the good turnout, one of the things that really made event planners happy, was the lack of any crowd-related incidents this year.
Porter reported there were no crimes committed on campus and there was only one medical issue that took place at the parade, something he attributes to the sheer number of attendees.
“When you have close to 15,000 people there, it’s likely someone might get sick,” he said. “There was one medical situation, which turned out to be a minor thing.”
Even with that one incident and the intermittent rain, Porter said the school couldn’t have asked for a better week.
“We were just really, really tickled,” he said. “It was a good week. It was just right.”
Echoing Porter’s sentiments was Albany Mayor and ASU alumnus Dorothy Hubbard, who said she was very impressed with how everyone conducted themselves and that she was proud of her school and her community.
“I am proud, very proud,” said Hubbard. “It was a huge success. I think all the alumni coming home from Ram Reunion had a great time. Our local people who participated did a great job. Our parade was beautiful. It was very well done. We won the game. It was a great celebration.”