It is often easy to overlook the obvious. In that regard, Homecomings are only possible when a place you call home exists. Over the past couple of weeks, we enjoyed our first Tennessee Tech Homecoming as president and first family. All the associated events were outstanding. Plus the weather was beautiful, and the energy was infectious. I was particularly struck by two things: the excitement of our students and the loyalty of our alumni.
Homecoming banners, the parade, the tailgate, the game, the halftime show, the crowning of Homecoming King and Queen, the concerts, and all the breakfasts, luncheons and dinners showcased the terrific level of participation and energy of TTU students. Our students demonstrated talent and creativity with amazing banners and Homecoming floats. However, what struck me most was how much fun the students were having and how much pride they felt in their organization, their Tennessee Tech and their Homecoming.
On the other hand, so many wonderful alumni made the effort to return to their campus for Homecoming 2012. Every alum had a story to tell and special memories to share. For example, Mr. Ralph Hawkins (’56) has not missed a TTU Homecoming in 12 years. How is it that despite so much competition for our time in today’s hectic world, so many alumni make it a priority to return to their alma mater? I believe the answer is very simple: this is home. Truthfully, preparations for Homecoming 2012 didn’t start in August or September. This Homecoming began 10, 20, 30, and in some cases, more than 50 years ago when these returning alumni were students. This is home because they made it home. This campus is special to them because they made the effort years ago to build relationships and make it a special place.
Homes don’t happen by accident. People deliberately create them with patience and care. Just as the foundation for Homecoming 2012 was laid many years ago, future Homecomings take on meaning every day on our campus. Indeed, home is what you make of it, and we are continuing to make a great one at Tennessee Tech.
Special congratulations to our 2012 Homecoming King Alex Hutto and Queen Samantha Sherrell, the Homecoming Court, and all the competition winners. Thanks to everyone for making Homecoming 2012 another wonderful memory and a piece of TTU history.