Homecoming 2024: A Return to Tradition
February 5, 2024 | By Eve Tolpa
St. John’s College has not hosted a full Homecoming event since 2019, but that’s changing in 2024.
After a series of alternative arrangements were made in the intervening years—some virtual, some in person—Homecoming is being reinstated on both campuses with a format largely familiar to attendees, though with some adjustments based on responses to the college’s “Alumni Sentiment Survey for Fall Reunions in 2024.”
According to Kira Howard, Collegewide Senior Director of Alumni & Constituent Engagement, nearly 550 alumni from both campuses and all programs responded to the survey last November, and these findings are guiding the planning for the fall alumni gatherings in Annapolis and Santa Fe.
Says Annapolis President Nora Demleitner, “We are changing our approach to Homecoming based on alumni feedback. In a community with dialogue at its core, we appreciate the thoughtfulness of our alums and their commitment to St. John’s. I’m looking forward to welcoming our community to campus this fall.”
What can you expect in September?
Name change: Based on the overwhelming preference of alumni, it’s “Homecoming,” not “Reunion.”
A more inclusive event: Members of all classes will be invited to attend Homecoming, in addition to the milestone classes (5-50+).
Better communication: Even though Homecoming is eight months away, the college realizes it’s not too early to start sharing information with alumni. Please save the date for Santa Fe Homecoming, September 13-15, and Annapolis Homecoming, September 27-29. Starting in March, programming details will be available at www.sjc.edu/alumni/events. Because Homecoming communications will be distributed by email, you are encouraged to update your address at www.sjc.edu/alumni/connect/alumni-contact. The college is also exploring tools to make it possible to see who else will be attending.
A focus on what’s distinctive about St. John’s: The Johnnie community is unlike any other, and the college is building the Homecoming program to celebrate our uniqueness. There will be a dean-selected event on Friday night, a Saturday morning seminar followed by lunch, and an Alumni Association Board-hosted breakfast or brunch open to all alumni on Sunday morning. These anchor events will be supplemented by return-to-campus activities unique to Annapolis and Santa Fe: chorus, planetarium tours, and a waltz for Annapolis; and a hike, lab sessions, and swing dancing for Santa Fe. In addition, the Career Development Office in Annapolis and the Office of Personal and Professional Development in Santa Fe will host a networking event with current students so that different generations of Johnnies can meet each other.
Seminar opportunities for more alumni: Each milestone class (5-50+) on both campuses will have a seminar with registration capacity for 20 participants, as will the Graduate Institute. Once enrollment opens, anyone is welcome to register for a seminar closest to their class year. For 2024’s Homecoming seminar, Annapolis Dean Suzy Paalman selected The Bacchae by Euripides, and Santa Fe Dean Sarah Davis chose Shakespeare’s As You Like It.
Affordable and flexible: On the survey, alums overwhelmingly agreed that they prefer a Homecoming that is financially accessible to the widest population of alumni, so the college is prioritizing events that deliver the most fulfillment relative to cost. (This means that there are currently no plans for formal catered sit-down meals.) The Homecoming schedule is also being developed with flexibility in mind, leaving ample opportunities for alums to spend time together according to their own priorities—on campus or off—including Saturday evening.
Overall, says Howard, “we want this year’s events to be compelling, affordable, and well-attended while remaining financially attainable for the college as well as for our alumni.”