Joey Nastasiuk, (BA ’89), a member of Laurier’s 1987 Yates Cup champion football team, says watching Laurier legends including Rich Newbrough, Tuffy Knight and Don Smith honoured at University Stadium as part of 2022 Homecoming celebrations made for a special moment.
The pioneers of Laurier’s football program were honoured at Waterloo campus Homecoming in September, prior to a Golden Hawks game against the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees.
“What they have given to the Laurier community is beyond wins – it is the lasting life lessons and friendships that endure,” says Nastasiuk. “They are legendary for what they have done for so many athletes and alumni. We have so much to celebrate and be thankful for. No other school can compare.”
After two years of virtual programming, alumni were thrilled to return to Laurier’s Waterloo campus from Sept. 22 to 25 to enjoy all that Homecoming in Waterloo has to offer.
It was cold and bright on Saturday morning when Golden Hawks and their families started the day at Homecoming’s annual pancake breakfast. Soon after, alumni took time to recognize and celebrate 2022 Alumni Awards of Excellence recipients as part of a Saturday morning ceremony in Laurier’s Senate and Board Chamber.
In the afternoon, attendees headed to University Stadium to take in the football game. Energy was high – with advanced tickets to the game sold out – but Laurier fell by a narrow margin of 21-18 on the strength of a last-minute 55-yard field goal by Ottawa. As well as the game, participants enjoyed alumni and student endzone parties.
“My husband and I are both alumni,” said alumna Christine McKinlay (BA ’07), who was spending time with her family in the Alumni Endzone.
Presented at Homecoming, the Alumni Awards of Excellence recognize achievements of alumni, students and friends who have made significant contributions to the Laurier community.
Alumna of the Year
Robin Stevenson (MSW ’95)
Young Alumnus of the Year
Tarique Plummer (BSc ’18)
Community Impact Award (posthumous)
Lynn Macaulay (MSW ’94)
Entrepreneurial Spirit Award
Jessica Chalk (BBA ’11)
Forever Golden Hawk
Jeyas Balaskanthan (BA ’16)
Honorary Alumnus of the Year
“We have a great time bringing our kids to Homecoming to show them our university. And we love cheering on the football team together.”
After the game, the Forever Purple & Gold Dinner and Dance was held at the Delta Hotel, with the classes of 1972 and earlier celebrating their 50-year milestones with food, fellowship and dancing, as well as a performance by the WLU Alumni Choir. The classes of 1982 and 1992 also celebrated their respective 40th and 30th reunions during the event.
“It’s always great to see fellow alumni,” Jerry Young (BA ’64), a former chair of Laurier’s Board of Governors, said of the event. “It’s an opportunity to meet alumni of a different vintage, as well as parents and students. We all share the same conviction: our university is a very welcoming, close and sharing environment.”
Saturday Homecoming festivities continued with Wilf’s Night, which featured a performance by the Black Water Trio, which includes Fred Hale (BBA ’89), his wife Janet Hale (BMus ’90) and Drew Ness (BMus ’86).
Saturday is the busiest day of Homecoming, but not the only day that offers opportunities for engagement. Alumni had the opportunity to gather in-person on Thursday night for Wilf’s Trivia hosted by Kyle Armstrong (BA ’11), Friday night for a West Hall Reunion Tour and Dinner, and Sunday morning for the Homecoming Sunday Service at Martin Luther University College.
As well as in-person events, this year’s Waterloo campus Homecoming also featured two virtual events: a special Homecoming edition of Laurier’s Inspiring Conversations series and the WLUAA annual general meeting.
Branford campus Homecoming took place Oct. 22. Alumni returned to campus for a basketball game featuring students against alumni, a sold-out Business Technology Management program 10-year reunion, and an exclusive evening event for students in the new Level One Lounge in One Market.
The basketball game – the first to feature players on both teams exclusively from Brantford – came down to the final possession, with the student team earning a hard-fought 57-56 victory.
“It is always so wonderful to see alumni and their friends and families return to campus for Homecoming,” says Jason Coolman, vice-president, Advancement and External Relations at Laurier. “It’s particularly special this year. After two years of virtual programming, it really makes you feel like family to be here again.”