Mercer’s Macon campus was swarming with orange and black Nov. 19 and 20 as alumni, students and faculty came out to celebrate Homecoming 2010.
For full photo and video highlights of the event, go>.
The weekend kicked off with the Mercer women’s basketball team matching up against Furman University. Although the Bears lost, the spirits of the crowd were quickly restored as they headed outside into a beautiful fall night to watch the skit competition and celebrate with a bonfire and pep rally on Bear Hill. Hundreds of students, faculty and alumni celebrated in the pep rally to fire up the men’s team for Saturday’s game against Harvard. The festivities concluded with a fireworks show over Bear Hill.
Senior Alice Crisp, a member of the committee that helped bring the bear to campus, speaks during the dedication ceremony Nov. 20.
Saturday morning began with a 5K run, followed by an orange pancake breakfast on Porter Patch and campus tours. The Mercer Athletic Hall of Fame also inducted four new members: B. Ray Hardman, CLA’62; former athletics director Bobby Pope; Mirela Ninic, CLA ’00, BUS ’05; and Watkins P. “Bud” Culbreath, CLA ’56 (posthumous).
In the afternoon, Mercer fans began tailgating before the game. Senior Michael Yanosy said tailgating is his favorite Homecoming event. “I got to hang out with alumni from as far back as the 1950s, recent graduates and current students,” he said. “It’s the one event that gives me a sense of legacy and Mercer tradition.”
One of the highlights of the pre-game festivities was a dedication ceremony for a 10-foot bronze bear statue in front of the University Center. The ceremony was originally intended to be an unveiling but, as President William D. Underwood joked, “I started thinking about what mischief might befall that bear if we left it covered with a veil for a whole week.. So we decided instead of an unveiling, we would have a dedication for our newest statue on campus.”
Scores of Mercer alumni gathered on the steps of the UC to welcome the newest addition to campus. When President Underwood encouraged the audience to conclude the ceremony with a hearty cry of “Go Bears,” Dr. Drayton Sanders, CLA’59, and member of the Half-Century Club, threw back his head and let out a fierce growl.
“This statue makes a tremendous addition to campus,” Dr. Sanders said.
Sanders’ wife, Mary Eta Clark Sanders, CLA ’58, agreed. “I think the university has needed such a symbol,” she said.
Following the unveiling, the crowd filed into the UC Arena to cheer on the Bears as they took on Harvard, eventually falling 75-69. The setback did not dampen the celebrations however, as several hundred alumni and community members crowded into downtown’s Cox Capitol Theatre for a Homecoming concert featuring the Kinchafoonee Cowboys to conclude the weekend’s festivities.