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Back to Bates

Homecoming meets Parents & Family Weekend

Story by Bates College October 9th, 2015

Double the Fun

This year, Bates combined the college’s two traditional fall weekends — parents weekend and alumni homecoming — into one big, three-day bash.

And big it was. The first edition of “Back to Bates: Homecoming & Family Weekend” more than doubled the campus population, from the usual 1,700 students to a giant Bobcat clowder of some 3,700 alumni, parents, family members, students, and friends.

It's that TIME OF YEAR

There’s no mistaking the colors, light, and feel of early autumn in Maine. Then add a few thousand people, and everything falls into place.

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SWEET EMBRACEABLE YOU

The human touch is everywhere at Back to Bates as parents see their children for the first time in a few weeks and as alumni reconnect with friends.

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Sometimes, it’s a double dose of Bates connections, like when alumni lacrosse players Kevin Helm ’12 and his father, Jeff Helm ’76 played together in the alumni game on Garcelon Field.

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BOBcats on the prowl

They call it the field of play. That’s true. And when Bobcats head into competition, it’s also fierce and intense for both players and fans.

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group discussions

Joined by Bates faculty, the college community took time to discuss issues of the day.

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Weekend discussions occurred around poster sessions, in speeches, and during panel discussions, and included topics like climate change.

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Bates faculty led a discussion about how the brief but definitive text known as the Declaration of Independence can be approached from the academic perspectives of classics, rhetoric, and politics.

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EXPRESSIONS

Arts events during Back to Bates had the kind of effect once described by the painter, poet, and essayist Marsden Hartley (1877–1943), a native of Lewiston whose works are in the Bates Museum of Art.

“What I have to express…must ‘come’ to the observer. It must carry its influence over the mind of the individual into that region of him which is more than the mind.”

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The annual fall concert featuring the Bates a cappella groups raises the roof of the 90-year-old Gray Athletic Building with song.

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On the Schaeffer Theatre stage, student performers previewed dance works and shared a scene from a forthcoming mainstage play, a new adaption of the Nutcracker story, Marie and the Nutcracker, by Martin Andrucki, Dana Professor of Theater.

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BREAking BREAD

Bates Dining Services is always in high gear. And when the campus doubles in size for a weekend, the turbo charger kicks in, and Christine Schwartz, assistant vice president for dining, conferences, and campus events, makes sure everything goes in the right direction.

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Friday evening’s Shabbat services and dinner, and the traditional blessing over children, followed by gatherings that were large (Harvest Dinner!) and ones that were more intimate, symbolized how the community was nourished, body, and soul, during the weekend.

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Celebrating contributions

On Friday evening, the college honored longtime ski coach Bob Flynn by naming the donor-funded, renovated Alpine and Nordic ski rooms in Alumni Gym in his honor. A legend in Maine skiing circles and beloved by his athletes, Flynn has been associated closely with Bates skiing as a head coach or assistant coach since 1968.

Other gatherings and events honored alumni and parent contributors to the Bates enterprise and to the betterment of the world at large.

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Footnote: Produced by the Bates Communications Office with text by H. Jay Burns and photography by Phyllis Graber Jensen, Josh Kuckens, Rene Roy, Max Huang '18 and Becky Woods.