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Bringing out the Gold and Blue: Shepherd University Homecoming celebration draws crowds, honors Shepherdstown resident

By Staff | Oct 5, 2018

Shepherd University's marching band performs during the Homecoming Parade along West German Street on Saturday morning. Photo by Tabitha Johnston.

SHEPHERDSTOWN — An explosion of navy and gold filled West German Street on Saturday morning, as Shepherd University students, faculty and alumni paraded down the street in their Ram regalia.

While many of the parade attendees were community members and alumni who drove or flew into the area to participate in the weekend festivities, Shepherd University Provost Scott Beard said the students participating in the parade were doing more than showing off their school spirit — they were vying for monetary prizes for their academic groups or Greek letter organizations, by presenting the best parade float.

“The students have celebrated Homecoming through a variety of competitions through the week, to win for the best lip sync battle and banner competitions and the overall float winner,” Beard said, mentioning the banner competition took place during the school’s Founder’s Day Parade on Friday morning and the lip sync competition was performed in Storer Ballroom on Sept. 26.

Other 2018 Homecoming Spirit Week competitions included a food drive display and quiz bowl.

The week’s competition entrees hinted at the Homecoming Spirit Week theme, “Broadway,” showcasing students’ creativity in their float, banner and lip sync themes, which were based on a variety of university-approved Broadway musicals, including “Legally Blonde,” “Hairspray” and “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.” Students also helped deck out the campus for competition points by participating in campus-wide events, such as the Campus Chalking.

“Homecoming is a big deal. It’s a really good event and helps to build school spirit.” Beard said. “We have such a large commuter population in the area, and this is an important event that brings the campus and community together.”

“The Homecoming Parade will have all the floats the students have made. It’s a fun event,” Beard said. “It’s one of the many Homecoming events we are holding this week. It celebrates the homecoming of Shepherd University’s alumni, and is a chance for the campus and community to come together and celebrate the Shepherd community.”

According to Beard, the Founder’s Day Parade was part of the university’s Founder’s Day Celebration, established by the university’s 15th president. During the celebration and Saturday’s football game, the university’s new Homecoming tradition of recognizing the university’s four Finest Under 50 alumni took place. The 2018-19 Outstanding Alumna of the Year, Francine Phillips, was also recognized at these events. Phillips is a 1982 Shepherd graduate and has served on the Alumni Association’s board of directors since 2011. She served as an adjunct or full-time faculty member at Shepherd for more than 30 years. Phillips is also an active member of the Shepherdstown community, and currently serves on the Shepherdstown Board of Appeals.

Although this year’s Homecoming celebration took place at an earlier date than usual — it usually is held on the first weekend in October — it still featured a full three-day weekend for alumni to enjoy. Alumni participated in a variety of events, including the Ram Band Reunion, Alumni Breakfast on McMurran Hall’s lawn, Shepherd University Athletic Club launch party, first annual College of Business Reunion Dinner, the Rams vs. Concord football game at Ram Stadium and the Alumni Association Homecoming Post-game Party at Town Run Tap House and Community Pub.