Welcome mat out for Homecoming '97

The UBC campus will welcome friends old and new at Homecoming '97, a six-day event that runs Oct. 14-19.

Among the highlights are class reunions, varsity football, the annual Great Trekker Award, a chance to meet UBC's new president Martha Piper and tour new facilities like the Koerner Library and the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts.

One of the new features of Homecoming '97 is Alumni Day. Held on Saturday, Oct. 18, it offers a personal greeting from Martha Piper and special tours of campus.

"Alumni have always been very welcome at Homecoming, as are students and their families and all UBC faculty and staff, but this year we really wanted to do something special for our past grads," said Leslie Konantz, associate executive director of the Alumni Association. "And that includes the 1,700 UBC grads who are among our current faculty and staff."

Alumni Day kicks off at 9:30 a.m. in the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts, where guests will munch on UBC's famous cinnamon buns, hear a welcoming address from Piper and be entertained by the UBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Jesse Reid. Tours will follow of the new Chan Centre, which has won national acclaim.

Visitors can get a look at the rest of campus when free bus tours are offered from noon to 4 p.m. Much has changed since many grads have set foot on campus. Tour highlights will include the Belkin Art Gallery, the C.K. Choi building, the Student Recreation Centre and the Koerner Library.

A closer look at the new state-of-the-art Koerner Library will be offered from 1-4 p.m. Advanced and beginner workshops on the World Wide Web will be given.

Meanwhile, over at Green College, guests at the 1 p.m. Alumni Lunch will hear UBC Vice-President, Research, Bernie Bressler give an overview of UBC's research strengths.

He is followed by engineering professor Indira Samarasekera who will tell lunch guests why steel is cheaper than onions, more environmentally friendly than aluminum and the building material of the future.

Also during Alumni Day, there are poetry readings at the First Nations Longhouse, the Apple Festival at the Botanical Garden and the Vancouver Institute Lecture featuring educator Larry Cuban.

Homecoming begins with the annual Favourite Professor Series. This year, historian Robert McDonald talks about Henry Bell-Irving, the Vancouver patriarch who built a financial empire in the 1880s. McDonald speaks in the Hotel Georgia on Tuesday, Oct. 14.

Other events include classical music concerts, a murder mystery night at Cecil Green Park House and an alumni varsity swim meet. On Oct. 17, the Thunderbirds take on the University of Alberta in a varsity football showdown.

Homecoming even extends far, far beyond Blanca Street. Alumni branches plan special events in Edmonton, pub night in San Francisco and Los Angeles and a sports day in Hong Kong.

For more information on Homecoming events, call 604-822-3313.