The Penobscot Times

UMaine homecoming to happen virtually amid pandemic

ORONO, Maine — The University of Maine’s annual homecoming weekend will go online this year amid the coronavirus pandemic with a series of events including a virtual tailgate party and presentations by university faculty members. 

“It became evident months ago that Homecoming could not be held as an in-person event,” Annie Cutler, vice president of the university’s alumni association and Homecoming coordinator said. 

“With President [Joan] Ferrini-Mundy’s enthusiastic support, we’ve pulled together dozens of programs and activities that alumni and friends can enjoy from a cozy chair or couch at home.” 

This year’s virtual homecoming weekend events will be held Oct. 16 through Oct. 18. 

“During the pandemic we’ve learned a number of lessons, including how to continue to gather, celebrate and have important conversations with people from all over, remotely,” Joan Ferrini-Mundy, President of UMaine at Orono and Machias, said. 

“We will miss seeing everyone on campus for Homecoming this year, but the online offerings will continue the tradition of bringing Black Bear Nation together.”

The events will kick off Friday afternoon with a welcome and Question and Answer session led by Ferrini-Mundy. There will also be some pre-homecoming online events earlier in the day. 

The welcome will be followed by presentations from university faculty members including Habib Dagher, executive director of the Advanced Structures and Composites Center, and Political Science Professor Richard Powell — who is also this year’s recipient of the university’s Distinguished Maine Professor Award. 

Later in the weekend, the Versant Power Astronomy Center will host a “stargazing” event from the Jordan Planetarium. 

Black Bear Athletics will host a virtual “Tailgate Party,” on Saturday and rebroadcast UMaine’s 2018 homecoming football game via Zoom, Facebook Live and Twitter. 

Some university faculty members who are involved in COVID-19-related research will host a discussion and answer questions about the pandemic. Other social clubs and academic groups are expected to host virtual gatherings throughout the day, as well.

A complete list of the virtual events can be found via the university’s homecoming website. 

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