News & Events
Homecoming 2011 Will Be Out of This World
Homecoming at Mars Hill College has been undergoing a transformation over the past three years, and planners hope that this year will deliver a 1-2-3 punch, so that alumni of all ages and interests will come away agreeing that their experience on campus, October 6 through 8, was “Out of This World.”
ONE: For the first time ever, the upper quad of Mars Hill College will be abuzz with a Homecoming Festival on the Saturday of the homecoming game, October 8, from 9 am until game time at 1:30 pm. Alumni from all over the eastern U.S. are on tap to set up booths, sell their wares, and demonstrate crafts on the quad. Student organizations will also be on hand to make informational booths and sell items for fundraising. Games for the children will make the festival doubly attractive for young families. Performances from the national champion Bailey Mountain Cloggers at 11:30 am, 12:00 noon and 12:30 pm should make for some toe-tappin’, dust-raisin’, floor stomping fun for students and alumni of all ages.
According to Executive Director of Alumni Relations Fifi DeGroot, the festival will replace the traditional Mars Hill College homecoming parade that had been declining in popularity in recent years. “Our idea for the Homecoming Festival is to create a lot of energy on campus on the day of homecoming, so that families have lots of activities to choose from. The festival will also provide a venue so that alumni from years past can meet and talk to today’s students and see what their Mars Hill experience is like.”
The theme of homecoming, “Out of this World,” was chosen by students and will no doubt ensure an event of extra-terrestrial proportions.
TWO: For the second year, the Dynamic Imperials will be performing a classic blend of beach music and rhythm and blues in Chambers Gymnasium on Friday evening, October 7 beginning at 6 pm. Alumni of all ages are welcome to fill up on a dinner of North Carolina barbeque before dancing the night away.
The band is a story in itself, and provides a picture of the enduring friendships formed during the college years. The Dynamic Imperials first performed during their college years in the late 60s as “Bob Drake and the Imperials.” Last year, more than 40 years after all ten members had graduated and gone their separate ways, the friends reunited by reestablishing the band. Their primary venue has been MHC Homecoming, but they have played at other events as well.
According to tenor sax player Bill McNeil (MHC class of ’69), the band has inspired him and his fellow band members to rekindle the “old flame,” of music. “Not only have we rekindled relationships between the band members, but we have all rekindled our very first love, that being music, that has stayed with us for lo these many years. Now we’re able to pull it all back together,” he said.
THREE: For the third year, a group of alumni led by Skip and Susan Liles (MHC classes of ’69 and ’71 respectively) are planning and promoting the MHC Alumni and Friends Golf Tournament to raise money for athletic scholarships. The tournament will be held at Grove Park Golf Course in Asheville on Friday, October 7, beginning at 12 noon.
In only two years, the tournament has raised in excess of $30,000. When the event was launched in 2009, 44 golfers participated. Last year’s event doubled that number with 88 golfers, and this year’s planned participants have already surpassed 100 golfers.
The potential for fundraising this year is doubly exciting, because an anonymous donor has committed to match any net proceeds from this third annual tournament, dollar-for-dollar, up to $40,000. Quite appropriately, the first sport to benefit from the tournament proceeds will be the golf team, with scholarships for other nonrevenue sports to follow, as funds become available.
According to Skip Liles, the goals of the golf tournament were twofold: to raise money for golf and other sports and to give alumni more activity choices when they return to their alma mater during homecoming.
“We wanted to give back to Mars Hill financially, but we also wanted to do something that would stimulate people to come back to campus, to give alumni a chance to see the people they knew from their years here at Mars Hill and to make the whole homecoming experience something that was really worth the cost of traveling to homecoming,” he said.
PUNCH: The homecoming football game, featuring the MHC Lions versus the Wingate Bulldogs, is the culmination of a pleasing punch of homecoming events, sure to inspire alumni of every age and interest.
A partial list of additional events for the weekend includes:
- The traditional Chili Cookoff and Lion’s Growl Pep Rally;
- A faculty/alumni coffee including both current and retired professors;
- A performance of the MHC choir, featuring both current and alumni members;
- A performance of the MHC band (during halftime of the football game), featuring both current and alumni members;
- An MHC theatre arts performance of Jekyll and Hyde: The Musical, planned to coincide with homecoming weekend;
- Alumni games for former athletes in baseball, soccer and lacrosse;
- The semi-annual National Alumni Board meeting and special recognitions of MHC Alumni of the Year for both junior and senior college years;
- A coinciding homecoming event at Mars Hill Baptist Church on Sunday morning, with a performance by current and alumni members of the MHBC choir and a message by Dr. Robert Seymour, former pastor of the church.
For specific times, locations, and costs of each event (where applicable), see the full homecoming lineup.
Contacts for specific events/topics:
- Golf Tournament: Skip Liles (MHC class of ’69) – Homecoming Tournament Chairman – 704/293-2447
- The Dynamic Imperials: Bill McNeill (MHC class of ’69) – Sax player – 910/228-1677
- Class reunions and Mars Hill Baptist homecoming: Fifi DeGroot (MHC class of ’58) – MHC Executive Director of Alumni Relations – 828/689-1438
- Football game and alumni sporting events: Rick Baker – MHC Director of Sports Information – 828/689-1373
- MHC alumni/current student band performance: Michael Robinson – MHC Director of Bands – 828/689-1210
- MHC alumni/current student choir performance: Dr. Joel Reed – Director of Choral Activities and Chair of Music Department – 828/689-1131