CSU National Alumni Association Brought Homecoming 2021 to YouPublished Tuesday, March 16th, 2021
Coppin State University Alumni come together to have Happy Hour.
By Beverly Richards
Amid the global pandemic, members of the Eagle Nation came together, virtually, to celebrate and reconnect at one of their most honored traditions— Homecoming. The format offered new and safe ways for alumni to celebrate their alma mater from the security and comfort of their homes. “We decided to do a virtual homecoming because we felt it was important to reconnect with our alumni in a meaningful way,” said Kimberly Nelson, Director of Alumni Engagement.
President Anthony Jenkins kicked off Homecoming with a virtual State of the University address. He praised the strength and resiliency of faculty and staff, and that his optimism for Coppin’s future was based on how the campus dealt with adversity—head-on. “This time has allowed us to take inventory of what’s important to our beloved Coppin. It has allowed us to reimagine. Our faculty has done amazing work in ground-breaking research, exemplifying outstanding leadership, rendering local, national and global recognition for their hard work,” said President Jenkins. He also shared how Coppin is trending in the “right direction” and will continue to be “future focused.” Graduation rates for the University have increased. We are onboarding online and new degrees. And the University’s capability for research will increase through the creation of four innovative Centers: The Center for Nanotechnology; Center for Organic Synthesis; Center for Strategic Entrepreneurship; and the Center for Career Excellence. President Jenkins concluded the address with a challenge for faculty and staff to “find ways to be more agile and embrace the mindset of seeking continuous improvement.”
There were several other virtual events planned for Homecoming weekend. Thursday evening, the festivities moved quickly into high gear with a Zoom Cocktail Hour, with host Bar 51. Attendees received “care packages” with all the ingredients—recipe cards to a couple of cocktails for the heavyweights, a mocktail formula for the lightweights, a special glass and coaster. Alumni won prizes, poked fun at each other and reminisced as President and First Lady Jenkins heard firsthand why Coppin is so loved.
Friday evening, everyone was charged up with credit cards on hand for the Pop-up Shops. At-home screens were filled with samples of earrings, baubles for necks and fingers, eyewear, fraternity and sorority wear and Coppin gear. “It was an opportunity to have some fun and support local businesses,” said Nelson. There was something for one and all.
Saturday morning the alumni came together for the CSUNAA General Body Meeting. President Jenkins bought greetings and said his desire was to see them rekindle relationships, help develop strategies to bring Eagles back to the nest. “I want to create traditions and a culture around Coppin that is second to none.” Later that afternoon, it was time to get your groove and sweat on. Dance instructor and alum, April Williams led alumni through the box steps, shuffles and slides of the latest line dances.
The weekend culminated with the annual worship service. Kevin Carr, alum and Program & Enrollment Specialist for CSU Graduate Studies, graced participants with songs of worship. Alumnus Bishop Solomon Omo-Osagie II, Pastor of Impact Pentecostal Fellowship Church of God in Christ (Edgemere, MD), delivered the Word. The finishing touch was the Jazz Brunch. Alumni were serenaded by Gerrell and Friends with selections from Marvin Gaye, Frankie Beverly and Maze and other musical notables.
“My favorite memory from Homecoming this year was the encouraging toast from President Jenkins. Not only did he inspire the alumni to continue or become more active, [but] it takes all of us to help Coppin soar like an eagle,” shared Torrion Carter, Parliamentarian and Sergeant-at-Arms, CSU National Alumni Association.
“Homecoming gave us an opportunity to laugh and dance together. We celebrated our recent successes. Supported each other’s businesses and discussed ways to assist future alumni. I believe we made the right decision [going virtual]. I could feel the energy in the “room.” I could hear the laughter. I could see it by looking at the smiles on everyone’s faces,” shared Nelson.