More than a thousand EMU alumni and parents of students will celebrate homecoming and family weekend, Oct. 14-16, 2011.

“Same Locations, New Creations” for Homecoming 2011

HARRISONBURG, Va. – From the 25th anniversary of the opening of the Campus Center to the first-year anniversary of Eastern Mennonite University’s (EMU) first (but not last) “green” building, EMU alumni will have much to see and celebrate when they return the second weekend in October.

The second weekend in October each year, scores of former EMU students return to campus to reconnect with friends, classmates and the community. More than a thousand EMU alumni and parents of students will continue that tradition Oct. 14-16, 2011, as they celebrate homecoming and family weekend on the theme, “Same Locations, New Creations.”

“Our theme focuses on the large amounts of newly re-purposed space around campus,” said Doug Nyce, Director of Alumni Relations. “We want our weekend guests to see this first-hand and enjoy the festivities around campus.”

On Friday, the documentary “Pray the Devil Back to Hell,” by Abigail Disney, will be shown at 8 p.m., in University Commons (Yoder Arena). The documentary features Leymah Gbowee, a Center for Justice and Peacebuilding graduate and acclaimed leader of the women’s peace movement in West Africa. Gbowee will also receive the “alumnus of the year” award on Sunday while Glenn Lapp will be honored posthumously with the “distinguished service award.”

The EMU theater main stage production, “The Importance of Being Earnest,” a comedy directed by EMU assistant professor Thomas P. Joyner, will be presented 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday in Lehman Auditorium. Advance tickets are recommended and are available by calling the EMU box office at 540-432-4582 or by ordering online at

At 10:30 a.m. Saturday, alumni will be invited to mingle with fellow alumni on the lawn in front of Lehman Auditorium. A homecoming welcome program will follow at 11:15 a.m. in Lehman Auditorium with a performance by Steve Sachs and EMU Jazz & Swing Sisters Ensemble alumni. The group will be performing at 5 p.m. on Thomas Plaza in front of the Campus Center.

Alumni will then be dismissed by classes for group photos, reunions and lunch.

Breakfast meetings will be held Saturday morning for alumni and friends of the business and economics department, nursing department, the Suter Science Center, Bible and religion department (Haverim), Center for Justice and Peacebuilding, language and literature department,  and athletics (Loyal Royals – Hall of Honor).

The history department will host an afternoon reception at 2 p.m. in the Strite conference room of the Campus Center. A music department dessert reception sponsored by the Encore! Support group will be held at 2 p.m. in Lehman Auditorium, recital hall.

Special reunions are scheduled Saturday for members of the 2007 Guatemala and Mexico cross-cultural and for alumni who attended EMU 50 years ago or more.

The class of 1961 will be honored and inducted into the Jubilee Alumni Association on Saturday at 5 p.m. in Martin Chapel.

Steve Leaman, a 1979 alumnus and principal of Broadway High School in Broadway, Va., and Paul Leaman, a 1986 alumnus and head of Eastern Mennonite School, will give the 2011 Jesse T. Byler lecture on the topic, “2 what r u called?,” 9 a.m. Saturday  in room 123 of the seminary building. The lecture is open to everyone but registration is encouraged.

Campus tours and carriage rides will be provided starting at 2 p.m. Saturday. Walking tours of campus begin at the Campus Center.

Exhibits featuring photos and art pieces from by EMU students and abstract artists Jill and Susan Finsen will go on display Friday, Oct. 14, in the third floor gallery of Hartzler Library and in the Margaret Martin Gehman Art Gallery. Both shows will be open for viewing throughout the weekend.

Field hockey, women’s volleyball and men’s soccer games are scheduled Saturday afternoon. Women’s volleyball hosts Mary Baldwin at noon with field hockey taking on Washington and Lee at 4 p.m. Men’s soccer rounds out the athletic activity with a 7 p.m. game against Virginia Wesleyan.

The alumni baseball game at 10 a.m. Saturday will give opportunity for former Royals to play the current EMU baseball team, followed by a cookout at noon.

The annual Paul R. Yoder Sr. Memorial Golf Classic will take place Friday, Oct. 7, with morning and afternoon starts, at the Heritage Oaks Golf Course in Harrisonburg.

Special activities for children (kindergarten through fifth grade) and youth (grades 6 through 12) are scheduled at various times Saturday, and childcare will be provided if pre-registered. Reservations are necessary for children and youth activities.

Activities will culminate with the homecoming worship service 10 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 16, in Lehman Auditorium. Recipients of the “alumnus of the year” and “distinguished service award” will be recognized during this time.

The registration desk in the University Commons will be open 3-9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 14, and 7:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 15.

For more information, see the EMU web site (, call the alumni office at 540-432-4245 or e-mail: