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Alumni help kick off Homecoming

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Alumnae Wendy Lau, Mary Anne Mendoza and Lindsey Shiomi socialize at the inaugural Kickoff and Awards Reception Friday night in the University Quad. The event included tables labeled by alumni’s graduation decade and awards for alumni. / photo by Melody Blazauskas

Alumnae Wendy Lau, Mary Anne Mendoza and Lindsey Shiomi socialize at the inaugural Kickoff and Awards Reception Friday night in the University Quad. The event included tables labeled by alumni’s graduation decade and awards for alumni. / photo by Melody Blazauskas

Erica Sanchez
Staff Writer

Alumni gathered at the University Oct. 5 for an alumni awards reception and other activities to kick off Homecoming.

Food, music and nostalgia filled the air as alumni laughed and danced the night away under the twinkling lights.

Alumnus Thomas Allison, assistant debate coach and mock trial coach, was the recipient of the Graduate of the Last Decade Star Award, for alumni who stand out for work in diversity, inclusivity and community engagement.

David Kransnow, dentist, was awarded the Ann and Steve Morgan Leopard of the Year Award, for success in his field of dentistry.

Manuel Lopez, alumni board president, spent the night connecting with some of his old friends.

“People meet their lifetime friends here,” Lopez said. “This is a family.”

For the first time this year, current Homecoming royalty were able to meet with past Homecoming Court members at this event, said Monique Avila, a previous Homecoming Court participant.

Avila, a member on the alumni advisory board, has been to every Homecoming since she attended ULV 10 years ago.

“I still feel the connection as when I was here, it’s the same spirit,” Avila said.

Marie McMurray, an alumnus, was accompanied by her long-time best friend Lydia Figueroa, who graduated last year.

“The one thing that stands out about the University is how small it is,” McMurray said. “The classes are small…You become friends with the teachers, they want you to succeed,” McMurray added.

“Having a degree opened a lot of doors for me,” Figueroa said.

Both women were dressed up in leopard print from head to toe.

“I call myself the dancing leopard,” Figueroa said.

“There is something awesome about all the students meshing together, you can’t describe it,” Homecoming committee president Christopher Braunstein said. “The past, present and future all come together in one day.”

Erica Sanchez can be reached at erica.sanchez2@laverne.edu.

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