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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Alumni reflect on time at UA, campus changes as they return for Homecoming

Many alumni have returned to their alma mater this week to visit the place they once called home.

Homecoming is “a chance to become re-acquainted with old friends and see the campus and how it has changed,” said Bill Ruebsamen, a graduate from 1977. “Homecoming wasn’t as meaningful as a student. Reuniting with old friends at Homecoming every few years allows me to pretend I’m young for a weekend.”

Alumni who come back for Homecoming range from last year’s graduates to those who graduated more than 50 years ago.

“Homecoming is a time when I can reconnect with my roots and college life,” said Sean Mulvey, who graduated with a degree in finance in May 2010. “It’s very important to be here to see how things have changed, and in what directions life is taking everyone.”

Nancy Mills, the 1966 Homecoming queen and a 1968 English graduate said that, for her, Homecoming is about nostalgia. Mills, now a retired psychologist, said she is excited to return to the UA.
“It’s nostalgic to think about remembering how it was to walk around campus and see how beautiful was,” she said.

Although she said she probably will not see many friends while she returns for this Homecoming, it is fun to see how much everything has changed and how many things are still the same.

“As we age we hold onto the fond memories in life,” said David Byard, a 1977 graduate. “Our time at the UA was special and set the course for all our adult lives.”

Mark Hester never graduated with a degree from the UA, but still feels he is an alumnus nonetheless. He said he failed to graduate because he had to leave to go work, and said Homecoming was special to him as a student because it was a time to get away during school and to learn how to grow up a bit. Hester is now currently the president of Hester, Heitel and Associates, a commercial insurance firm located in Phoenix.

Keith Ballard, a UA and Arizona State University alumnus, was a student at the UA from 1982 to 1983 and graduated from ASU with a Bachelor of Science in 1985. “I remember how much fun I had at the UA,” he said. “I was very irresponsible as an 18-year-old teenager, but through growth I was able to gain both confidence and leadership.”

Ballard, now 48 years old, was a winner of the California Teacher of the Year award in 2002 as well as the Milken United States National Educator in 2003.

Mike Myers, who graduated in 1988 with a Bachelor of Science in business administration, said, “Homecoming is not just a party and a football game. It’s about reconnecting with friends, memories and my alma mater.”

Myers is now the president of Palio Communications, a global pharmaceutical and consumer advertising marketing and communications agency.

“I have rarely missed Homecoming since graduation as it in many ways recharges my batteries, brings back great memories and creates many opportunities for new ones,” he said. “I don’t feel old, but being at Homecoming definitely makes me feel young again.”

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