Check-in—it was reminiscent of their time as students. But rather than a Welcome Notice and mailbox combination, arriving alumni were greeted with gift bags full of PCC memorabilia in the Academic Center. Things may have changed since they were students, but the feeling was the same, and Alumni Homecoming was the perfect time to return to campus to visit with long-lasting friends.
On the Friday campus tours, alumni visited some of the less accessible areas on or near campus. Some of the first tours visited the Abeka offices, the Print Shop, and the Distribution Center.“When I was a student here, I didn’t know a lot of what went on in the Abeka building or in the Distribution Center,” said Kerri Lehmann (’85). “It’s just really neat to see how all that comes together to make a ministry—to come back and see the behind-the-scenes part of the ministry.”
Some tours got a peek inside the Executive Offices and saw the rooms where much of the planning for PCC begins. Many took their chance to sit in President Troy Shoemaker’s desk chair and take a photo. During the first-look tour of Rice Tower, the new residence hall being constructed on campus, visiting alumni encountered spacious rooms on each floor and spectacular views from the rooftop.
As the cool evening settled on Eagle Field, alumni and current students alike enjoyed listening to PCCymphony’s Concert on the Green. Lively commentary from speech faculty Josh Hutt and Jacob Van Hall throughout the performance explained which classic cartoons each piece was used in. “I loved the Concert on the Green,” said Tanya Smith (’12). “We could bring our children to that, and they really enjoyed it, too.”
Saturday brought a dolphin cruise on Pensacola Bay, dinner with the Shoemakers, and the Eagles soccer game with s’mores. At the dinner, alumni fellowshipped and shared stories about their experiences of how things used to be. ”Homecoming provided an opportunity for alumni to reconnect and have a great time. We want alumni to know that we care about them and their families; we want to stay connected,” said Alumni Services Director Dustin McElreath.
Throughout their visit, alumni expressed hope for the future of PCC.
“I hope for [PCC] to be [a place] where my kids can come when they have their opportunity to come to college, and I really like their vision for having the students so involved in the process and making suggestions,” said Rachel Kennedy (’08).
Whether they had seen an ad, heard from a friend, or happened to be in the area, alumni enjoyed being able to see each other on the same campus that helped to shape them into who they are today. “I think it’s really neat coming back to campus for Homecoming. There’s a sweet spirit among the students. Everybody is just themselves, and it’s just a sweet spirit of unity,” said Kerri Lehmann.