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Every Weekend Is Penn State Homecoming

by on April 26, 2011 6:00 AM

Hi, everybody!

I'm sure you’re more familiar with the official Penn State Homecoming weekend that always takes place in the fall, but this past weekend I realized that there are homecoming weekends happening here all year round. With Passover and Easter, several of the local (now-grown) kids have come back to visit and spend their holidays with their families—my daughters included.

They (as well as my wife and I) were thrilled to discover that on this same weekend, the Penn State men’s tennis team was also celebrating an alumni weekend. Several Penn State teams, fraternities and sororities, clubs and groups of friends plan Happy Valley weekends to catch up, reminisce, network and, above all, have fun making new memories here. For me, it's great when some recently graduated alumni stop in my office Friday to say hello, advising me of their weekend itineraries. Sometimes, I get lucky enough to be invited to meet up with them over the weekend and be a part of their homecoming fun.

This past weekend, my wife, Katie, and I were so thrilled to have our girls home, and it was even more fun with their friends, also here for the holiday weekend, around as well. Which brings me to why this weekend was more of a double treat for us.

Back to the men’s tennis homecoming/alumni weekend and why I was so excited to see the recent graduates. First, let me explain to you why I may play favorites to this team:

1. It's the one sport that I continue to actively play. I am also a certified USTA official.

2. I have often traded postal tips with these guys for tennis tips. It's a win-win exchange. (Granted, these players don't need as many tips from me as I do from them, but that's a whole other story!)

3. Although “love” means nothing to a tennis player, (zero is referred to as “love” in tennis), my daughters found a couple of these guys that are an exception to this rule. Years ago, both girls dated two of the guys who were back this weekend and, to this day, whenever they all get together, I'm not sure who is the happiest: the guys, my daughters, or Katie and I. (We're still hoping for a "re-match," shall I say?!) Katie was so excited to see these guys again that she baked their favorite dessert—coconut cream pie—for them!

Homecomings here make every weekend something to celebrate. As I stated, we have the official Homecoming in the fall; then, in the middle of winter, many return for THON weekend. Several reunion-type homecomings then take place in the spring—from sports teams (including Blue-White Weekend) to other Penn State organizations. And in the summer—what I’m looking forward to—weddings bring many alumni back to our area.

Because of all these reasons and many more, I believe that the Penn State network of alumni is the best and most unique in the nation. With the pride and passion for their school, no wonder Penn State has the most active alumni in the country.

As the seniors prepare to graduate next month, I hope they all know they still have several memories that will be made long after they leave. On behalf of Katie and me, any and all returning alumni for whatever homecoming reason are always welcome to come over for fresh-baked coconut cream pie!

Mike (The Mailman) Herr gives his stamp of approval to all visitors Monday through Friday at the University Park post office in the ground floor of McAllister Building, adjacent to the HUB. His views and opinions do not necessarily reflect those of Penn State University.
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