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Queens College plans homecoming event for its alumni

Queens College is ramping up its efforts to reach out to alumni and for the first time the school is hosting a two-day homecoming celebration instead of the one-day affair it has held in previous years, the manager of alumni relations said.

“We’re trying to offer more this year,” Christopher Greaves said. “We have a loyal alumni base, but we want to broaden our outreach so we’re including people who might not have come back to Queens College in a while.”

More than 150 former students of the college were expected to attend the homecoming event Saturday and Sunday, during which there will be a full lineup of events, including children’s activities such as face painting, which Greaves said is an effort to make the event more inviting to alumni with young families.

“We’re looking to really tap into alumni, especially those who live locally,” Greaves said. “A ton of new things have happened on campus, and though many of our alums live locally, they’re going to see a totally different campus than when they were here, in a good way. It’s a revitalized campus with new buildings. Queens College is a different world now.”

Of the college’s 90,000 alumni, more than 40 percent are residents of Queens.

The first homecoming event will be at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, when students and alumni will compete in a battle of the bands on the fourth floor ballroom of the student union.

“We have six really talented bands playing,” Greaves said. “We’ll have three judges a la ‘American Idol,’ and we have three emcees for the evening. We’ll have a reception for our alumni beforehand.”

The events Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., will include a jazz brunch reception and welcome by Queens College President James Muyskens, two seminars given by faculty, a performance of Leonard Bernstein’s “Candide” by students of the Aaron Copland School of Music and a home-run derby on the campus’ softball field. A light supper reception will be offered in the Atrium of Lefrak Concert Hall.

The first seminar, held from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. Sunday, is entitled “Why a Liberal Arts Education Matters.” Panelists will include Queens College Acting Dean of General Education and English professor Judith Summerfield; Edward Smaldone, the music chairman; and Martin Braun, mathematics professor and director of the freshman year initiative.

Summerfield is the author of “Reclaiming the Public University: Conversations on General and Liberal Education.” Smaldone is a composer and has been a director of the Aaron Copland School of Music since 2002. Braun is the author of the best-selling textbook “Differential Equations and their Applications,” which has passed through four editions and been translated into five different languages.

The second seminar, “Will the U.S. Government Default on its Debt?” will be held from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. It will be moderated by Diane Coogan-Pushner, a distinguished lecturer in the college’s economics department.

Throughout the weekend there will be guided tours of the campus and The Summit, the college’s new student residence halls, and visits with college clubs, fraternities and sororities. The Art Center and the Godwin-Ternbach Museum will be open during homecoming.

Individual tickets are $10 for Saturday and $25 for Sunday. Groups of two or more may purchase $20 tickets for Sunday.

For more information, visit qc.cuny.edu/homecoming or contact alumni relations at 718-997-5534.

Reach reporter Anna Gustafson by e-mail at agustafson@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 174.

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