Saturday, Sept. 28 broke open with sunny skies and pleasant conditions in Big Rapids, allowing Ferris State University students, alumni and supporters the chance to celebrate Homecoming 2019 and follow the theme, “Bark with Pride.”
Among those at the football alumni gathering was Charley Evans, of Inkster. The Bulldog Hall of Fame member was a Kodak Division III All-American, in 1976, when he played running back for Ferris. Evans was Ferris’ first football player selected as an All-American and ran for 1,509 yards his senior year. He was presenting a sleek look at the tailgate, in a jersey from his playing days.
“I have enjoyed coming back to campus, and it is great to follow the continuing success of the Bulldogs program,” Evans said. “I’ve got to watch the Dawgs; they’re phenomenal.”
Evans was catching up with fellow football alumni John Sonntag, John Baylis and Bill Scheible in the early afternoon warmth.
“These gatherings throw you back, with guys who were eating the same dirt, under the same sun, at practice,” Evans said. “I am seeing guys today that I haven’t seen in 40 years. You can’t beat that.”
Near the Ferris Alumni Association, black alumni and various college welcome tents, Cecelia Klee, of Jackson, a junior in Ferris’ Political Science program, enjoyed gathering with friends and classmates. Klee said she believes Homecoming is best spent with the crowd enjoying tailgating activities, before the annual game.
“I have a great time being here, every year,” Klee said. “I see more and more of my friends each time I come out; we embrace all that we have at Ferris. It is great.”
Klee said beyond catching up with her classmates and campus acquaintances. She was glad to host visitors from her hometown for the weekend.
“Emma and Mikey are nearby, enjoying the crowd,” Klee said. “I originally considered going to a school closer to home, but then I decided to join a friend who was coming to Ferris for her orientation. I changed my mind and enrolled after that visit to campus. I have never regretted it.”
A crowd of 5,412 Ferris faithful attended the Homecoming football game, and there was an appreciative audience to see the announcement of voting results for the 2019 Homecoming Ambassador. Daniel Rivera, of Grand Rapids, who is in his final semester of studies in Spanish for the Professions, was selected from among three finalists for the honor.
“The experience of the past week has been full of joy, with lots of excitement,” Rivera said. “I am so glad to have been chosen to represent Ferris State University and my campus.”
Rivera is no stranger to the recognition of his excellence as a campus leader, having been named a 2018 Newman Civic Fellow by the Massachusetts-based nonprofit Campus Compact and more recently, he received the 2019 Greek Life award as Fraternity Member of the Year for his role with Sigma Lambda Beta, Inc.
“I am very excited to be working as a Success Navigator with the West Michigan Hispanic Chamber Of Commerce, which will allow me to support others from my hometown and region in their desires to advance themselves,” Rivera said. “It is amazing when I consider all that I have been able to receive in my time at Ferris.”
As evening approached, some Ferris friends and fans departed Top Taggart Field, but a majority remained to watch the Bulldogs improve to 4-0 with a 38-10 win over Northern Michigan, and maintain their position as the second-ranked team in NCAA Division II.