No Place Like Rice

Owls are invited back to campus for an in-person gathering.

Sammy the Owl

Fall 2023
By Tracey Rhoades

When Owls flock to campus Nov. 3–4 for homecoming, they will be in for a weekend that will include not only class reunions but also activities like faculty workshops, tailgates, alumni author sessions and an inaugural all-alumni event.

During 2020–2022, the Office of Alumni Relations combined Families Weekend and Homecoming & Reunion, offering a virtual gathering in 2020, a hybrid version in 2021 and an in-person version in 2022. This year, the two signature events will be separate — and no virtual components are planned. “We strategically shifted the official name this year to Alumni Weekend (Homecoming & Reunion) to better embrace non-reunion alumni participants,” says April Cole, director of alumni programs and purveyor of the weekend’s events.

Alumni celebrating reunions will mark the occasion with dinners and luncheons, but non-reunion alumni will have a full schedule of events to choose from as well. “There’s something for everyone on the program,” Cole says. “It’s truly a weekend to gather all alumni, and we want the nomenclature to reflect that.”

An Alumni Weekend Community Market will debut Saturday morning before the alumni tailgate and family fest. The market, featuring Rice alumni-owned businesses, will be held outside. Participants will be selling specialty products and promoting their services, including kids’ art classes, bakery treats for dogs, cooking classes, and, of course, beverages and food.

The homecoming football game against Southern Methodist University will be extra exciting as Rice begins its first year in the American Athletic Conference.

“We’ve worked hard this year to connect with campus partners and provide avenues for widespread campus involvement,” Cole says. “In the coming years, I hope to see that involvement continue to grow and for departments and offices to participate in some exciting way.” With 10 months of advance planning, Alumni Weekend is sure to be a hoot.

To learn more about Alumni Weekend, visit