Homecoming Moments
Published: Wednesday, November 30, 2011 5:09:54 PM

Homecoming 2011 was special for me; feathered with moments that bore me on the wings of nostalgia and inspiration.

My first encounter was during the early afternoon of Thursday November 24 as I lunched with my wife.  As soon as we got into the restaurant I was hit with the familiar figure of a man who was engrossed in a conversation with another man whom I did not know.  I was instantly winged back to the late 80’s.  This was a time when I worked in the College Wood Shop and could not envisage a future beyond working there.  Then I got paid based on the individual jobs I worked on.  If I didn’t get a job, I wouldn’t get paid. It was under those circumstances that I first met this gentleman.  

He was teaching a class and I was sent to effect certain structural repairs to a room close to the location where he taught.  He staged a protest and inquired whether or not I could come back another time, but that would mean a less meaningful trip to the bank at the end of that work period.  Of course I resisted him…. But that was another time and place, and things are different now.  You see I’ve since done a few classes myself and have further come to understand the greater dynamics at work – students are at the very heart and purpose of all we do at NCU.  It was indeed good to see Dr Marshalleck, an alumnus and former employee of NCU.  

Although I didn’t recognize his eating partner, he was apparently another alumnus because I overheard him commenting on how significantly different the level of student traffic is today as compared to his day when he attended West Indies College as a student.  I mused at the thought that then everybody must have known everybody and they would all know each other’s stories.  Ah well, that’s another story.

Later that day as I flew over to the Tai Centre to grab a quick snack before a practise session for the homecoming weekend I bumped into a good friend.  Not an alumna of NCU, it was rather odd to see her in the vicinity of the Tai Centre.  Cherishing the moment I perched a while to say hi. It was then that I discovered that Pete was around and she was only there to pick him up.  Ah Peter, long-haired, foreign-accented Peter S.P. Campbell.  That was the early 2000’s.  Peter had presence and passion and was always a visionary.  He still possesses the same qualities today, only with less hair. And what a thing of beauty that all these attributes are voluntarily shared with NCU, evidence of which I was to discover all over again during the ensuing weekend as he shared the Alumni Federation’s plan to erect a state of the art student centre!  

So I mused again.

Oh if we all could somehow like he

Share that grand vision of what NCU can be

We’d band to build a powerful team

To make reality of our dream

Encounter number three came while travelling to a funeral service.  It was Sabbath, and it was during the Mid-day Service hour.  We were descending Spur Tree Hill en route to Malvern St. Elizabeth.  My wife asked me to turn up the volume a bit on the radio (NCU 91.1 FM.  She never does that!  But you see Dr Mansfield Edwards was on the radio as the featured Divine Service speaker.  What a sermon!  What a lecture!  What a hilarious journey back!  As we descended the hills of Manchester it was apparent that the Heavenly Dove had perched on our vehicle and accompanied us to our destination.  Later that evening a student came by our home and as we chatted she excitedly asked, “Were you at the divine service today?”  She was most impressed with the sermon, especially the part about the eye as the preacher de-feathered the argument of evolution.  What a wonderful weekend it was turning out to be; what an inspiration!

It’s now Sunday morning and we are gathering for breakfast.  Most of the faces I see are unfamiliar.  Ah, wait, who’s that?  Everald Daley?  “Wow. How are you doing?”  I shot in a discreet greeting while he chatted on the phone, and I made my way to the control room to set up to serenade the pleasant gathering as they dined.  We actually had no WIC/NCU encounter to relate, but an interesting thing about Everald is that he’s married to one of my cousins, who herself is an alumna of NCU.  Seeing him was literally bumping into family and it was a delight bumping into him.  I was again led to muse about what an object lesson that encounter was of what the homecoming weekend was all about – a family get-together.

 After breakfast the discussions started.  It was then that I began to see the passion that drives our committed alumni who always make it to homecoming and are active members of alumni associations around the world.  Some were obviously hurt about not feeling the strong connection they desired to have with their alma mater.  It was heart-warming to see the love and commitment poured out by the alumni in that room.  And for sure I mused again.  What if all our alumni were like these individuals in this room?  Okay, maybe not all our alumni as this is not likely, but what a thought of what NCU can yet become with more committed alumni.

Homecoming: what a time of pleasant surprises, powerful sermons, and purposeful sacrifices.  With the special tie I feel towards my fellow alumni I can hardly wait for next year, but until then there is much to do.


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