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Kean University

Rain or Shine, It's Homecoming Time at Kean

A spirited Cougar crowd came out for Kean University Homecoming on Saturday, braving wet weather to enjoy football, carnival games and food, connect with friends and former classmates, and show off Cougar pride.

Dressed in Kean sweatshirts and other gear, students, alumni, faculty and staff took in the annual University tradition. 

“Homecoming is amazing,” said Kean Board of Trustees Chairman Steve Fastook ’06H, who was among the crowd that took in the activities in Kean’s parking lots and inside Harwood Arena.

“It’s such a pleasure to be here, and the school spirit at Kean is remarkable.” 

Kean student Leandro Montesino, a junior athletic training major attending his first Kean Homecoming, enjoyed a tailgate in the Kean Hall parking lot with his fraternity, Lambda Upsilon Lambda, and friends.

“It doesn’t matter rain or shine, we’re going to have a fun time,” he said. “Everybody’s back on campus, why stay in your dorm if you can be outside?”

Kean’s Homecoming carnival is part of an annual autumn celebration at the University, the culmination of a week of special events. The festivities kicked off with the Jazz & Roots Music Festival, Saturday, September 24, which drew more than 4,000 people to campus. For the first time this year, Kean also held the President’s Alumni Ball, honoring four Kean graduates with the Distinguished Alumni Award and 19 faculty, staff and students with Presidential Excellence Awards

For many alumni, Homecoming is the event that draws them back to Kean’s campus, where they can revisit their college days and show off their alma mater to their families.

“It’s a fun day,” said Jennifer Ciaglia, ’03, ’06 M.A., as she watched her 3-year-old daughter try carnival games.

Homecoming activities included face painting, balloon animals, “velcro” ax throwing, and plenty of prizes. Among the most popular carnival games was the “human claw,” set up indoors, in which players donned a harness and were lowered into a pit of prizes to choose one.

At the Cougars football game, fans packed the stands to cheer on the team. Halftime featured the naming of the Homecoming King and Queen, students Alexander Salazar, of Perth Amboy, a senior communication major, and Tamaya Upchurch, of Ansonia, Connecticut, a senior criminal justice major.

Scott Snowden ’07, ’08 MPA, Kean’s registrar, had the chance to enjoy the event with both current Kean coworkers and his fellow alumni.

“It’s so great to see so many of my friends I went to school with, who are still coming back and now bringing the kids and family,” Snowden said. 

Current students were out in force as well. 

Suzy Ndandji, a sophomore molecular biology major, helped out at the event, checking fans in to attend the football game.

“It’s a little chilly out here,” she said. “But people are dressed up, ready to go support the football team. It’s an exciting time.”