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Campus Comes Alive for Hocktoberfestival 2023

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Connor Mokrzycki


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Fans cheer as the Pioneers beat Air Force at Homecoming

Hundreds of students, alumni, friends and family made their way to campus for Homecoming 2023 last week, bringing the DU community together for seven days full of fun, food and opportunities to explore.

Hocktoberfestival 2023

“Homecoming is a signature DU experience for our students and alumni,” said University of Denver Chancellor Jeremy Haefner. “It was energizing to see the community brave the winter weather during Hocktoberfest to enjoy the festivities and cheer on our hockey players as they shut out Air Force.”

To kick off Homecoming 2023, the Graduate School of Professional Psychology, University Libraries and the Graduate School of Social Work put on a new event, FamFair: It Takes a Village to Raise a Child. Guests heard from nationally recognized experts and had opportunities to dive into interactive play-based learning sessions and a variety of other events for children, families and community members.

On Saturday, Oct. 21, the University’s Student Veteran Association (SVA) hosted its annual Hero Games. Community members tested their strength and endurance in teams of four, raising funds for the SVA, having fun and honoring fallen service members.

Homecoming also marked the return of the third annual Denver Democracy Summit, presented by the Josef Korbel School of International Studies. This year, under the theme of “Democracy Renewed and Reimagined,” experts, academics and thought leaders from around the world arrived on campus, fostering a civil discourse on the state of democracy. Attendees heard from New York Times columnist Jamelle Bouie on the state of American democracy, alongside a diverse group of speakers and panels on topics ranging from election integrity and the role of local media to the democratic use of emerging technology. Speakers included Naheed Farid, an Afghanistan Parliamentarian in exile and chairperson of the House Standing Committee for Women Affairs; Colorado Supreme Court Justice Melissa Hart; Senator Michael Bennet; and Ethan Chumley, Director of Critical Institution Security, Microsoft Democracy Forward Initiative, among many others.

Runners at the 2023 Crimson Classic 5K

More than 1,000 runners and walkers signed up for the University’s 11th annual Crimson Classic 5K run/1.5-mile walk, bringing the community together to celebrate health and well-being. Stephen May was the first place male finisher, and Mariegrace Veres had the fastest female time.

Women’s Volleyball scored a triumphant victory over South Dakota during Saturday’s snowstorm. Hundreds bundled up and trekked through the weather to arrive on campus for Homecoming 2023’s feature event, Hocktoberfestival, in Gates Field House, greeting friends, family students and alumni and enjoying food and beverages from local and alumni-owned businesses. From the Crimson and Gold Beer and Wine Garden to a bounce castle and rock-climbing wall in the Kennedy Mountain Campus Neighborhood, there was something for everyone to enjoy. Following Hocktoberfestival, students, alumni and fans packed in to watch Men’s Hockey take the ice in Magness Arena. Entering Homecoming weekend ranked second in the nation, the Pioneers dominated in a spectacular 4-0 victory over Air Force.

Homecoming Hockey Game Against Air Force 2023

“The Homecoming Weekend is an exceptional opportunity to celebrate our great University whose alumni, students and staff all have a tremendous passion for,” Vice Chancellor for Athletics and Ritchie Center Operations Josh Berlo said. “Despite the early hockey weather, the University pulled off a fantastic showpiece event to its fall calendar. Starting with volleyball’s dramatic five-set win in the afternoon, great festivities throughout the day for alumni and fans around our campus, Hocktoberfest, Chancellor Jeremy Haefner dropping the puck in front of a great crowd and our hockey student-athletes doing what they do best on the ice made for a great last Saturday in October.”

Students were invited to participate in a myriad of activities throughout the week, from a campus-wide (rubber) duck hunt to win prizes, testing their skills on a roller-skating rink and a movie night showing of Rocky Horror Picture Show, to the Multicultural Block Party hosted by the Cultural Center and the Queer Student Alliance’s DU Homecoming OUT Dance. The DU Programming Board’s DUPB Block Party offered fans food and music in the lead up to the Pioneers’ Friday night home opener against Augustana.

Community members had a chance to learn about real estate markets in the contemporary economy with Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae, at the Burns Leadership Series, hosted by the Franklin L. Burns School of Real Estate and Construction Management. The Fritz Knoebel School of Hospitality offered an evening of elevated food and wine pairings, with Director David Corsun leading attendees through a selection of wines from around the world.

HF Indoors

Alumni, family and friends also had a chance to marvel at student artwork at the Vicki Myhren Gallery Open House.

The weeklong, campus-wide festivities were a collaborative effort, enabled by the support of the DU community. “Thank you to all of our staff and volunteers who really make the event possible. Alumni and university community members play a key role in the success of the program,” said Ben Hancock, associate vice chancellor of alumni engagement and career development. “It’s a great opportunity to welcome the entire DU community back to campus and for alumni to engage, visit campus, connect or reconnect with the University and all the great things that are happening on campus.”