An artistic rendering of the university's storied arches helps ring in St. Thomas Homecoming week.

Sights and Sounds: St. Thomas Homecoming Week

St. Thomas Homecoming brings out high levels of Tommie pride every year, and 2017 was no exception. A full week's worth of homecoming events helped gather Tommies: Whether it's a pep fest hooking up free sweaters, a party on the plaza, a dance party or the annual 5k run, there were no lack of opportunities for St. Thomas community members to celebrate purple.

The Newsroom was on hand for the week's events, with photos and interviews helping capture what made Homecoming special for Tommies of all ages.

Wellness Center 5K, parade, Purple on the Plaza and football game

"This is a great way to start out the day ... and it gave us a great excuse to load up on pasta last night." - Todd Olson (bib number 354), father of junior Chris Olson (bib number 211), who flew in from San Marino, Calif. for homecoming weekend

Runners prepare to take off in the Wellness Center 5k on Saturday.

Runners prepare to take off in the Wellness Center 5k on Saturday.

"I like the culture surrounding and people coming from all over to celebrate. ... It's great to feel like part of the community here. All my classes are in Minneapolis, so I don't often get to come to the St. Paul campus." - Ankit Agarwal, M.B.A. student

"All six of our family members did the race this morning. ... We haven't seen our daughter (first-year Emmie Wiedemann) in six weeks, so this is all great." - Erin Wiedemann, in town for the weekend from Madison, Wisc.

"Everyone gets together, their families are here and there's lots of St. Thomas pride this weekend. And it's just a lot of fun to go to the game and the dance with friends." - Sophomore Joanell Legett

There were plenty of both runners and people cheering them on Saturday during the Wellness Center 5k.

There were plenty of both runners and people cheering them on Saturday during the Wellness Center 5k.

"Our daughter is a senior, so it's all about spending time with her, spending time on this beautiful campus." - Steve Witucki

"This is our first St. Thomas homecoming; we're from out of state and attend over at the law school. We wanted to get involved ... and (homecoming weekend) is a nice opportunity to get out, be active and support the school." - Law school student Nathaniel Fouch

Purple - bags, even - were easy to find during Party on the Plaza.

Purple - bags, even - were easy to find during Party on the Plaza.

"Our whole (Living Learning Community) was out here (for the 5k). ... It keeps them on campus on the weekend, spending time together, and allows them to support one another in this community." - Lesley Scibora, Health and Human Performance faculty

"I like to watch the football team, and my daughter is a first-year here and my son went here ... so it's a bit of a family reunion. ... I have to catch the parade because she'll be driving a pink unicorn, apparently." - Dave Kubista, father of Grace Kubista

A pink unicorn cart represented the engineering department at the parade.

A pink unicorn cart somehow fit right in at the parade down Summit Avenue.

"Seeing my girls and the memories (are my favorite part of homecoming.) When my girls decided to come here I was happy as a lark." Rick Vitale '89, father of senior Annie and sophomore Maria

"I'm excited for the game and the dance." - First-year Rachel Dahl

"My son loves St. Thomas. ... Out of all the places we toured this is the only one he said he loved, and he does." - Shawn Costello, mother of first-year J.P.

Party on the Plaza and Spirit Souvenirs, Thursday, Oct. 5

“I’m excited about the football game and the atmosphere." – First-year student John Wilsey

“I’m looking forward to the homecoming game. I’m on the football team. It’s going to be a fun time, great atmosphere and lots of energy.” – First-year student Jeremy Ziemer

Students Kelly DeBoom and Chase Lau plays a giant game of "Operation" during homecoming week activities Oct. 5 on the John P. Monahan Plaza. (Photo by Mike Ekern '02)

“My parents are coming this weekend, so I’m excited to see them. And definitely football because I love sports – football games here are totally awesome.” – First-year student Sarah Greene

“I’m on the dance team, so I take part in all the stuff that goes on Saturday. We cheer at the 5K, participate in the parade and cheer at the football game. Being a part of all those activities and seeing all of the people coming and showing their campus spirit – it’s great.” – Senior Chloe Gilbreth

“We have the football game – I’m on the team. That’s my main focus right now. I just heard about the food trucks this morning – that’s always good.” – Junior David Danhauer

“The football game is one thing I’m excited for. The last game we had was the Tommie-Johnnie game, but we’ve only had one home game here on campus so far and I’m excited to get back to the whole vibrant atmosphere. I got some free food, too, so that was cool. ” – First-year student Sam Kelcher

“I like how many activities there are and all the events. Everybody wears purple. It’s a fun week.” – Senior Liz Szostak

Student Alyssa Brix pets her dog Bosco on the John P. Monahan Plaza during homecoming week activities Oct. 5. (Photo by Mike Ekern '02)

“I love seeing all the alumni, and all the stuff they do for the alumni. Seeing the families with little kids in Tommie gear, it’s so sweet.” – Senior Emily Schildgen

“I’m on the football team, so the homecoming game. Last year we had a really good game with Concordia and this year the game with Concordia lands on homecoming week. With all the homecoming festivities it makes the game really special.” – First-year student Keaton Kaisersatt

“I’m on the football team and focused on the game. I think the golf carts are going to be cool as well. On Friday night, if you’re part of a club you get to decorate a golf cart and then be in the parade. It’s a nice way for the clubs to get out more and have some homecoming involvement. It’s a cool idea.” – Senior Matt Christenson

“I’m on the dance team, so we start at the 5K on Saturday and then we go to the parade where we have a golf cart so that’ll be a new experience. Then we go perform at Purple on the Plaza and then at the game.” – Senior Hailey Nerison

Sweatshirt Giveaway and Pep Fest, Tuesday, Oct. 3

Student Affairs graduate assistant Kian Hashemi-Rad hands a sweatshirt to a student. (Photo by Mark Brown)

"I'm most excited for the game and all the Tommie spirit going around, because this feels like it's the time where all the Tommies come together, and all the old Tommies come home again." – Sophomore Taylor Stickler

"I'm just looking forward to the excitement and all of the school pride, and all of the events where I can meet new people. Especially being a freshman, I love meeting new people and this is a great opportunity to be more exposed to the university." – First-year student Derrick Diedrich

"I'm most excited for the 5K and the parade. ... I'm doing the 5k [as] kind of a spur-of-the-moment thing." – First-year student William Bean

"I'm excited for the free stuff!" – Junior Rachel Armstrong

"I'm most looking forward to all the activities we have throughout the week, and the football game and the concert." – Sophomore Samantha Harber

"I'm getting this sweatshirt as a present for my girlfriend. ... She goes to University of Colorado. Purple is her favorite color." – First-year student Thomas Calascione

"I'm super excited about all the enthusiastic people around with lots of spirit from the Tommies. Just having a fun year!" – Senior Molly Dudley

"I'm excited for my first year as a Tommie, and seeing homecoming, and all the events that are planned throughout the week." – First-year student Meg Goltzman

"I'm excited about getting a sweatshirt in Tommie purple!" – Junior Maggie Ericson