Valparaiso University’s Homecoming and Reunion Weekend 2013 was filled with exciting celebrations, inspiring speeches, a thrilling football game, and many more extraordinary events as students, faculty, staff, and alumni from around the globe came together to reflect their Crusader light.

“Homecoming is always a good time for reflection. It’s a time when we get an opportunity to remember the people and relive the moments that made our time at Valpo special,” Valparaiso University President Mark A. Heckler, Ph.D., said at the Homecoming Luncheon on Friday, Sept. 27. “Each year, we return here to catch up, to reconnect, to reflect on how this place has shaped us and made us the people we are today. It’s a time to remember who we were as students and to celebrate who we are now as we pursue the vocations that started so many years ago, right here in this place.”

Held Sept. 27-29, Homecoming and Reunion Weekend included the dedications of two new buildings: the James S. Markiewicz Solar Energy Research Facility on Friday, Sept. 27, and the Duesenberg Welcome Center on Saturday, Sept. 28. Made possible by a generous donation from Richard ’51 and Phyllis Buehner ’54 Duesenberg, the Welcome Center serves as a front door to the University and features a timeline of Valparaiso University’s history that stretches the length of the building.

The Solar Energy Research Facility, which houses the only solar furnace at an undergraduate institution in the United States, will put Valpo researchers on the forefront of solar energy research, bolstered by a recently announced $2.3 million award from the U.S. Department of Energy.

On Friday, Sept. 27, the Valpo community gathered for the Crusader Kick-Off, an annual barbecue that recognizes the Homecoming Court nominees and the Homecoming King and Queen, capped by a brilliant fireworks display over Resurrection Meadow. Celebration continued Saturday, Sept. 28, as the Valpo football team celebrated its first win of the season, a 49-42 victory decided by an overtime goal-line stand.

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