Warren praises KSU Homecoming at Bowman Breakfast

Laina Yost

Amid the clinking of plates as guests finished their breakfasts, President Beverly Warren stepped on stage to greet faculty, staff and city leaders at the 55th Bowman Breakfast.

This year, Warren celebrated the 100th anniversary of Homecoming, set to take place this weekend. She praised the sense of home Kent State provides and how it has been celebrated at Homecomings throughout the years.

“Homecoming has been rooted in the idea of Kent State and this Kent community as home,” Warren said. “A home invokes a sense of safety and security as a place where we are always welcome because we belong without qualification.”

Warren led the crowd through a history of Homecoming at Kent State, starting in the 1910s. She outlined some of the more difficult Homecomings, including the one after May 4, where there was a tribute to the lives lost, and the Homecoming following 9/11, which honored local heroes.

“Homecoming is our celebration of Kent State as a wellspring of friendships, experiences, memories and moments that have indelibly shaped who we are,” she said.

Timothy Moore, an emeritus associate professor of pan-African studies and Kent State alumna, also spoke at the Wednesday morning breakfast. Moore described the history of diversity at Kent State and the lessons he learned about friendship while he was a fraternity member at the university.

“We on campus and in this community, we have to continue to be open to the diverse and the newly developing realities of our world and to eliminate the previous barriers to education and opportunity,” he said. “First, within our own minds and attitudes and then in our behaviors toward our fellow human being.”

Moore received a standing ovation from the audience. Kent State football coach Sean Lewis, standing in the back, joked that he wasn’t sure how he was going to follow up Moore.

Lewis, dressed in casual basketball shorts and an athletic sweatshirt, brought his high energy to the breakfast, choosing to walk across the stage instead of standing at the podium.

The coach animatedly spoke about how welcomed he felt when he first arrived at Kent State and how he felt at home in the community.

“The short time that we have been here, the embrace, the love, the fellowship, the friendship that this community has given us has been overwhelming,” Lewis said. “Absolutely overwhelming, from the minute we stepped on campus and into the community.”

Earlier in the morning, Warren recalled the “listening tour” she took when she first came onto campus in 2014. Homecoming, she said, is a reflection of what community members and alumni think about Kent State.

“Most recall a warm sense of home when they think about Kent State in this community,” she said. “So, Homecoming is our opportunity to celebrate this distinctively Kent State phenomenon together, in which we know that Kent State is only as strong as the community in which it resides and the community that has adopted us as their home university.”

Laina Yost is the enterprise editor. Contact her at [email protected]