KOKOMO, Ind. — Indiana University Kokomo celebrated the end of the second annual Homecoming festivities with a men's basketball victory and a trailer full of tornado relief supplies.
Donations were overflowing to help victims of the November 17 tornadoes that devastated parts of Kokomo. Cheerleaders accepted monetary donations as well, bringing in $1,200 for the United Way of Howard County, which is organizing relief efforts.
The campus appreciates a $500 donation from Community First Bank, given after the student who attempted the half court shot for a scholarship missed.
Interim Chancellor Susan Sciame-Giesecke thanked students, alumni, faculty, staff, and fans for helping the campus give to people affected by the tornadoes.
"I am so proud of the tremendous participation in this effort," she said. "Thank you to everyone for supporting this project. This is a wonderful opportunity to give directly back to our community."
United Way President Abbie Smith was thankful for the donations.
"It's amazing the support and love everyone has shown for Kokomo," she said. "We've been touched by the student support in our community, led by the IU Kokomo students."
A T-shirt exchange during Homecoming week benefitted typhoon relief efforts in the Philippines. Students received a free IU Kokomo shirt by turning in a shirt from another college or university. J.R. Pico, lecturer in Spanish, and Ligaya McGovern, professor of sociology, collected the shirts to send to the Philippines.
For recent graduate Jacob Faust, Homecoming offered a chance to see the new Cougar gym. The former basketball player was the first student athlete to graduate, earning his degree in business in May. He now works for an accounting firm in Indianapolis, and is preparing for his CPA exam.
"It's neat to see the new gym," he said. "I'm glad the team has a place of their own to practice and play. I've been following them, and it's fun to see the progress the program has made in the last few months."
Alumni Donna Walden and Stephen Daily, who were both inducted into the IU Kokomo Alumni Association Hall of Fame Saturday, remembered the campus's early days. Both were students when the Main Building was brand new, and was the only campus building. Daily recalled that the parking lot was gravel at the time.
Daily earned a bachelor's degree in education in 1971. He was mayor of Kokomo from 1980 to 1987, and now serves as chancellor of Ivy Tech Community College Region 5.
"For those of us who were there when IU Kokomo first started, today has a good feeling to it," he said. "I'm really proud of what this campus has been able to do."
Walden, who retired as assistant superintendent of Western School Corporation, earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in education at IU Kokomo.
"It's like coming home again," she said. "When I was there, the campus was just one building. I've been so excited about all the changes, especially the sports program. It really brings a lot of culture to the campus. I enjoy the excitement, and seeing everyone enthused about IU Kokomo."
Mary Olk returned for her first Homecoming, after graduating in August. She is currently a graduate student at Ball State.
"IU Kokomo was my home for four years. It's amazing how everything has grown and changed, even just in the last few months," she said. "I was so excited to tour the new Cole Fitness Center, and to see my friends, faculty, and colleagues. I am glad to see the traditions that started while I was here are continuing."
Those traditions include school spirit competitions held during Homecoming week. Student Union Board (SUB) emerged as grand champion, winning the sheet banner competition, tying for second in the flag football tournament, and winning second place in the cell phone video contest. SUB had 100 percent participation in the fast-a-thon, which raised nearly $300 for Kokomo Urban Outreach.
"We're so excited to win," said Sofia Stout, SUB public relations coordinator. "We're all about student life, and building traditions. Hopefully, when we come back as alumni, these traditions will still be part of our campus.
The Enactus business student organizations placed second, followed by Phi Kappa Tau fraternity colony.
Allison Morgan and Charlotte Lowe received the Cougar Spirit Award, based on academic excellence and campus involvement.
Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.