Parade of Memories
People of all ages lined the sidewalks of University Boulevard on Saturday Oct. 9, awaiting an event that has become a yearly tradition for students and Liberty alumni.
Liberty University’s homecoming parade proceeded from the entrance of the newly renovated William’s Stadium at 1 p.m. The parade kicked off the weekend’s festivities, raising school spirit and community involvement.
“I think [the parade] is a great involvement,” Sterling Oil co.’s Donna Hensley said. Hensley started driving in Liberty’s homecoming parades 10 years ago, when she would drive Dr. Jerry Falwell through the parade. This year, Hensley drove Dr. Elmer Towns down University Boulevard. Sterling Oil is a local business that takes pride in their involvement with Liberty and its students.
“Even though you have out-of-town students, you are still bringing in business into the community, and plus you want to involve your community here at the college and at the church. I think it’s great,” Donna Hensley said.
The Spirit of the Mountain Marching Band and color guard team led the parade, ushering vehicles and floats through the crowds. Some of Liberty’s most familiar faces were part of the parade, including Chancellor Jerry Falwell Jr. and his wife Becki, Liberty’s co-founder and dean of the school of religion Dr. Elmer Towns, as well as Vice-Chancellor and Acting Provost Dr. Ron Godwin.
“The parade sets a perfect tone for homecoming weekend,” Godwin said. “It’s all about celebration, victory and welcoming our alumni back. It’s important to the whole day.”
Unique floats wound down the road, tossing candy and T-shirts to onlookers. Floats were made by Liberty’s psychology and nursing departments as well as groups such as the College Republicans club.
This year’s parade was not only a continuation of a yearly tradition for alumni, but a new experience for incoming freshmen.
Freshmen Ashley Stuart and Stephanie Edwards came to see the parade. For students such as Stuart and Edwards, campus events are a way to get involved and take part in school spirit.
“We’ve also been to the ‘Ay Caramba’ salsa dancing event, hockey games and football games,” Edwards said. “It makes it fun to be here.”
Homecoming weekend is Liberty’s way to unite current students with students from the past, as they come back and visit their alma mater.
“We always come up for homecoming weekend,” 1993 Liberty alumna Belinda Hensley said. “Last year was the first time we got here in time for the parade, so this year we made sure we got here early enough to get seats and see it.”
Belinda Hensley, now part of the adjunct faculty in Liberty’s Richmond nursing program, enjoys coming back to Liberty’s campus.
“We love the parade, my kids love the parade and there’s always a nursing float so we come and support that,” Belinda Hensley said.
The homecoming weekend takes place each year in October. Liberty’s Student Activities hosts the homecoming parade and float competition. To find out more information about the homecoming parade and to find out how you can be part of it next year, contact Student Activities at 434-592-3061 or online at liberty.edu/campusrec/studentactivities.
JENNINGS is a feature reporter.