Dozens of alumni with hopes of connecting with fellow Cougs followed the smell of barbecue into the Mickelsen Lounge on the Saturday of Washington State University’s Homecoming Weekend.
The cause for the gathering was the College of Veterinary Medicine Pre-Game Homecoming BBQ ahead of the Homecoming football game at Gesa Field.
The BBQ, at least a 20-year college tradition, was the first since the COVID-19 pandemic, and for many in attendance, their first.
“It’s really one of the few opportunities for college alumni from a wide range of classes to connect and mingle. We thought it was important that it continue to bring our alumni back home to campus,” said Kay Glaser, director of development at WSU’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital.
Food, beverages, and multiple raffles were available to alumni who registered for the event. The food, including hot dogs, hamburgers, and all the sides to complete a barbecue, was catered by Happy Day Restaurants.
With her physiology exam coming up the following Monday, first-year veterinary student Lola Taylor wore her crimson but wasn’t planning on attending the football game. She said she came to the Homecoming BBQ to connect with classmates and alumni, but also for a much-needed study break.
“I wanted to take the opportunity to spend time with my classmates and talk to others who have gone from the program to see what else I could learn,” Taylor said.
Taylor was accompanied by her friend Hana Reinhardt, an undergraduate at WSU and an aspiring veterinarian.
Reinhardt, a Washington state resident, said she is already considering WSU for veterinary school, but the spectacle reassured her the community within the College of Veterinary Medicine is as tight as everyone says it is.
“It feels like one big family,” Reinhardt said.
Other alumni traveled from further away, like Dr. Bill Keatts (‘70 DVM) who made the trip from the Tri Cities with his wife. Like many others, Keatts visited the event with no plans to attend the football game.
He was hoping to mingle with more of his classmates but was the lone graduate of the College of Veterinary Medicine class of 1970 in attendance. He said he and his wife made the most of it. The couple watched the solar eclipse from the side of Highway 26 and explored the Artisans at the Dahmen Barn in Uniontown. He said he looked forward to the next Pre-Game Homecoming BBQ.