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Heritage University isn’t your typical college. So, it makes sense that its first Homecoming celebration was anything but typical. There were no marching bands or rowdy crowds cheering on the gridiron boys. Instead, there were tacos and Indian fry bread, lawn games and a scavenger hunt, and best of all, lots of laughter and bear hugs as old friends saw each other for the first time in years.

Homecoming brought a crowd of more than 400 alumni, faculty and staff, students, and friends to the Heritage University campus. The event was a celebration in honor of the university’s 40th anniversary. Guests were bedecked in custom-designed, limited edition 40th anniversary Heritage gear, t-shirts for alumni, and bucket hats for faculty, staff and students.

“It was an amazing evening,” said David Wise, vice president for Marketing and Advancement. “We hear it over and over again; Heritage is like a family. You could really feel that during Homecoming. That night we not only celebrated this university and all the good it’s done in its 40 years, we also celebrated all the people, our friends and colleagues, and the common bond we formed through our association with Heritage.”

Heritage even put its own spin on the traditional Homecoming court. The designation of Homecoming Royalty went to the two students who traveled the farthest to attend college. Tania Nunez is a freshman majoring in nursing who travels 140 miles each day, and Yesenia Delgado, a freshman majoring in education, travels 60 miles to and from campus daily.

“Our students have a remarkable commitment to their education. They truly understand the importance of earning their degree to help them build the life they want and deserve,” said Wise. “That commitment is clearly evident in the sacrifices they make to ensure that they get to campus to attend their classes. In some cases, like with our Homecoming royalty, the sacrifices include spending an hour or more traveling to and from campus every day.”

While this was the first Homecoming, Wise is confident it won’t be the last.

“We learned a lot from this first event and are already thinking about ways to build upon its success for next year.”