October, thanks to its name and time of year, loans itself out nicely to countless celebrations coast to coast. There are plenty of Oktoberfests, Rocktober events, and other similar revelries.
But here at the University of Hartford, we have something extra special: Hawtober, our annual homecoming and family weekend. Nearly 500 alumni, 260 parents, and 300 current students stopped by to celebrate this year’s event, held on campus from October 14 to 16. Others logged in virtually from across the globe for events such as the Anchor Awards, which recognized the accomplishments of outstanding alumni.
Participant comments offered an indication of the range of activities—and the level of enjoyment:
• “Enjoyed the Jazz Brunch today.”
• “Having a great time at Pre-Flight.”
• “What a treat to watch alumni broadcast the news on STN2.”
• “Cool art on display in the library.”
That, of course, is only a brief indication of the range of activities that were part of the 2022 three-day gala. In addition to those mentioned above, other popular events included the Talcott Mountain Alumni Hang, the Gengras Student Union Coffee House, a Study Abroad presentation, a Parents Breakfast, a rebroadcast of the popular 1972 TV program about UHart called “Walls Without Ivy,” a sold-out performance of the Broadway musical The Drowsy Chaperone, and the 50th reunion of the Golden Hawks.
“Hawktober couldn’t happen without the support of so many departments and representatives across campus,” shares Samantha Ouellette, events manager at UHart, one of the hundreds of University staffers who, along with student and alumni volunteers, helped shape the 2022 festivities. These included Facilities, the Student Engagement and Inclusion office, Dining Services, and many event owners whose passion for student and guest engagement built such a diverse schedule of events.
“Many teams were actively engaged in Hawktober planning for about nine months,” adds Caitlin Trinh, senior director of alumni engagement. “Because of the pandemic, this was the first time in three years that we were able to have a full on-campus, in-person Hawktober experience.”
Pre-Flight was cited as the most popular event. It was organized by volunteers from the Student Government Association, and featured food trucks, music played by the UHart student radio station WSAM, and dozens of personal reunions. The equally popular Jazz Brunch welcomed soul-singing and songwriting alumna LaTanya Farrell, who performed with her band.
Planning is already beginning for Hawktober 2023, again looking to bring alumni, parents, and the entire UHart community together for a memorable fall weekend.