Anne Gannaway has been enjoying an extended homecoming since the first of July.
That's when the daughter of longtime St. Ambrose administrator Ed Henkhaus returned to the campus she all but grew up on. In the role of alumni director, Gannaway almost immediately began looking to rekindle the magic she remembered from St. Ambrose homecomings of her youth.
"I just have a goal of generating enthusiasm, getting people talking about it," she said.
Homecoming Weekend 2012 will take place Sept. 28-30, with the classes of 1962, 1967, 1972 and 2002 celebrating special anniversaries.
The schedule also includes the 17th annual Killer Bee 5K Run/Walk, which this year will feature a new wrinkle: chip timing.
Laura "Divot" Ekizian ‘92, the longtime race director who helped create the Killer Bee as alumni director in 1995, called the step to chip timing "a big deal."
From the Killer Bee's beginning, she said organizers focused on making the homecoming race a top-notch experience for runners inside and outside of the St. Ambrose community. The Killer Bee is one of a few road races that provide long-sleeved, cotton shirts to race entrants.
But the finish line convenience of chip timing is an added attraction.
"Everyone is used to chip timing now," she said. "They're not used to putting a bib on, cutting it off and standing in line at the finish chute."
Ekizian said the run started as a means of mixing all the groups on hand for homecoming weekend. "Students can volunteer or participate alongside alumni, the parents, the neighbors, the community," she said. "Then you add the spectators and the kids race. What other event besides the football game do you get that many Ambrosians in one spot."
The Bumble Rumble, a nine-year-old event with three heats for youngsters of varying ages, is an increasingly popular post-Killer Bee event. Together, the two runs get a big homecoming Saturday off to a fast start.
While looking forward to her first homecoming weekend in her official capacity, Gannaway also is looking forward to bigger homecomings in the future.
"I really want to ratchet up the engagement on this," she said.