On November 11-12, the Golden Bear community gathered in Montgomery for the university’s “Through the Decades” homecoming.
Friday’s student and alumni activities included Tech trivia, a coffee bar, a wrestling victory over Penn State Du Bois and a ‘Through the Decades’ dance and costume contest.
In the afternoon, a crowd of 80 students, faculty, staff and alumni met in the engineering auditorium for the State of Tech Address. Campus President Carolyn Long shared an update on the campus and the transition to Beckley. She reflected on the history of the institution and its outlook for the future.
“Think of how far we’ve come. We did that because we look forward. We want to celebrate the past and keep all those wonderful memories we had at Tech. That’s timeless. But we must move forward,” she said.
“Tech is not about buildings, land or a budget. It’s about faculty that prepare our students for the next stage of life. It’s about the staff and administrators that support students and each other and they move down this path. And it’s about the wonderful students who walk the halls of our campus and who will one day become alumni who talk about the good old days,” she said.
The university hosted a parade in Montgomery on Saturday morning followed by a tailgate at the Neal D. Baisi Athletic Center. Women’s and men’s basketball alumni faced off in games at 11 and noon on Saturday. At 2 p.m., the WVU Tech men’s basketball team beat Point University, 117-80.
Erin Dydland, ‘02, drove in from Charleston to attend the events. Dydland grew up in Queens, New York and came to Tech on a basketball scholarship. She went on to become one of the first graduates of the university’s athletic coaching education program and uses the skills she learned running programs at the YMCA in Charleston.
For her, Saturday was a homecoming in the true sense of the word.
“We’re catching up with a lot of people. It’s like we never left,” she said. “The friends that I made at this school became my family. They still are. I never went back to New York because this is them. This is my family.”
Robert “Doc” Warner, ‘72, played baseball at Tech. The Pineville, West Virginia native earned an education degree and went on to teach for more than 30 years before retiring. Today, he’s an active referee and coaches golf and softball at Wyoming East High School.
“I learned a lot from Coach Baisi back in the day. He taught classes in coaching football and basketball and I learned stuff from him that I put into use in my career all the time,” he said.
Warner attended Tech during the height of the Vietnam War and the Civil Rights Movement. He remembers attending concerts put on by the Tech Organization for Black Unity and making friends in the gym shooting hoops in his free time. He said that he couldn’t have been in a better place.
“Tech was incredible when I was here. The nostalgia is something. Just remembering the good times I’ve had here. I had a blast and I learned some life lessons that stuck with me,” he said.
Warner said he’s excited about the university’s future in Beckley and plans to become a season ticket holder when the basketball program moves to the new campus.
Check out photos from the weekend’s festivities on Flickr.