The annual Sports Hall of Fame banquet, a party for alumni and friends, and the retirement of the jersey worn by the most successful quarterback in school history highlight the University of Arkansas at Monticello’s 2015 homecoming celebration October 8-10.
Homecoming kicks off at 4 p.m. Thursday, October 8 with student organization bed races and a pep rally at Convoy Leslie-Cotton Boll Stadium. At 5 p.m., Interim Chancellor Jay Jones will host a reception in the chancellor’s home for this year’s inductees to the UAM Sports Hall of Fame. The public is invited to meet this year’s inductees.
The Sports Hall of Fame banquet will begin at 6 p.m. in the John F. Gibson University Center and will feature the induction of five new members. This year’s inductees are softball All-American Jenny Dunn, Buck James, one of the state’s most successful high school football coaches, All-American wide receiver Lance Gasaway, All-American cornerback Jerry Johnson and All-American basketball player Kenneth Jones. Dr. Walter Godwin will receive the UAM Spirit Award. Rex Nelson, corporate communications director for Simmons First National Corporation, will serve as master of ceremonies. Tickets to the banquet are $35 and may be purchased by contacting the Department of Athletics at (870) 460-1058.
The A&M / UAM Alumni and Friends Party will be held at the chancellor’s home from 6 to 8 p.m. on Friday, October 9. The event is free and includes food, music and recognition of this year’s Alumni Award for Achievement and Merit recipients – Monticello banker George Harris and Camden forester Jim Neeley – as well as the recipients of the Continuing the Connection Award – Kelly and Anna Koonce of Monticello. The Continuing the Connection Award is presented annually to the person or persons who best keep alive the connection between UAM and Arkansas A&M, UAM’s name before joining the University of Arkansas System.
A full slate of activities on Saturday, October 10 begins with the A&M/UAM African-American Alumni Reunion at 8:30 a.m. in the Capitol Room of the University Center. Tickets are $20 each and may be purchased by calling Classie Jones-Green at (870) 556-0527 or Shay Gillespie at (870) 723-3582.
Alpha Sigma Alpha sorority will host a reunion breakfast and silent auction to benefit Special Olympics at 9 a.m. in the Gallery Room of the University Center.
A variety of tailgate parties adjacent to Weevil Pond will begin at 11 a.m., including a party for alumni and friends, a Kappa Alpha fraternity reunion, a reunion of athletes from the 1960s, and a reception for teammates and friends of Dr. Sean Rochelle, whose jersey will be retired during halftime ceremonies at Convoy Leslie-Cotton Boll Stadium.
The Walk of Champions, featuring the Pride of Southeast Arkansas marching band and the Boll Weevil football team will begin at 12:30 p.m. with pregame ceremonies, including the introduction of the 2015 homecoming court, at 2:30.
Kickoff of the homecoming football game between UAM and Southern Nazarene University is set for 3 p.m. At halftime, the university will officially retire the football jersey number 14 worn by Sean Rochelle, who was the Boll Weevils’ starting quarterback from 1986 to 1988.
Rochelle was the AIC co-offensive player of the year in ’88 after leading UAM to a 10-2 record, the only 10-win season in school history, and the school’s first appearance in the NAIA postseason playoffs. Rochelle’s number is the fifth to be retired, joining the number 5 of Kevin McCarn, 11 worn by David “Cedro” Anderson, 12 worn by Joe Don Samples, and 27 worn by Bill McGowan.