The City University of New York’s Queens College has taken another step in honoring its past athletic achievers and bolstering its athletic department.
The school hosted the first-ever Homecoming Tailgate party on Sunday to pay tribute to past athletes and allow them to connect with current players.
Dozens of fans and student athletes past and present representing the men’s and women’s basketball, women’s lacrosse, women’s fencing, softball, men’s and women’s soccer and women’s volleyball teams attended the event, which featured food, music and games. There was also a scrimmage soccer match with past and current female soccer players.
“It’s just a celebration of us,” said China Jude, athletic director of Queens College. “It’s just a way to hang out. There is no agenda. Just eat, enjoy fellowship and have fun.”
The event was the culmination of homecoming weekend, which included the annual men’s and women’s basketball season kick-off event, MidKnight Madness, on October 18, and the second-annual Hall of Fame Induction dinner on October 19.
MidKight Madness attracted nearly 1,000 fans for a night of food, music, events and free giveaways. And some past athletes that attended the Hall of Fame dinner also stopped by the tailgate party the next day to connect with current players.
“It’s lovely to see the growth of Queens College,” said Gail Marquis, a Queens College alum who played on the first United States basketball women’s Olympic team in 1976. “We never had a tailgate party before.”
Following years of just the MidKnight Madness celebration, school officials said the Hall of Fame Induction dinner and now the Homecoming Tailgate party makes a full weekend of activities to promote and further appreciate the Queens College athletic department.
“It’s definitely a positive step,” said Carl Christian, a Queens College alum and the current head coach of the men’s soccer team. “It’s vital in terms of development and building a strong foundation not only in terms of competitive teams, but in terms of having tradition and history and respect for what’s come before.”