Presenters for the three-day event ran the gamut of topics and specialties, and guests included: Dr. Lawrence Beem '70, Dr. Krista Burns, Dr. Carl S. Cleveland III '75, Bharon Hoag, Dr. Sarah Kucera '06, Dr. Jeffrey Lavell, Lisa Markley, Dale Marrant, Kathy Mills Chang, Dr. Rick Morris '77, Dr. Brendan Murray '88, Dr. Sonia O'Donnell McGowin '10 and Dr. Mark Wade '11.
In addition to the speakers, other guests for the weekend included the Kansas Chiropractic Association (KCA), which once again conducted its annual meeting on campus. Also, more than 30 vendors were on site to share their products and services.
Dr. Clark Beckley '75, vice president of campus and alumni relations, said the weekend was a positive experience. In keeping with the theme, it was a championship-caliber event for all.
"Homecoming 2016 was a huge success, based on the record attendance," Beckley said. "Although it takes a lot of hard work and effort behind the scenes, it is always rewarding to see the final event successfully unfold."
Sarah Hilliard, director of alumni services, concurred with Beckley on her assessment of the weekend. Although it was hectic, it was gratifying to know that Cleveland alums are making such a positive impact in the field.
"It was busy and crazy, but so much fun to see so many happy alums on campus," Hilliard said. "The most special thing about this year for me was to see so many recent graduates on campus. It was fantastic to hear the amount of success they are having."
Beckley went on to say that events like Homecoming are beneficial both professionally and socially, and he finds it unfortunate that some choose not to attend saying, "they don't know what they're missing." After attending numerous Homecoming celebrations over the years, he still recognizes the value of a weekend with his alumni family.
"What a great opportunity to reconnect with friends and classmates, maybe learn some fresh ideas about how to improve your skills and grow your practice, and just have a good time!" Beckley said.
Following the CEU sessions on Friday, the Cleveland Alumni Association hosted a social event at Topgolf in Overland Park. The interactive entertainment complex provided fun and socializing, and for some, a chance to sharpen their golf skills.
After the sessions on Saturday, an awards ceremony was held in the Assembly Hall where the Cleveland Alumni Association announced its 2016 "Alum of the Year." The recipient was Dr. Patrick Hammond '97. He was surprised to hear his name called, and gave an emotional acceptance speech. When asked why it was so moving for him to be recognized, Hammond cited the impact of those that came before him.
"It's a wonderful honor to be listed with so many great doctors from our institution that I've looked up to for years," Hammond said. "We all stand on the shoulders of giants."
He went on to say that being involved with the University has shaped him as a person and a practitioner. For him, staying active with alumni activities is about loyalty to the past and the wonder of what the future might bring.
"My life presently wouldn't be possible without chiropractic or Cleveland," Hammond said. "Looking back on how far our profession has come, as it continues to grow and be more mainstream in everyday life, how could you not be excited and want to be involved?"
A steadfast supporter of the University and the profession, Hammond has remained active at Cleveland since graduating. He is the immediate past president of the Cleveland Alumni Association, and currently serves as the chair of the Board of Trustees for the University.
Hammond was not the only Cleveland alum honored Saturday evening. The KCA named Dr. Devin Vrana '10 as its 2016 "Young Doctor of the Year."
In the final view, Homecoming 2016 offered the opportunity for educational, professional and social enrichment. And while each of these can be done elsewhere, it's more memorable when it happens on your home field, at the place where it all began, among friends that share a common bond. And more than anything, it reminds us that it's always good to go home.