Members of the Bemidji State women's basketball team take part in the action at the Homecoming football game on Saturday, Sept. 30, 2023, at Chet Anderson Stadium. (Micah Friez / Bemidji State)
Micah Friez 2023 square

By Micah Friez

Published 2:12 p.m. on Oct. 3, 2023

What do you get when you combine a beaver, the Wild West and thousands of alumni and friends?

One heck of a Homecoming week for Bemidji State University.

The week of Sept. 25-Oct. 1 was full of action on campus and in Bemidji as BSU embraced the annual affair with a "Bucky's Hoedown" theme. Here's a look at some of the highlights.

Honors Gala

The 2023 Honors Gala kicked off the weekend's festivities. Over 200 guests packed the Sanford Center to celebrate four distinguished alumni and many other supporters.

Marc Bloomquist, Corby Koehler and John Thompson were honored with the Outstanding Alumni Award – the Bemidji State Alumni & Foundation's highest honor – while Denae Alamano was a recipient of the Young Alumni Award.

Past award-winners were also recognized, as were donors entering new giving societies. Attendees also got a look into how donations transform students' lives with a video highlighting the Maury Sullivan Emergency Grant for International Students.

Click below to learn more about our distinguished alumni and the grant for international students.

Marc Bloomquist

Corby Koehler

John Thompson

Denae Alamano

The Maury Sullivan Emergency Grant fund

As part of recognizing Bemidji State's generous donors, the BSU Alumni & Foundation highlighted the impact of philanthropic support at the Honors Gala. The spotlight showcased the Maury Sullivan Emergency Grant for International Students, which first became available in the spring of 2023 and has already been awarded to four BSU students. Here are Harrison and Erik, two of those recipients, to share their experiences as international students and the significant impact this grant has already made on their lives.

Game Day Experience and tailgating

On Saturday, the action continued with a palpable buzz around campus ahead of the Homecoming football game.

Before opening kickoff, Game Day Experience launched across the street in a revamped version of Community Appreciation Day with approximately 450 attendees. Local businesses set up booths with goodies, giveaways and games, and guests also dined on food truck delicacies and snapped a picture with Bucky the Beaver.

At Diamond Point Park, hundreds more gathered for food, cornhole, socializing and more at tailgating.

BSU football vs. Minnesota State

One of the marquee games of the college football season lived up to the hype.

Bemidji State, playing in its first-ever top-10 matchup in school history, hosted Minnesota State in a battle of heavyweights at Chet Anderson Stadium. The community came out strong to support the Beavers, as a sell-out crowd of 3,250 fans created one of the best gameday atmospheres in recent memory.

Unfortunately, the Mavericks escaped with a 27-24 win to spoil this year's lake jump, but the excitement bursting from the stands all game won't soon be forgotten.

Carl O. Thompson Memorial Concert

The annual Carl O. Thompson Memorial Concert put a bow on Homecoming with its 40th anniversary concert on Sunday.

The event featured BSU's wind ensemble, Blue Ice Jazz Band, the Bemidji Chamber Orchestra and the Bemidji Choir.

The concert benefits Bemidji State music scholarships and also features performances by Carl O. Thompson scholarship winners each year.

All that and more

Students were busy all week with a slew of activities, too. Here's a look into what went on around campus.

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