Running back to Mines

by | Jan 2, 2019 | Alumni Network, Winter 2019 | 0 comments

Homecoming 2018 welcomed alumni back to campus to celebrate the Oredigger spirit with students, faculty and staff on Sept. 27-29. Alumni had the chance to reconnect with former classmates and get an insider’s peek into what is happening on campus directly from President Paul C. Johnson, who shared details of the MINES@150 strategic plan as we get closer to celebrating the university’s sesquicentennial.

Alumni reminisced on what Mines was like when they were students, noting the grit, rigor and teamwork necessary to earn their degrees are all strengths of past Orediggers that remain aspects of today’s student experience and will help carry the institution into the future. 

“When I was here, the professors said, ‘Look to your left, look to your right—only one of you will make it.’ Now, we should be saying, ‘Look to your left, look to your right—those are the people who will help you get through,’” said George Puls ’75. 

This year, the class of 1968 celebrated its 50th class reunion and fondly remembered the fraternities they were part of, Mines traditions and the many shenanigans they got away with as students. Many shared their story in the Oredigger Story Booth, now featured as videos on the Alumni Tales page at 

A local bluegrass band serenaded alumni as they celebrated late into the night at the Boots & Barrels event, the alumni-exclusive party and awards ceremony. Exemplary members of the Mines community highlighted that evening included:

  • Mitch Kruse ’85 – Outstanding Alumnus Award
  • Harold Korell ’68 – Melville F. Coolbaugh Award
  • Tim Saenger ’95 – Alumnus of the Year
  • Ethan Faber MS ’16 – Young Alumnus of the Year
  • Harry Briscoe ’71, MS ’72 – Alumni Academic Involvement Award
  • Sevy Swift, class of 2019 – Alumnus of the Future
  • George Puls ’75 – M Club Leader of the Year

The most notable event this year was the newest addition to the weekend activities: the inaugural Homecoming 5K. A total of 220 alumni, faculty, staff and students joined President Johnson for a 3.1-mile run (or walk) past the scenic views along Clear Creek, the Clear Creek Athletic Complex and many new buildings on campus. 

“We had the great fortune to meet some fellow alumni so we jogged/walked the entire course together, reliving our days at Mines and advancing to our careers and current lives. We all had the best of memories of our times at Mines,” said Vince DeBonis ’78. “The course was awesome, with the path along Clear Creek and around the campus. I am so proud of our ‘new’ campus. When I started in 1974, we only had about 1,200 undergrads, so the expansion, plus larger student body, has made for an impressive and modern campus.”

Medals cast at the Mines foundry and a pancake breakfast awaited racers at the finish line, and they got prime seating for the Homecoming parade, which featured the Mines marching band, floats made by student organizations and, of course, an appearance by Blaster. 

A raucous tailgate led into the football game, where the Orediggers beat Colorado Mesa University, 72-31, bringing the Nyikos Cup—an annual trophy named after Michael Nyikos, a longtime supporter of both schools—back to Golden for the first time since 2014. 

What a weekend!