With homecoming week at Minnesota State University, Mankato well underway, the Reporter reached out to President Edward Inch to hear his thoughts on his first homecoming as president of the university.
Do you plan on attending any of the homecoming festivities?
Yes, as many as I can. The bonfire was excellent. The pickle eating contest was fun. I’m looking forward to the pancake breakfast, parade, and football game.
Anything you are particularly excited for?
All of it—there is a lot of energy when we all get together, celebrate, and share.
What was homecoming like at your previous schools?
Every place has its own traditional celebrations. It’s difficult to compare. They are all good in their own way and meaningful to the school.
How does Maverick Spirit differ from that?
There is a genuine excitement being back together and engaging in all the events that are unique to us.
How would you assess the value of homecoming week to students?
It’s important. Whenever people can come together in community, share, celebrate, or just experience something in common, we build memories, relationships, and find new opportunities. These are positive experiences and strengthen our community.
How does the value to the current student differ from alumni ‘coming home’?
One is not better than the other; they are just different. Our current students are building memories of their experiences here and now. Our alumni are our story; our heritage. I thoroughly enjoy listening to them talk about their life paths, the role education played for them, and the important relationships many still have with people on campus. They are what tells me that we do an excellent job in educating and supporting our students. My hope is they genuinely feel that this is their “home” and that they and all of our current students will come back regularly to re-engage and inspire future students.
This is the first full on homecoming since 2019, how do you see the campus population reacting to all the events and activities?
A lot of excitement. I was told that the crowd at the bonfire was the biggest in our history. I don’t know if that is true but it was big. Same with the CSU being crowded for eating pickles. Our academic work is important and the focus of what we do and these activities that are constructive, community-centered events are important breaks along the way that support our students’ success.
What do you think it means to be a Maverick?
Great question. For me, a maverick is bold, innovative, and able to see new ways of accomplishing great things. We have quite a few of those people on campus who see paths and opportunities that others miss. That is one of the reasons our campus does as well as it does.
What role do you, as the President, play in creating and facilitating school spirit at MNSU?
While I suppose the cliche answer is that the President is the head cheerleader for the campus, I feel very proud to represent us both on and off campus. Presidents help set the tone. They help shape the agenda and they celebrate the meaningful events with the campus community. That is why I try to be at as many things as I can—even if I can’t stay very long.
In the future, do you envision new homecoming traditions? Anything in specific come to mind as new celebration ideas for campus?
Hmm. I don’t know. I haven’t experienced this homecoming week yet. Once we are through it, I’ll probably have some thoughts. As will others and I look forward to hearing them. Right now, I’m just enjoying the moments of the week and seeing how much people are engaged in the celebration.
Do you have anything you’d like to say to students and alumni in regard to celebrating homecoming?
A/ Have a great week. Stay safe. Enjoy what this means—a focus on us, our traditions, our history, and one another.