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Bluefield State College students and faculty participate in the Homecoming 5K that took place at Bluefield City Park Tuesday.

BLUEFIELD — Bluefield State College is holding its first football homecoming celebration more than 40 years this week.

Called “Homecoming On the Hill,” the event is also celebrating its first on-campus student housing in more than 50 years.

Dr. Deirdre Guyton, chair of the Homecoming committee and director of alumni affairs, said the theme is “Back Like We Never Left,” and BSC wants area residents to join students, alumni, faculty and staff in the “biggest Homecoming in decades.”

“We are playing football for the first time since 1980,” she said. “We are a residential campus again for the first time since 1968. We have much to celebrate and much to be thankful for. This week is a special time for the community to join us as we show off a little of the incredible transformation that’s taken place here in the last year. We’re working hard to make sure lots of alumni come back to see old friends and make new ones.”

Dean of Students Ron Shidemantle said BSC is growing.

“We are the fastest-growing college or university in West Virginia,” he said. “Despite all the challenges presented by the epidemic, our enrollment is up more than 7 percent from last year. Our freshman class is the largest in years, more than 40 percent of total enrollment. We have a lot to celebrate and I hope the entire Bluefield community will join us.”

Homecoming events kicked off Tuesday with a 5K Color Fun Run at City Park.

Today, a block party will be held from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. in Ned Shott Gym parking lot. Food and games will be featured as well as a DJ.

Residents are urged to watch the Homecoming Parade, set for Thursday, starting at 5:30 p.m.

The parade will start at First Christian Church on Bland Road and march through downtown and to the campus via Pulaski Street.

The Omega Psi Phi Fraternity will host a Scholarship Dance on Friday night from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. in the student center. The Allen Smith Band will play. Admission is $10.

Tailgating for the Homecoming football game will start at 7 a.m. in the parking lot at Mitchell Stadium. For details of the tailgating policy, go online at go-bstate.com/information/Tailgate_Policy

At 1 p.m., BSC Big Blue will face the University of Fort Lauderdale in Mitchell Stadium.

Festivities will continue Saturday night with an Alumni Dance at the Clover Club in Bluefield from 8 p.m. to midnight. Admission is $20.

On Sunday morning, Coffee with the Coaches will be held in the student center from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Admission is $10.

The weekend will round out at 4 p.m. as the Women’s Big Blue soccer team faces Salem at the East River Complex on John Nash Boulevard.

— Contact Charles Boothe at cboothe@bdtonline.com

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