Morehead State University’s yearly Homecoming celebration naturally brings plenty of MSU alumni together to share memories, rekindle relationships and display the pride and school spirit that comes with being an Eagle.For Ray Magnifico (68), his enthusiasm for homecoming and his efforts to bring together old classmates has become its own ambitious yearly endeavor.Magnifico and his wife Carolyn (69) met while attending MSU. He was a Newark, N.J., native and she was a daughter of the Bluegrass state, growing up in Paintsville.While the couple currently resides in Point Pleasant, N.J., and has for 30-plus years, they make several trips each year to visit Carolyn’s family in Kentucky and drop by MSU.When homecoming approached six years ago, Magnifico decided since he and Carolyn were retired that this would be the time to reach out to some old classmates.“I started just by contacting eight personal, close friends,” Magnifico said. “Every year, I added a few people to that and every year, I try to bring someone that somebody or everybody knows…but I don’t tell them. Like a mystery guest.”Over the years, Magnifico’s annual MSU homecoming reunion has grown from around a dozen in its first year to the most recent gathering where upwards of 40 people showed up. Some of Magnifico’s classmates from the mid-to-late ‘60s traveled from neighboring states like Ohio and Tennessee and fellow East Coasters from New York and New Jersey while others have traveled from as far away as Michigan, Florida, Texas and Las Vegas.No matter who shows up, Magnifico’s group has their traditions for the homecoming weekend, whether it’s visiting campus hangouts, tailgating before the football game or collectively raiding the University Bookstore for hats, T-shirts and merchandise for themselves and family members.Magnifico said he and his classmates are continually surprised by the growth and changes MSU has undergone since he was an undergraduate.“It’s certainly shocking. It’s a drastic change since we’ve been there,” he said. “The changes have been immense and I know they’re for the good because the school is thriving.”The homecoming trip and reunion of old friends is one Magnifico looks forward to every year. However, he knows he couldn’t pull it off if his classmates didn’t share his affection for their alma mater.“We all have a common thread and that common thread is Morehead State,” Magnifico said. “We are very thankful for the opportunity MSU gave us. Each and every one of us.”For details on Homecoming 2012, visit www.moreheadstate.edu/homecoming.
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