LOWELL, Mass. – UMass Lowell’s River Hawk Homecoming will bring generations of alumni and friends of the university back to campus and inspire current students as together, they honor the institution’s esteemed past, reunite classmates and forge new friendships.

It is also a time for the public to join in the celebration. Open to all, River Hawk Homecoming is filled with family-friendly activities. From Thursday, Oct. 12 through Sunday, Oct. 15, the event-packed weekend will showcase campus life and include outdoor festivals, entertainment, athletic events – including men’s ice hockey games on Friday and Saturday night – and more.

UMass Lowell has more than 92,000 living alumni and more than 53,000 of them live in Massachusetts.

“With alumni returning from many of our predecessor institutions, including Lowell Tech, Lowell State, and ULowell, this will be a homecoming festival that celebrates what it means to be connected to such a vibrant alma mater,” said Heather Makrez, executive director of alumni and donor relations at UMass Lowell and a “double River Hawk” who holds two degrees from the university.

Those who haven’t been to UMass Lowell in recent years will discover there’s never been a better time to visit. The university has grown through a 54 percent increase in enrollment since 2007 and the addition of 14 new properties – including academic and research buildings, residence halls and student centers – since 2009. With 18,000 students, an increase of more than 6,000 over the last decade, UMass Lowell is the fifth fastest-growing public university of its kind in the nation and No. 1 in New England, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education.

While River Hawk Homecoming will welcome home graduates of all class years, nine classes, each five years apart, from 1972 through 2012 will officially mark their reunions. Special events will reunite student-athletes from past field hockey, softball and ice hockey teams, and the present-day field hockey, volleyball and women’s soccer teams will take on America East rivals at free games.

“Rise Up, A Celebration of Sport” will kick off River Hawk Homecoming. A dinner gala, the evening will highlight UMass Lowell’s great moments in athletics and look to the future as the university has completed its transition to the NCAA’s Division I and is now eligible for post-season competition in all sports. Live performances are scheduled to include Nashville recording artist and UMass Lowell graduate Jilly Martin and the UMass Lowell Gospel Choir. The event will be held on Thursday, Oct. 12 beginning at 5 p.m. at the Lowell Memorial Auditorium, 50 E. Merrimack St., Lowell. Members of the public who wish to attend may register athttp://goriverhawks.com/riseup.

A fan favorite since its inception in 2014, “Hawkey Way” – set for Saturday, Oct. 14 from 3 to 6 p.m. – on the grounds of the Tsongas Center at UMass Lowell is a free outdoor festival for all ages filled with carnival games, food, music and a performance by the UMass Lowell Marching Band. Representatives from some of the more than 200 UMass Lowell student-led clubs and organizations will also be on hand to meet the public and share what they are accomplishing in the classroom and throughout the community. For many, the event is a pre-game celebration before Saturday night’s hockey game. All are invited to come out and root for the River Hawks on both Friday, Oct. 13 and Saturday, Oct. 14 and tickets are available through the Tsongas Center box office in person, by phone at 866-722-8780 or online at www.tsongascenter.com.

Again this year, hundreds of participants and spectators will turn out for Jennifer’s Fun Run/Walk on Saturday, Oct. 14. This 5K race runs along both sides of the Merrimack River and recognizes the top finishers in a variety of categories. Held annually in memory of UMass Lowell graduate Jennifer D’Amour ’98, event proceeds benefit a scholarship fund for UMass Lowell women’s cross-country and track-and-field student-athletes. While the race gets underway at noon, registration begins at 9:30 a.m. at the Tsongas Center at UMass Lowell, 300 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Lowell. Those interested in registering for the race in advance should do so at www.alumni.uml.edu/jennifersrun2017.

Members of the UMass Lowell community will also come together on Friday, Oct. 13 to remember William Hogan, the university’s first chancellor and known as the “father of UMass Lowell.” The new William T. Hogan Scholarship Fund for Innovation and Engagement is one way UMass Lowell will continue to honor the legacy of Hogan, who passed away in July. A memorial reception will be held at 10 a.m. at the UMass Lowell Inn & Conference Center, 50 Warren St., Lowell.

A full schedule of River Hawk Homecoming events and registration information is available at www.uml.edu/homecoming/.