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Published September 12, 2023
Lifelong University of Wyoming supporters Mary Ellbogen Garland and Rob Garland will serve as the grand marshals of the annual UW Homecoming parade Saturday, Sept. 30.
This year’s Homecoming theme is “Cheers to 100 Years” to honor 100 years of Homecoming. From Sept. 25-30, a variety of events will be hosted across campus -- from a tribute to the iconic Steamboat to a Homecoming Happy Hour with Bond’s Brewing.
The parade is scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m. at the corner of 15th Street and Grand Avenue. It will travel west on Grand Avenue to Second Street; north on Second Street to Ivinson Avenue; and east on Ivinson to Ninth Street. The UW Alumni Association (UWAA) will coordinate the parade.
“Mary and Rob are two exemplary alumni of the university and one of our amazing legacy families,” says Jack Tennant, UWAA executive director. “We are so excited to have them as this year’s Homecoming parade grand marshals.”
Mary comes from a family with three generations of UW alumni. Since she was a child, she has been instilled with a love for Wyoming and UW and a dedication to serving others. She is the president and chair of the John P. Ellbogen Foundation and, in that position, she continues her family’s support of UW.
“We have a big connection to the university through the Ellbogen Foundation,” Mary says. “It has made the ties to UW much stronger over the years and across campus. It all started with my dad’s experience as a student at UW and his commitment to quality teaching. We have realized many opportunities to support UW faculty, students and programs.”
In 2009, Mary was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws from UW to recognize her many contributions to the state of Wyoming and its university. In 2018, she again was recognized for her service to UW and the state with the Medallion Service Award.
Mary attended the UW College of Business and graduated in 1984 with a degree in marketing. She recalls her time as a student as being filled with fun, camaraderie and lifelong friendships while also giving her a deeper sense of connection to Wyoming. One such friendship turned into something more, as Mary met Rob as a student at UW. The two have been married for 39 years.
Rob earned his bachelor’s degree in geology and his master’s degree in hydrogeology, both from UW. After finishing their bachelor’s degrees, Rob and Mary moved out of state to find work, but they returned 10 years later so that Rob could earn his master’s degree. They have since stayed in Wyoming.
“When we moved back to Laramie, we reconnected with friends from the university,” Rob says. “Being engaged over the years with many of the events, leadership and faculty at the university has made us feel like a part of the UW family.”
Both Mary and Rob have given back to the UW community through serving on various campus boards. Rob has given most of his time to the sciences, while Mary has served on boards across campus and on the UW Foundation Board of Directors.
As Homecoming grows closer, Mary and Rob say they are excited to serve as grand marshals for this year’s parade.
“We’re looking forward to all of the events taking place across campus,” Mary says. “We’ll be in the parade, go to tailgate parties and watch the football game. It’ll be a great time filled with ‘Poke’ energy. We appreciate everything the university does to make Homecoming a big celebratory event for Wyoming and our university.”
Other scheduled Homecoming events are:
-- The inaugural UW-Casper Homecoming luncheon will begin at 12:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 25, at the Casper campus. Attendees may RSVP here and check in starting at noon. UW President Ed Seidel and UW-Casper Dean Brent Pickett will welcome back UW-Casper alumni to celebrate Homecoming.
-- The second annual Tribute to Steamboat event, sponsored by Union Wireless, will be Thursday, Sept. 28, beginning at 5 p.m. with a barbecue at the Cliff and Martha Hansen Livestock Teaching Arena, located at 306 Highway 230. A “showdeo” will follow at 6 p.m. The evening will conclude with a swing dance hosted by UW’s Cowboy Country Swing Club.
-- Homecoming check-in will be from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday, Sept. 29, at the Marian H. Rochelle Gateway Center. Saturday check-in will be available at Cowboy Coffee from 7 a.m. until the start of the parade. Alumni who registered by Sept. 10 must pick up their Cowboy swag bags during check-in. Limited quantities will be available for walk-ups and those who register after Sept. 10.
-- The Legacy Lunch will take place Friday from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. in the Wyoming Union Ballroom. Family members of current students, graduates of the Class of 1973 and 50th Club members are invited. Registration closes Sunday, Sept. 17.
-- Homecoming Happy Hour, presented by Bond’s Brewing, will begin at 3 p.m. Friday at the Downtown Laramie Hollyhock Commons. Live music will start at 6 p.m. Registered alumni will receive a free drink token to use Friday night as part of the Cowboy swag bag that they pick up during check-in.
-- Cowboy Coffee, sponsored by UniWyo Credit Union, will take place from 7-9:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 30, at UW’s Ivinson Parking Garage, located between 10th and 11th Streets along Ivinson Avenue. Complimentary Homecoming mugs -- one per person -- and breakfast items will be available while they last.