UMass Alumnus Bill Cosby to Provide Benefit Performance at Homecoming 2004 on Oct. 29

AMHERST , Mass. – A performance by internationally known entertainer Bill Cosby will highlight festivities at Homecoming 2004 at the University of Massachusetts Amherst on Friday, Oct. 29 at 8 p.m. in the Mullins Center. Cosby, who lives nearby in Shelburne, earned both his master''s degree and doctorate in education at UMass Amherst in the 1970s and has agreed to dedicate the proceeds from his performance to the Chancellors'' Scholars Fund.

The 350-member UMass Minuteman Marching Band and its energetic director George N. Parks will open the night''s performance by Cosby at the Mullins Center. There will be a bon fire, pep rally, and concert by the Campus Pond following the Cosby concert.

In addition to his stellar career in the entertainment industry, Cosby has become well known for his intense interest in promoting educational opportunity. Last spring he was instrumental in developing and launching a new “Bridges to the Future: UMass Amherst-Community Partnerships for Success in Athol and Orange Massachusetts,” program through the UMass School of Education. The program is designed to promote teacher education, the enhancement of local schools, health, nutrition and literacy education, and the expansion of youth opportunities in both communities. More recently, Cosby has assumed a high-profile role in dealing with education and violence prevention programs in Springfield.

Other activities on tap for Homecoming 2004 weekend include “The Power of Learning,” a showcase of the university''s teaching, arts, research, and community service from 9 a.m. to noon Oct. 29 in the Campus Center. It is free and open to the public. “The Power of Learning” features an arts festival and interactive displays highlighting subjects under study at the university ranging from high-technology robot research, to interactive classrooms, to child psychology, to community service initiatives.

On Oct. 30, the UMass Minutemen face the Black Bears of Maine in the annual Homecoming football game at McGuirk Alumni Stadium at 1 p.m., preceded by MinuteFan park, where fans and alumni can gear up for the game.

There will also be the annual Leadership Conference for all Alumni Club Leaders taking place throughout the weekend, along with special celebrations to commemorate the 30th Anniversary of the Bilingual Collegiate Program. In addition, alumni from all 50 states will be returning to campus to participate in special activities, including an appearance during halftime of the football game.

Student tickets for the Cosby show are available at the Mullins Center box office. Non students can purchase tickets on line at www.ticketmaster.com or call Ticketmaster at 413/733-2500. Tickets are $10 for students and range from $40-$75 for non students. This event is underwritten by Yankee Candle, Western Massachusetts Electric, and the UMass Amherst Alumni Association.