WORCESTER, Mass. - The first-ever Worcester Homecoming welcomed natives and alumni who have found success or influence in their fields to return to the city.

The event is a collaborative effort to build a network of distinguished Central Massachusetts alumni who feel connected to the city and community.

Alumni gathered at the AC Marriott on Thursday morning to listen to local leaders, including Mayor Joe Petty and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, speak about Worcester’s momentum and growth. The program includes keynote speakers, panel conversations, and business and neighborhood tours.

The homecoming will also act as an incentive for new ideas, expanded opportunities and future investment. Organizers of the event say they’re pleased with the turnout.

“We have about 50 alumni that have come back to Worcester to reconnect and experience Worcester homecoming,” Homecoming Committee Board Chair Sherri Pitcher said. “We have about 50 to 100 business, civic and community leaders also participating in (Thursday’s) events. We’ve really cast a pretty wide net and reconnected with a lot of people who have strong ties and connections to Worcester.”

The events will run through Friday. The homecoming committee is looking to build a large and diverse network of alumni and is encouraging people to nominate people on their website.