Homecoming is underway and campus is full of activity. Students have already had a blast with the newly added window painting on College Hill, kick-off event and outdoor movie in Lawther Field, and over 20 offices decked out with Mardis Gras-themed decor. We hope to see our alumni back on campus for the Alumni Reception on Friday night (equipped with live music, food and drinks), the parade, tailgate and football game on Saturday.
We have built wonderful traditions that both current students and alumni can enjoy, but how did Homecoming start at UNI?
In the March 10, 1920, issue of the student newspaper, the College Eye, a couple editorials promoted the idea of having a Homecoming. In one editorial, probably written by student Harold C. Sheldon, it was said that alumni and students deserved an opportunity to get to know one another and to enjoy a football game together.
That May, the Alumni Association appointed a Homecoming Committee to assist in planning. However, it is evident that plans did not come together over the summer as hoped. On Sept. 22, 1920, the College Eye lead editorial was titled “How About Homecoming?” Alumni reached out to campus asking about plans for Homecoming encouraging the university to set a date and make plans.
Finally, on Oct. 20, 1920, the College Eye announced that Homecoming would be held on Saturday, Oct. 30, just 10 days later. The program would consist of a “monster Pep meeting” on Friday, Oct. 29, to be followed by another pep assembly on Saturday morning. At the latter assembly there would be cheers, “snappy talks” and reports from alumni on plans to build the Campanile. At noon on Saturday there would be picnics and then class reunions. At 3 p.m., the Teachers College would play Parsons College, a strong opponent in football. On Saturday evening there would be an all-college party in the East Gymnasium, with one or possibly two orchestras to accommodate an anticipated crowd of 2,000 people.
The first Homecoming went well. Teachers College defeated Parsons College on a muddy field, 14-0. About 225 alumni, and a large number of students, enjoyed the pep assemblies, meals, game and big party. Considering that the program was put together very late, students deemed the whole event a great success. But just a week after the first Homecoming, they stressed that “It is not too soon to begin laying plans for the next one.”
The students in 1920 built the foundation on which our current traditions are built. Homecoming remains a vital event to bring students, alumni and friends together to celebrate everything that is UNI. Don't miss out! Check out the rest of the week's events at the Homecoming website. We are already planning for Homecoming Week 2017 - starting on Sunday, Oct. 1 and ending Saturday, Oct. 7 with the football game.
Interested in more history? Check out the Rod Library's website.
In 1920, in its first Homecoming game, Teachers College defeated Parsons College, 14-0; the field is on the current site of the Rod Library.