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Homecoming Redesigned: Alumni return to campus for a new schedule including an outdoor carnival and Stunt Night

Homecoming Redesigned: Alumni return to campus for a new schedule including an outdoor carnival and Stunt Night

By Jennifer Meers Jones ’08
Homecoming has taken on many formats since the university’s first celebration in 1909. Alumni who graduated before the football program began in 1998 remember homecoming as a spring event centered on traditions such as Charter Day, a formal dinner, and singing in the Circle of Songs. Younger alumni have always enjoyed homecoming in the fall—focused around tailgate parties, a big football game, and the halftime announcement of homecoming king and queen.

This year, alumni of all eras can enjoy the best of both worlds. The homecoming schedule has been reformatted to include a Homecoming Weekend in the fall and a Charter Celebration Weekend in the spring.

Director of Alumni Relations Rebecca O’Banion said the change was made because, in the past, homecoming activities have been limited by a tight schedule.

“A lot of the fall homecoming schedule was predetermined by football and various other events,” O’Banion said. “This new format allows us more time in the spring to devote to older traditions such as the Alumni Dinner and Awards, Alumni Chapel, and Circle of Songs. Moving the event to the spring also allows our alumni to participate in beloved traditions such as Midnight March and the Ring and Robing ceremonies.”

Fall homecoming weekend was held Sept. 30-Oct. 1, with a new schedule that included a family-friendly outdoor carnival in the Quad, an enthusiastic Friday night pep rally at Luther Memorial, and a decisive win against Louisiana College on the football field that Saturday. Alumni of all ages said the decision to hold Stunt Night during homecoming weekend was a good one, O’Banion said.

“All ages of alumni enjoy Stunt Night. That is something that draws the generations together.”

O’Banion said responses to the schedule changes have been positive and she expects the new format to continue in the years to come.

“Those that attended fall homecoming really felt the events were right for them and met their needs. And those we have talked to about the spring events are excited about taking part in some of the traditions they remember, like Midnight March and Robing,” she said, adding that she hopes many alumni will choose to attend both the fall and spring events.

“We want to emphasize that we would love for all alumni to come to both. We know that is not always possible, so we hope alumni will pick the event that best meets their needs, and best makes them feel that they have come home.”

Read more about Homecoming 2011: