The History of Homecoming


Mica Chesshir, Writer and Editor

   Pep-rallies, parades, and spirit days: all signs of an American school homecoming, where students and alumni alike  Pep-rallies, parades, and spirit days: all signs of an American school homecoming, where students and alumni alike celebrate their school. Undeniably, Homecoming has been ingrained into American culture, the tradition more than a century old. There has been much speculation in the past on who held the first homecoming, with Baylor, Illinois, and Missouri the frontrunners.

   In 1909, Southwestern University’s students and alumni came together to celebrate their school spirit. Although this event didn’t involve a big game, it was still a tremendous success. According to Dr. William B. Jones, Professor of History Emeritus at Southwestern, said that the students raised money to serve a big barbecue dinner, and they also decorated the town buildings.

   A few months later, in 1909, Baylor started an event, originally named Good Will Week, where almost the whole town of Waco attended a parade and football game against Texas Christian University. With more than 5,000 alumni and fans watching, Baylor came out with a victory (Michael Cramton).

   The University of Illinois, in an effort to heighten school spirit for the 1910 game against the Chicago Maroons, put together three big events, ending with the big football game. Illinois had a losing streak of seven years against the Maroons, but after the 1910 homecoming game, the streak was finally broken. A reporter who was there made a remark about the entire event saying, “A description of the crowd would be beyond words. Under the blue skies of a perfect October day there was a great mountain of humanity in the grand stands on either side of the field.” (University of Illinois Archives)

   In 1911, The University of Missouri, was the first homecoming that was held annually. It was centered around a parade and football game, and the University was accredited to be the first homecoming by the NCAA, Trivial Pursuit, and the game show, Jeopardy. (Michael Cramton)

   By the 1920s, homecoming was already a familiar event across America and has evolved into what it is today. We play Sheridan at the homecoming game Friday night at 7. The homecoming dance starts at 7 on Saturday night, so Be Our Guest to a night full of memories and fun!