American History / History Of Homecoming

History Of Homecoming

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Autor:  anton  03 March 2011
Tags:  History,  Homecoming
Words: 932   |   Pages: 4
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The History of Homecoming

Every year thousands of alumni, parents, students and family come back to the University of Arizona for Homecoming. Homecoming consists of class reunions, a football game, dinners, parades and many other celebrations. Homecoming is for all the colleges and departments at the University of Arizona. Homecoming has been a tradition of U of A for almost 92 years now. This annual event has plenty of history behind it which contributes to the gathering of thousands of people each year to celebrate it.

The first Homecoming was in 1914 at the University of Arizona. The football game is one of the major events of the weekend that usually kicks off the Homecoming weekend. One of the first homecoming games that happened at the U of A was when the Wildcats beat Pomona College over Thanksgiving in front of a crowd of 1,500 people. After this game, homecoming football games became a tradition. Following the first homecoming football game, students and athletes began participating in night games. Due to the immense popularity for night games, Homecoming football games soon became night games. After the football games students decided to have a parade which consisted of student built floats that were to be driven around. During the next 40 years homecoming was only cancelled once due to the war.

The tradition of Homecoming king and queen came after World War II. The student body would elect its first Homecoming Queen. It wasn’t until 1983 that the University of Arizona would elect a Homecoming King. Then in 1988 the tradition of crowing the king and queen at a bonfire and pep rally near Old Main started. The Homecoming parade has moved around a lot due to construction and new buildings being put up throughout the years. Up until the 1970s the parade had originally been held in the streets of downtown Tucson. Then soon after the completion of the UA Mall the parade was moved there where it has become one of the nation’s largest parades.

Many traditions have been made out on the lawn of the UA Mall. In 1985 the west side of the Mall was home to Saturday’s “Tents on the Mall” event. This is one of the most widely attended event of Homecoming weekend besides the football game itself. Tents on the Mall includes fraternities, sororities, alumni and students to set up food, drinks, entertainment and offer a friendly gathering spot to catch up on the past. Since 1985 this event has grown so much that it virtually takes up the entire Mall. In 1998 during construction, Tents on the Mall was temporally moves to the East area of the Mall.

Many of the colleges and departments at the U of A hold events for their students and returning alumni. Some examples are; Eller College will be holding a golf tournament at Starr Pass for students, family and alumni. Another example of an event held by a particular college is University of Arizona College of Nursing will be holding a breakfast for all their students to come with their families and friends and have a chance to meet their professors over a casual setting.

Another event scheduled for Homecoming is the Bear Down Bash. The legendary Bash includes a hosted cocktail hour, dinner, presentation of the Homecoming royalty, and entertainment by the UA Pep Band. The Bash signals the start of the Homecoming festivities, and there are numerous events going on all weekend long. However in 2000 with the construction of Bear Down Gym, the bash was renamed “Tear Down Bash” and was temporality held in the Student Union.

One more part of history that is associated with the University of Arizona is the unveiling of our mascot Wilbur the Wildcat. 1959 marked the creation of the first incarnated Wilbur, when University student John Paquette and his roommate, Dick Heller, came up with idea of creating a costume for a student to wear. Ed Stuckenhoff was chosen to wear the costume at the homecoming game in 1959 against Texas Tech and since then it has become a long-standing tradition. Soon after, we also created Wilma the Wildcat, Wilbur’s long time girlfriend. Together, Wilbur and Wilma appear along with the cheerleading squad at most Wildcat sporting events.

Arizona football has been consistently bad for almost all of history. The UA's worst Homecoming game losses were by 32 points, to Rice, 32-0, in 1931 and Texas Tech, 39-7, in 1950. Since that first game in 1914, Arizona has posted an overall winning record at Homecoming of 49-29-5. Until the arrival of Dick Tomey as head coach in 1987, the Wildcats hadn't given a chance for their fans to cheer. The most Homecoming games the Wildcats have lost in a row is five, from 1975 to 1979. However, there was a time period when U of A won 8 Homecoming games in a row from 1916-1924.

Much has changed throughout the years at U of A. Looking back, Homecoming once started as an afternoon football game in front of 1,500 people and now has grown to one of the largest events in College history. We now elect Homecoming kings and queens, hold large parades with much more technologically advanced materials and have mascots. Homecoming has stood the test of time and is a true tradition of the University of Arizona and hopefully in the years to come will bring back many of its recent graduates and their families.

Works Cited

Alquist, Jon. UA Homecoming History. 20 September 2001. 19 October 2006

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