What is homecoming? Most high schools and colleges participate in some sort of homecoming activity, but who came up with this idea, and why is it still a thing? More specifically, how did homecoming at Greenville University begin, and what does it look like today?
There is much debate about which school was the first official host, but the tradition of homecoming began in the early 1900s when colleges started to invite alumni to “return home” for a football game. They wanted to provide alumni time to reminisce and create new memories. Many events and activities take place during the average Homecoming week or weekend, but most include some type of sporting event, typically football, a parade, reunion of specific classes, and a dance for current students where the royalty is crowned.
Homecoming at Greenville University came to light in 1950 when John Strahl became the athletic director. He modeled homecoming after the Olivet Nazarene College event. The first queen was crowned in 1954. The weekend-long commencement included a pep rally, chapel, reunion meals, an assortment of sporting events, the crowning of the homecoming queen, and more. Brock Brentlinger proclaimed, “Homecoming situations are exciting and emotion-generating times and notorious for motivating one to utter overly-sentimental and overly-simplified statements about the grand effects of higher education and particularly the education offered by my 'alma mater,'" in his homecoming chapel address in 1974. The tradition of homecoming at GU is meaningful, to say the least.
GU’s homecoming takes place in October. This is a time for alumni to come back to the campus to visit with old friends and be a witness to what their school is doing today. Not only is this a time for alumni to connect and reconnect, but current students are part of the fun festivities as well. The tradition of GU homecoming is long-lasting, inspiring, and unique to us Panthers.
This year, homecoming weekend at GU is October 18-21, 2018. On Thursday, a Jazz concert and Vespers will take place. Friday is filled with many events including chapel, the homecoming parade, a new event named Panther Palooza, and a Joyous Chaos improv show. The following Saturday is jam-packed full of exciting opportunities such as the Panther 5k, the football game, tailgate lunch, and the dance for current students. A worship service and concert band are happening on the final day of the weekend, Sunday. Awards for alumni will be given out Friday morning. All alumni, community members, parents, and students are invited to join us for an unforgettable weekend of memory-making!
Current students are fortunate enough to have an entire week dedicated to the homecoming celebration. Monday, October 15th was fall break, a spike ball tournament took place on Tuesday, on Wednesday everyone had the chance to meet the men’s and women’s basketball teams during Midnight Madness, and an original Capture the Couch event will take place Thursday evening. The weekend will include integrated activities with the alumni as mentioned in the paragraph above.
Get ready to show your Panther pride this October!