Homecoming turns 100.
As many of you know I’m an Alum of the University of Missouri. I continue to be very involved with activities at the University, I serve on the School of Health Professions Alumni Board and I was recently appointed to the MIZZOU Legislative Committee by the University President.
This past weekend MIZZOU Celebrated it’s 100th Homecoming. Whether you are a supporter of the University of Missouri or a fan of another institution (even the one to the west of our state line i.e. KU), homecoming is a tradition celebrated at highschools and universities across the country and all homecoming celebrations can be traced back to the original homecoming celebration at MU 100 years ago.
Here’s the story:
The tradition of Homecoming has its origins in alumni football games held at colleges and universities since the mid-19th century. Many schools lay claim to having the first Homecoming, but several seem to have the strongest claims. The NCAA, Trivial Pursuit, Jeopardy, and references from the American TV drama NCIS give the title to the University of Missouri’s 1911 football game during which alumni were encouraged to attend. It was the first annual homecoming centered around a parade and a football game.
The history of the University of Missouri Homecoming can be traced back to 1891, when the Missouri Tigers first faced off against the Kansas Jayhawks in football in the first installment of the Border War, which is also the oldest college football rivalry west of the Mississippi River. The intense rivalry originally took place at neutral sites, usually in Kansas City, Missouri, until a new conference regulation was announced that required intercollegiate football games to be played on collegiate campuses. To renew excitement in the rivalry, ensure adequate attendance at the new location, and celebrate the first meeting of the two teams on the Mizzou campus in Columbia, Missouri, Mizzou Athletic Director Chester Brewer invited all alumni to “come home” for the game in 1911. Along with the football game, the celebration included a parade and spirit rally with bonfire. The event was a success, with nearly 10,000 alumni coming home to take part in the celebration and watch the Tigers and Jayhawks play to a 3–3 tie. The Missouri homecoming model, with its parade and spirit rally centered around a large football game is the model that has gone on to take hold at colleges and high schools across the United States.
Next time you play Trivial Pursuit and you get the question: “Where did the first homecoming celebration occur?”, you will know the answer.
My son attended his first homecoming at Clinton Highschool a little over a week ago and he was on hand this past weekend to celebrate the 100th anniversary of homecoming at MU.
Here are a couple of pictures.