Alumni share Homecoming memories

Five former Tigers describe their love of the yearly traditions.
Sunday, October 14, 2007 | 3:00 p.m. CDT; updated 10:07 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Homecoming is all about bringing Missouri alumni back to town to celebrate with the current crop of students. Here are some favorite memories of past Homecoming events as recalled by alumni:

Matt Dykstra

2005 graduate Matt Dykstra’s favorite memory is working on the skits performed by MU’s Greek community. Dykstra was a member of Phi Gamma Delta, and he was helping out a sorority with a skit performed in Jesse Auditorium.

Dykstra, who now works for the Miller Brewing Co., recalls his emotions in that first moment of the skit, when the curtain went up, and he got to see the reaction from the crowd.

“The place was electric,” Dykstra said. “You could really feel the enormous amount of pride that everyone in that room shared for our beloved university and the Greek community.”

JD Sosnoff

JD Sosnoff, a 1988 journalism graduate, also took part in the Greek festivities. He played the part of Tony the Tiger in a skit his fraternity put on. His face was painted, and he wore a tiger tail.

During the skit, Sosnoff sang for a crowd of about 500 people outside of Jesse Hall. His group ended up winning third place in the competition.

“There were about 500 people there, but to me it seemed like 50,000,” Sosnoff said. “It was the start and end of my singing career.”

Jill Shaw

Jill Shaw, a 2004 graduate in human development and family studies, was not a member of a sorority. However, that doesn’t mean her favorite homecoming memory had nothing to do with the Greek skits.

“My favorite homecoming memories were walking around on Friday night in Greektown looking at the house decorations,” said Shaw, who is now pursuing her MBA at Saint Louis University. “I was always amazed and impressed with the number of hours and work that was put into the decorations and floats.”

Shaw also fondly remembers getting up early to go to the Homecoming parade. Her favorite year was when Sheryl Crow was the master of ceremonies.

“It was awesome for such a big celebrity to be a part of Mizzou’s Homecoming,” Shaw said.

Kim Voss

Though Kim Voss, a 1987 graduate in education and math, had a great time at Homecoming while she was a student at MU, she said her favorite memories from the festivities both happened when she came back as an alumna.

“Maybe you just get more nostalgic when you get older,” said Voss, who now works part time for her husband’s law firm in Washington, Mo.

Voss first brought her children, then ages 10 and 13, to the event several years ago. She loved watching their faces light up as they watched the skits and performances of the students.

“It made me appreciate all the work I did as a student,” Voss said. “It’s really for the whole Tiger family.”

Jude Yahn

For Jude Yahn, now an engineering manager at the Tulsa Winch Group, his favorite memory involved an impromptu part in the Homecoming parade. A 1989 mechanical engineering graduate, Yahn lived with friends on College Drive when he was a senior. Their house happened to be right where some of the floats were lining up at around 6 a.m. the day of the parade. That sparked an idea.

“We weren’t going to get any sleep with all the noise so we quickly decided to decorate my friend’s truck and join in,” Yahn said. “Our driveway was on the back of the house, so we decorated it down there until the other floats started moving.”

When an opportunity arose, the intrepid group of about 10 people drove into the line of floats and continued following the entire parade route. They were even able to drive down the tunnel and onto the field for the football match. They watched the game from the bed of the truck and were even asked to drive Truman and a couple of the cheerleaders around during the third quarter.

“The best part is, we never told our friend we used his truck,” Yahn said. “By the time he returned Sunday night, we had parked it back in its spot and removed the decorations. He still does not know to this day, and he still owns the truck on his farm north of Boonville, Mo. He might figure it out if he reads this, but oh well.”

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