100 Years of Homecoming
The Homecoming grouping of Chi Omega, Farmhouse and Kappa Sigma has been working on campus decorations since Labor Day, but in a way, you could say they’ve been working on this for decades.
If Homecoming started in 1911, why is this year's Homecoming No. 100? Rest easy, mathematicians. There's a reason for this. It has to do with the U.S. War Department and the Spanish flu.
As the leaves change colors and the temperature drops, Columbia braces for its 100th Homecoming. Through the years, traditions have been created celebrated and revived, with some left to fade away into memories.
The year was 1968, and that April, on the second floor balcony of Memphis’ Lorraine Motel, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. As the nation grieved, a group of students at MU decided to organize, and the Legion of Black Collegians was formed. A few years later, it held its very first Black Homecoming celebration.
GameDay, GameDay, GameDay. ESPN’s college football program seemed to be the only thing MU fans talked about last year, including the Columbia Missourian, which mentioned “GameDay” on the front page for three consecutive days leading up to the game and once more on Sunday.
When MU’s new and improved Big MO drum is revealed on Nov. 12, the sound of the celebratory touchdown canon blast will pale in comparison to the 9 by 4 1/2-foot bass drum. The drum’s dimensions make it one of the biggest in the world. It is a growth spurt that arose out of necessity. As the original Big MO approached its 40th birthday, it was beginning to show some signs of wear and tear.
Meagan Roth and Jack Watson are getting married on Homecoming weekend next year, and their friend Kevin Clark is upset. “We tell people not to get married on football weekends,” he says. Roth and Watson defend their scheduled nuptials, which will take place during a Friday ceremony in St. Louis, saying Clark can easily make it back in time to cheer on the Tigers.
Although Tiger spirit has been a constant at MU since the first football team was fielded in 1890, Homecoming fashions have come and gone. Two historic costume collection curators offered their expertise to break down Homecoming attire during the 20th century.
The sparkle of the Golden Girls has become what fans expect every game day. For the dance team that holds such a presence on the MU sidelines with their legendary gold uniforms, white boots and perfected dances, the facility just south of the stadium is the first place they can call home.
Homecoming is not just a celebration for MU students and alumni. Families, faculty and Columbia residents can join in to enjoy the parade, football game, tailgating and more.
Homecoming at MU has seen many changes since Chester Brewer first invited alumni to "come home" for a game in 1911, but the spirit behind the event has remained the same.
The founding father of homecoming returns in spirit to lead the Tigers once again. Former MU athletic director and all-around sportsman, passed away in 1953, and 15 members of his extended family will represent him during the annual celebration.
Here in Columbia, we all know how crazy it can be on game days, not to mention on Homecoming weekend. The backed-up traffic, the sea of gold in the stadium and the cheers from a pumped-up crowd are just part of what gives Homecoming its appeal. See our photo gallery of MU fans at their best.
Nothing says Tiger pride like a parade. It's the perfect excuse for slowing down traffic, throwing (or catching) candy and cheering on your favorite team. Visit our photo gallery to see how the tradition has changed over the years.
MU's Greek life has a strong tradition of supporting Homecoming, from pomping, to performing, to giving blood. Visit our photo gallery to see the ways Greektown has dressed itself up for the occasion.
CoMo's seen all kinds of strange characters pass through over the years, and the MU Homecoming fans have to be at the top of the list. Lawn mowers on safari, a species-confused sheep and a pantsless parader have all stunned the crowds at one point or another in the history of the Homecoming parade.
See a collection of Homecoming programs from the past decades.