SCSU homecoming makes a comeback

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The 2018-2019 school year will mark the first year St. Cloud State will have had a homecoming celebration since 2010. Since the university made the announcement, students and staff have expressed their excitement about the return of this piece of University history.

“I’m very pleased that it’s back and people are going to be excited,” St. Cloud State University Archivist and Professor Tom Steman said. “I hope there will be big events for [alum] to come back to and I really hope students get engaged and are excited about homecoming.”

Next school year will also mark the 150th year since SCSU first opened its doors. The University was founded in 1869 and its first homecoming celebration was held in 1925. Steman believes, but is uncertain, that SCSU has had a homecoming celebration every consecutive year since 1925 up until 2010 when it was taken away for various reasons.

“Students are students and they will have fun, and how they have that fun is up to them and I don’t think it’s uncommon that people think homecoming is about drinking,” Steman said.

On March 5, 2011, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that SCSU’s homecoming was discontinued because attendance numbers were low among current students and alum. In addition, they also reported that the university felt it was too difficult to schedule homecoming since there are such few home football games along with people finding other activities to do over their weekends.

“I was sorry to see it go because I think it’s been a long-standing tradition of this university,” Steman said.

Nevertheless, there have been unofficial rumors that homecoming was canceled beginning in 2010 due to riots that happened in 1988 along with too much partying and alcohol consumption among students.

The answers to why homecoming was originally dismantled in 2010 may never come, but one fact remains: homecoming is making a big return next school year and students couldn’t be happier about it.

“I think it will bring a lot of people together because it’s something that hasn’t happened for so long and people are going to get really excited about it,” sophomore Ariana Jackman said.

With the 2018-2019 school year as the 150th anniversary of SCSU, there’s going to be special celebrations to commemorate it and homecoming will be the main event. Steman said that since it is the 150th year, it should give folks even more of a reason to attend the first homecoming at the University in years.

“I hope with the sesquicentennial that it’ll be done right, and people will say [it] was fantastic and want to do it again,” Steman said. “I’m hoping this will be an opportunity for students and alumni to create new traditions.”

For many of the students enrolled at SCSU, it will be their first opportunity, and maybe even their last, to attend a homecoming while they’re in college unless they transferred from a college that had a homecoming. The last time many students may have experienced a homecoming celebration was their senior year of high school, but that won’t compare to the college version coming up in less than a year.

“This will be my first college homecoming,” junior Uji Freeman said. “I feel it is good because when I graduate, I have a homecoming to come back to and [it] brings together the entire city.”

In the past, SCSU’s homecoming has consisted of various activities that made the experience exciting and fun for the whole community. Whether you are a past or present student, or even a resident, homecoming was a time for everyone to come together and celebrate the history of the university.

Steman highlighted some of the main events that were held in the past including lectures, parades, sporting events, coronation and even live concerts. He said musical groups that were at SCSU’s homecoming in the past included artists such as the Rascals, and Ike and Tina Turner.

“Parades, rock concerts, football games [are] always things that have gone on at this campus, and hopefully there will be something like that in the future,” Steman said.

One special occurrence that happened during SCSU’s homecoming on Oct. 4, 1952, was former President Dwight D. Eisenhower stopped by during coronation to crown the homecoming queen, Joyce Pearson, after making a speech in the Stearns County courthouse during his campaign for presidency.

From University Archives: General Dwight D. Eisenhower crowns Joyce Pearson as the 1952 homecoming queen, St. Cloud State University, October 4, 1952

Although students aren’t expecting President Donald Trump to attend next year’s homecoming celebration, many are in hope that it is here to stay for years to come.

“You don’t promise [homecoming] just to take it away the next year,” Freeman said. “Without a homecoming, we’re stagnant, we’re old-fashioned, [and] we’re afraid of expansion.”

SCSU homecoming 2018 will be celebrating the sesquicentennial of the university and will be going on from Oct. 17-21.

“Homecoming is a long-standing tradition on this campus and I hope that it’ll honor the past and make new traditions. I really do hope that it’s a good experience and that it’s back permanently,” Steman said.

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