A Mountaineer Tradition: Homecoming Through the Decades
By Megan Bruffy
In honor of Appalachian State University’s upcoming celebrations, enjoy a snapshot of the university’s homecoming history, which first began in 1934. Spanning more than eight decades, this slideshow features a look at some of Appalachian’s early athletics fields — including College Field and Conrad Stadium — the university’s kazoo band, themed homecoming parade floats and many iterations of the Mountaineers’ mascot, Yosef.
A 1940 letter provided by University Archives and Records, housed in Appalachian’s Belk Library and Information Commons, describes the original intent of homecoming: “Most colleges and universities set aside one day each year for the entertainment of their alumni. This is known as ‘homecoming day’, and homecoming it is, for many former students assemble to renew associations with their foster mother and campus brothers and sisters.”
Modern editions of homecoming at Appalachian continue to center on the idea of reuniting alumni with fellow graduates — as well as current students, faculty and staff. This year, for instance, the Appalachian Alumni Association will host reunions, a breakfast, a block party and a football tailgate, among other events. Likewise, all of Appalachian’s student organizations are encouraged to engage in homecoming week festivities, including the homecoming parade, a banner contest, a lip sync battle and a field day.
Appalachian has long fostered university camaraderie through homecoming, as evidenced by this additional excerpt from the 1940 letter describing the year’s planned events: “There will be a ‘pep’ demonstration by the student body in the college auditorium. This will be followed by a bonfire on the practice athletic field. These meetings are to homecoming what a band is to soldiers. Any alumnus attending will be stimulated along with the team and student body.”
As this slideshow illustrates, for more than 80 years, students, alumni, faculty, staff and university friends have annually united to celebrate the Appalachian Community, past and present.