by Sheryl Marlar
The air is getting cooler and the days are getting shorter. Flip-flops, shorts and trips to the beach are giving way to jeans, boots and bonfires. Fall is definitely in the air on the campus at the University of West Georgia. Students are settled into their fall semester classes and social events are in full swing. The air is practically buzzing with activity, and one of the biggest reasons for the buzz this week is Homecoming 2013.
There have been special events for the students all week, such as a Homecoming pageant, and banner and sidewalk chalk contests. Tonight the Wolves will Capture the Square and hold a pep rally and a spirit yell contest. The night will end with a concert by the Velcro Pygmies at The Amp at Adamson Square. Events will continue through Saturday with the President’s Pancake Breakfast, the traditional parade down Maple Street and through the campus and the Homecoming football game, where the Homecoming King and Queen will be crowned. There will also be special group reunions on Friday and Saturday.
But what is Homecoming, and why do we celebrate it year after year? The tradition of Homecoming originated through alumni football games held at colleges and universities starting in the mid-1800’s . It’s the tradition of welcoming back alumni to a school, commonly universities, colleges and high schools. The tradition usually includes activities for students and alumni, such as sports and culture events and a parade through the city streets. It’s a time for current students to celebrate their pride in their school, and UWG has celebrated and enjoyed this tradition since 1947.
On September 30, 1946, 54 players gathered for practice as the first football team for West Georgia College. They finished their first season with two wins, five losses, and one tie. Despite this record, the following year, in 1947, they were invited to host the Tobacco Bowl Game, an event sponsored by Tifton businessmen in order to raise funds for a new recreation center. The Braves won 13-0! That was also the first year that West Georgia College held a Homecoming celebration.
In 1958, after West Georgia became a senior college, the football program ended, but the tradition of Homecoming continued. In 1959, despite the absence of a football team, “A Harvest of Fun” Homecoming was held. There was an intramural soccer game, several dormitories held open houses and Mandeville Hall hosted an afternoon tea. The weekend highlight was a dance, where Homecoming Queen Georgia Mozley was crowned by President Irvine S. Ingram.
UWG has continued to enjoy the Homecoming tradition. With the return of the football program in 1981, Homecoming weekend once again included a football game.
For the last twenty years, UWG has continued to enjoy exciting themed Homecoming celebrations, filled with week-long activities to bring together current students, alumni and the community members of Carrollton. Some of the past themes include “Going for the Gold,” “Disco Inferno,” “Wild Wild West Georgia,” and “West Georgia on my Mind.” In 2006, UWG celebrated its centennial birthday with a homecoming theme “Celebrating a Century of Memories.” Another notable year is 2009, when West Georgia celebrated is first Homecoming in its own stadium with a theme of “Home at Last.”
On Saturday night, we will close the books on Homecoming 2013 only to reopen them soon after to plan for another exciting year in 2014. And the tradition continues.