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UCI’s First Homecoming January 22, 2015

Posted by ucisca in Uncategorized.
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First Homecoming Celebration, From: The Anteater Yearbook, 1981

Homecoming.

Definition: 1: a return home; 2: the return of a group of people usually on a special occasion to a place formerly frequented or regarded as home; especially:  an annual celebration for alumni at a college or university

Preparations for UCI’s Homecoming are in full swing. With tours, performances, special guests and a beer garden, this year’s Homecoming looks to be pretty spectacular. Because so much planning and effort is going into it, I couldn’t help but wonder how it measures up to past homecoming celebrations.

UCI is no stranger to large celebrations and fun events. Since its founding in 1965 several events have become annual traditions, such as Wayzgooze, Lauds & Laurels, and Welcome Week to name a few. But what about Homecoming? When did it begin at UCI, and what typically happens?

A typical homecoming involves inviting alums back to campus for activities such as an athletic event, dance, parade, and coronation of a king and queen. UCI has had alumni since June 1966, when 14 students graduated in the first commencement. Since then, alumni were celebrated in picnics and awards ceremonies, but homecoming was not yet a tradition.

All University Alumni Picnic, January 5, 1967, From: University of California, Irvine, University Communications Slides [AS-061]

UCI’s first official Homecoming occurred on January 30, 1981, fifteen years after UCI’s founding (and almost 34 years to the day before this year’s homecoming!). It was held in conjunction with the grand opening of UCI’s first student center.

The 1981 Homecoming included the coronation of a king and queen, a basketball game at Crawford Hall, and a post-game dance at the Backlot, a restaurant in the student center. Since then, Homecoming has become a strong UCI tradition, becoming bigger and bolder every year. In 1988, Jay Leno came to campus! This year, as part of UCI’s 50th anniversary celebrations, UCI will hold its 34th Homecoming celebration. It promises to be bigger and better than ever before. Hope to see you there!

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Article from the New U, January 20, 1981

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