After 20 years, WSU to revive homecoming

A familiar tradition will return to Wichita State University next semester after a 20-year hiatus: homecoming.

The event was put on hold in 1990, a few years after the demise of WSU's football program.

The Student Activities Council continued with some student events, but all alumni events were canceled, said Debbie Kennedy, executive director of the WSU Alumni Association.

This past summer, the association decided to bring back homecoming after the idea was pitched to them by the university's board of directors.

Without a football program, officials decided to hold homecoming in February, during basketball season.

"Men's basketball is our hot thing on campus,'' Kennedy said Tuesday. "We knew the Shockers were going to be good again this year, so we decided to tie it in with the men's basketball game."

They chose the Feb. 14 game against Missouri State University because the Bears are one of the Shockers' biggest rivals.

Creighton would have been another option, but school is not in session during that game and the association is hoping for a lot of student involvement, Kennedy said.

The homecoming theme will be "2 Legit 2 Quit." Activities will begin Feb. 13 and will include a parade, pep rally, bonfire and possibly ice skating. Homecoming weekend will be proceeded by Spirit Week, which begins Feb. 8.

During the game, which will be televised on ESPNU, the school will crown a homecoming king and queen.

Funding for the event will come from the alumni association, who asked members for donations along with their annual dues.

"We asked if people wanted to send a little extra, like $25, to help offset the cost of homecoming," Kennedy said, "and our alumni responded to the request quite well."

Homecoming is not strictly for WSU alumni; the event is geared toward the student body as well, Kennedy said.

"I'm really excited to see WSU resurrect homecoming activities on campus," said student Veronica Hill. "The idea of having the parade and bringing together students and alumni is awesome and will really contribute to that traditional college experience."

Even without a football program, Kennedy hopes homecoming will become a WSU tradition again.

"We don't want to do this one time and forget about it,'' she said. "We'll continue to bring it back.

"We don't have football, and that's OK. But we have alumni who have pride in this university, and we want to showcase that pride by having homecoming."