Wednesday, May 18, 2022
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The evolution of Homecoming at UMKC

The tradition of Homecoming in the UM System dates back to 1911 when the University of Missouri invited all alumni “back home” to encourage attendance at the football game against its biggest rival, the Kansas Jayhawks.

Homecoming is typically associated with a dance or football game, but with the lack of a football team, UMKC featured homecoming with its basketball team.

UMKC first held Homecoming when the school was Kansas City University.

The school joined intercollegiate athletics with the establishment of a basketball team in 1954.

Before this time, sports at KCU were solely intramural.

On Feb. 5, one year after the establishment of an intercollegiate basketball team, the Alumni Association sponsored KCU’s first homecoming. The Homecoming events included a barbecue, an alumni banquet and a basketball game against Iowa’s Graceland College.

During halftime, the homecoming committee crowned the first KCU Homecoming Queen. After the game, the newly crowned Queen led students and alumni to the Homecoming Ball.

The event was deemed a success, with more than 400 alumni and 1000 students in attendance.

Homecoming was meant to be an annual event, but failed to keep with tradition every year.

“UMKC’s homecomings in the past were pretty sporadic,” said Tonya Crawford, UMKC senior archive specialist.

Crawford noted that in the ’60s and ’70s, UMKC did not have a basketball team, but later reinstated it at the demand of many students.

In the mid-’70s, UMKC attempted to revive the Homecoming tradition with a 1930s theme. This plan failed, according to

The Kansas City Star.

Crawford explained  Homecoming was never the biggest event at UMKC. Other dances, like the “Kangaroo Hop,” exceeded in popularity.

Despite occasional downfalls, UMKC persists in attempts to revive the tradition of homecoming and modify the event to fit modern society.

More recently, Homecoming is paired with UMKC’s soccer team.

Homecoming still includes a multitude of events sponsored by the Alumni Association.

This year the events included a golf cart parade, soccer game, a hypnotist, the unveiling of the Atterbury Student Success Center and several others.

The festivities have developed in recent years to cater to the dramatic increase in students.

And the quality of events has improved.

The Alumni Association sponsors events spanning across an entire week instead of merely a few days.

These events commenced on Monday, Oct. 1 with “Good Morning Roos,” hosted by the Activity and Program Council (APC).

APC handed out snacks and information about getting involved. The Homecoming events concluded with the UMKC vs. Oral Roberts soccer game on Saturday, Oct. 6 and the results of the Roo Cut-out Contest

With a few sporadic bumps in the road, UMKC has successfully provided students with a Homecoming to remember for more than 60 years.

cmanian@unews.com

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