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Celebrating Homecoming at Brigham Young University

The L. Tom Perry Special Collections is currently hosting a small case exhibit in honor of Homecoming at Brigham Young University. The exhibit features images, memorabilia, yearbooks, activity schedules, speeches, and essays related to Homecoming and this year’s honored founder–Harvey Fletcher. It will run through October 11th, 2010.

President Benjamin Cluff began what would become our Homecoming with the establishment of Founders Day in 1891 to remember individuals who had established Brigham Young Academy and helped it to flourish. The first Founders Day was held 16 October 1891, and quickly became an annual tradition. The first event officially called Homecoming was held in the fall of 1930. According to the Wilkinson centennial history, Homecoming was associated with a football game and parade from the very beginning. “During the halftime of the November 15 football game with the Montana State Bobcats, floats, costumed students, stunts, and people depicting various periods from 1875 to the year 2000 paraded past the stands.” Founders Day became an integral part of Homecoming, while retaining its purpose of honoring the university’s founders.

The ROTC groups of BYU march in the annual Homecoming parade, 2009 (courtesy BYU Photo)

Homecoming festivities quickly became an important part of the BYU Experience and continue to be celebrated today. Things haven’t changed much since Homecoming’s early days as we still celebrate an honored founder, hold a parade, enjoy a football game, and participate in other exciting activities that welcome alumni back to campus and introduce new students to the Spirit of the Y.

Homecoming Spectacular, 2009 (courtesy BYU Photo)

Homecoming footbal game vs. TCU, 2009 (courtesy BYU Photo

A number of collections in the University Archives can help researchers gain a better understanding of the role that Homecoming activities have played and continue to play at Brigham Young University. They include:

  • Alumni Relations Collection, 1955-1983 (UA 1133). This collection contains information on how the university interacts with its alumni.
  • Associated Students of Brigham Young University Women’s Office History, 1975-1982 (UA 908). This collection contains information on the Homecoming Queen pageant that was an important part of early Homecomings.
  • Brigham Young University Alumni Association Activity files, 1967-1988 (UA 968). This collection contains information on Homecoming events from 1975 to 1981 as well as information on Founders Day events from 1967 to 1979.
  • BYU Alumni Association Historical Records, 1937-1987 (UA 1006). This collection contains information on Homecoming events from 1968 to 1974 as well as information on other Alumni Association programs.
  • BYU Single Photo file, ca. 1890s-1980s (UA 869). This collection includes photographs of Homecoming parades as well as other campus events.

These are only a few of the many collections containing information on Homecoming held by the University Archives. If you would like to know more, please contact the University Archivist at gordon_daines@byu.edu or (801) 422-5821.

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