While it is hard to see summer go, there is a certain sense of excitement that comes with the hallmark of the fall season in every college town across America: Homecoming. A tradition built upon students and alumni as they come together in school pride, it is time once again for the T-Bird true to gather in celebration at the start of the still new school year.
This month, Thunderbirds young and old will again migrate home to Southern Utah University for its annual “True to SUU” Homecoming celebration, set to take place September 25 through the 29.
At the heart of any Homecoming celebration is, of course, football. On Saturday, September 29, SUU’s Thunderbirds will take on number one-ranked Montana State at 1:30 p.m. in the Eccles Coliseum. New to the Big Sky Conference, this year’s homecoming game will be an especially exiting one for SUU, pitted against a team whose fan base is known near and far for its unmatched fever pitch. The Thunderbird squad is calling on its own fans, with a simple directive: “Bring the THUNDER.”
Current SUU students will receive free admission with a valid student I.D. All other fans are encouraged to purchase their Homecoming tickets in advance, as the Bobcats’ own alumni have big plans to ascend on Cedar City. This is a game you won’t want to miss. To purchase tickets, visit SUU’s Centrum Ticket Office or call 435-586-7872.
A tailgate, open to the general public, will precede the game in the southwest parking lot of the Coliseum, beginning at 11:30 a.m.
The game, however, is just the beginning to the 2012 Homecoming events, which will run throughout the week.
Opening the week with a time-honored tradition, eight finalists will compete in the annual Miss SUU Pageant at 7 p.m. in the Auditorium on Tuesday, September 25. Continuing on in longstanding University traditions, Student Involvement and Leadership will then host the annual Powderpuff Football match the following day, Wednesday, September 26, with promises for a surprising and entertaining halftime performance as well as top competition from SUU’s female students. The competition on the University’s new turf field in Eccles Coliseum begins at 7 p.m.
By Thursday, students Homecoming festivities will be in full swing, and the weekend will then open early for SUU alumni and friends at the 6 p.m. alumni reception in the Hunter Conference Center. The reception is open to all SUU alumni and is free of charge. Immediately following the reception, the annual Alumni Awards Banquet will take place at 6:30 in the Gilbert Great Hall.
The banquet has long been a community favorite, honoring SUU alumni, many of whom are no less infamous for their broader contributions to the southern Utah community. The 2012 honorees include SUU professor emeritus Craig Jones, television producer Ellen Wheeler and international consultant Jamie Shaw. In addition to the awards, the class of 1962 will be inducted into the 50-Year Club in a special ceremony that evening. Tickets for the banquet may be purchased through the Alumni Relations Office at 435-586-7777.
Then on Friday, September 28, the newest of the University’s Homecoming traditions—in just its second year—offers the perfect opportunity for alumni, students and community members to gather in celebration on the Upper Quad at 8 p.m., with food, live music by the Joe Muscolino Big Band and a thrilling fireworks display. A traditional Homecoming pep rally to buoy the Thunderbird football squad in preparation for Saturday’s game will follow at 9 p.m. The whole of this celebration is free of charge and will take place near 300 West and the Adams Theatre.
Game day activities on Saturday then get an early start, with a 5K run at 7:30 a.m., followed by a 9 a.m. pancake breakfast at the Alumni House. The annual Homecoming parade, which runs along University Boulevard, will begin at 10 a.m. with drinks, snacks and seating available at the Alumni House for SUU alumni.
Additional information about all of the University’s open Homecoming festivities is available online at suu.edu/alumni.
With new rivalries in the Big Sky Athletic Conference, new traditions and quite a few free festivities, there has never been a better time for the local community to gather in support of Southern Utah University than Homecoming 2012. Pull out your red, pack a picnic and join the party for an all-American fall weekend.
No Homecoming celebration would be complete without some kind of kissing ritual that aims to demonstrate one’s pride in their school and solidify their standing as a “true” member. At SUU, this tradition is known as becoming a “True T-Bird”— a rite of passage that spirited students aspire to every year during Homecoming. Hopefuls gather around the statue of Old Sorrel and at the stroke of midnight, share a kiss to cement their title of True T-Bird. This beloved tradition will take place on Friday night, September 28, and is open to any and all aspirants. Student, alumni or otherwise, it’s a good excuse to get kissed.
This year’s Homecoming schedule:
Tuesday, September 25
Wednesday, September 26
Thursday, September 27
Friday, September 28
Saturday, September 29