Homecoming Flashback: 1955

The following article was originally printed in volume 2, issue 6, page 1 of The Maneater. It has been reprinted here as it appeared in the paper in 1955. It is not to be seen as a current news article.

Question arises about age of M.U. homecoming

This is not the Golden Anniversary of Homecoming, as we know Homecoming, at Missouri.

According to records of student publications and alumni news, Homecoming began at Mizzou in 1911, 44 years ago. “The Missouri Oven,” student magazine of the time, in quoting the football schedule for 1911 states:

“Kansas game, Saturday, Nov. 25. This will be ‘Homecoming Day’ for all ‘M’ men, alumni, and friends of the University.”

Vol. 2, Issue 6, page 1
Vol. 2, Issue 6, page 1

Professor C. L. Brewer, late director of athletics, was the first one to recognize the potentiality of combining the alumni reunion with a football game, an idea he derived from the Illinois Homecoming of 1910. For this reason, Prof. Brewer is generally credited with being the founding father of Homecoming at Mizzou.

Bus Entsminger of the Alumni office bases the assumption that Homecoming originated in 1905 on an article in the Savitar of that year which reads:

“April 20: The Academics hegire to the Rocheport cave and spend a day in the tall timber. Great confetti carnival at night on the campus.”

That the Academics, students of Arts and Science, did “hegire” (leave) the school and then return home is a type of homecoming. Although other members of the school and some friends from town were included on the trip, no official alumni group was present. Therefore, whether or not this can be called the first “Homecoming Day” at Missouri is a point of debate.

In 1905 the Alumni Association was still holding a reunion separate from the students at commencement time each year. The alumni quarterly for that year strongly advocated this type of reunion and complained that alumni had no voice in athletics. It further urged old students to aid the University in obtaining athletes of a higher caliber through persuading young men to attend Missouri. There was no mention of any function with the students or of any function associated with athletics.

Evidence would seem to indicate that Prof. Brewer’s idea to combine a football game with the reunion was spurred by the necessity to interest alumni in the needs of the athletic department. Certificates were given at this time to all former letter men at Missouri and the trip and day’s events all centered around the football game.

That homecoming, with football game and alumni reunion, definitely did not start in 1905, but began as late as 1911 was further stated by Frank F. Stephens, Dean Emeritus of Students. Dean Stephens is currently engaged in preparing an extensive history of Arts and Science at Missouri from its initial beginning and has done extensive research on early M.U. history.

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