Homecoming History

Looking Forward to February with a Look Back

IN 1967, 40 years after its founding and a year following the first four-year class graduates, UNC Asheville (then Asheville-Biltmore College) found “the true school spirit” as the student newspaper The Ridgerunner stated, and celebrated its first full-scale homecoming–fittingly in February.

This “spirit” was epitomized by bumper stickers on cars, a banner across Tunnel Road, and letters, posters and buttons, all publicizing the activities. On campus there were exhibits and decorations created by fraternities and other groups, including a papier-mâché version of the Asheville-Biltmore College bulldog mascot. Twelve contestants competed for the homecoming crown, which was won by Lynda Reighard, a senior psychology major, and the Friday festivities included a downtown parade.

After the parade, there were Coed Capers on the field behind the gym. These included a tug of war, greased pole climb, a mud hunt, three-leg, shoe, flag and sack races, musical buckets, and a pie eating contest. Competitors represented a club or class, with points awarded for most events, although some had a cash prize. Students today might equate this with UNCA Now points, without the digital interface.

The news came via campus and city newspapers, with the local news sharing an appeal to locate “lost” alumni, and The Ridgerunner reporting that while the alumni reception could have been better attended, the evening dance was jam-packed. Academic classes joined the celebration too, as students in Mrs. Rosemary Stephens’ language class examined the origin of the word homecoming, and discovered it combined two Old English words, and was used in the Middle English period by Chaucer.

It continues to define the annual tradition at UNC Asheville, now back on the calendar for February 2019 with a call for all alumni to come home to UNC Asheville.

Save-the-date for February 22-23, 2019.