Along with our sesquicentennial, 2021 brings another milestone as UW Oshkosh celebrates the 100th anniversary of our first Homecoming. Senior history major Quill Graham, of Appleton, worked throughout the year in University Archives as a sesquicentennial history intern. Graham researched the photos and wrote the captions for this look back through the decades of Homecoming gatherings.
FIRST HOMECOMING PROCESSION: October 1921 saw the Oshkosh Normal School celebrate its 50th anniversary. The Golden Jubilee was the school’s first Homecoming and, in addition to many events, featured at least one member of each graduating class line up in an orderly procession through campus.
ADDING FOOTBALL TO THE FESTIVITIES: With its second Homecoming in 1922, Oshkosh Normal School made sure that such celebrations as well as the “big game” would be a regular part of the school’s calendar.
HOUSE COMPETITIONS: A hard-fought competition for years among rooming houses, and later dormitories, clever house decorations helped inspire school spirit ahead of the Homecoming football games. For example, in 1938, the Titans squared off against the Green Gulls of the Milwaukee State Teachers College.
TUG-OF-WAR: Many students and neighborhood children flocked to watch freshmen and sophomores in a muddy tug-of-war contest in 1941.
HOMECOMING DISNEY-STYLE: The house decorating tradition grew more elaborate throughout the decades, as this Mad Hatter decoration from 1967 Disney-themed Homecoming clearly demonstrates.
CAMPAIGN TRAIL: Joyce Morita ’61, of Kealakekua Kona, Hawaii, distributed her campaign literature in her successful campaign to be elected Homecoming Queen in 1959.
YELL LIKE HELL: Alpha Phi and Sigma Tau Gamma combined forces to capture first place in the Yell Like Hell contest on Oct. 18, 1968.
HOMECOMING QUEEN: Provocateur and senior sociology major Larry Mahoney ’77, of Milwaukee, ran successfully for the crown of the Homecoming queen in 1974 to raise awareness of sexism. Despite the electoral popularity of his stunt, Mahoney was met by jeers and rotten vegetables from a small group of dissenters at halftime.
POLLOCK HOUSE: An annual event for many years, alumni “came home” to the Pollock House, the former center of alumni events for decades, to reunite, socialize and view the Homecoming parade, 1981.
HOMECOMING PARADE: A cheering crowd gathered to see student-made floats in the 1984 homecoming parade.
I WISH I WERE … : People lined the streets to see the famous Oscar Mayer Wienermobile drive through campus streets in the 2006 Homecoming parade.
SWEET VICTORY: The Titans beat the Eau Claire Blugolds by one point for an exciting Homecoming victory on Oct. 21, 1995, as dedicated fans huddled together to support.
CRUISING: For about a decade, Homecoming festivities included a family-friendly bike ride that promoted bike safety. The slow cruiser ride typically began on campus and ended at Tent City at Titan Stadium.
TENT CITY: Held in Reeve Union, Tent City was crowded as alumni, including Jim Buehner ’70, greeted old friends, forged new connections and enjoyed food and drink in 2018.
ALL IN THE FAMILY: New students and their families joined in cross-generational celebrating during Homecoming 2019, the second year that Family Day was incorporated into the annual fall event. No in-person events took place in 2020 as Homecoming activities moved online amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.