WMU gearing up to celebrate 90 years of homecoming

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Photo of WMU Homecoming King with students.

Homecoming week is Oct. 7-13.

KALAMAZOO—With two of the University's most festive occasions just around the corner, there's a flurry of activity taking place on campus.

Homecoming week runs from Monday through Sunday, Oct. 7-13, while family weekend takes place Friday through Sunday, Oct. 11-13, to coincide with homecoming's biggest events.

The 2013 Homecoming theme is "Fight On For Western," which is the first few words of the WMU fight song. That's a fitting theme in more ways than one. There are so many exciting events to choose from that it will be a battle for some people to get to all of their favorite ones.

Three anniversaries being celebrated

This year, WMU is celebrating its 90th homecoming and 75th year of hosting football games in Waldo Stadium. It's also marking the 50th year of the Distinguished Alumni Awards program.

In honor of the latter milestone, a reception will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 11, in the Bernhard Center's East Ballroom. In addition to entertainment and refreshments, those who register for the reception will enjoy a short program honoring all past recipients of the award and apprising attendees of some of WMU's most successful and highly regarded alumni.

New events slated for Friday

The first homecoming pep rally to take place on the University's new West Campus pedestrian mall will be held Friday. During the event, Bronco fans will rev up for the football game at 2 p.m. Saturday against the State University of New York Buffalo Bulls.

First-year head football Coach P.J. Fleck and the Bronco Marching Band will be on hand to rouse and entertain the crowd. The rally will begin at about 8 p.m. on the large, beautifully landscaped pedestrian mall in front of the recently constructed Sangren Hall.

Prior to that, from 6 to 8 p.m., WMU will host a reception to celebrate the University's diversity and officially kick off its new WMU Pride Alumni Association for lesbian, bisexual, gay and transgender graduates and their allies. Attendees will be able to enjoy desserts as well as specialty nonalcoholic drinks and meet the association's planning committee.

The event will be held at the Lee Honors College, with free parking available in the Wesley Foundation lot at 2101 Wilbur Ave. It is free, but reservations are requested at mywmu.com/pridealumni. The evening will end with a social gathering from 9 to 11 p.m. in the Metro Nightclub and 411 Club, 411 N. Westnedge Ave. in Kalamazoo.

Family weekend is a popular tradition

Officially called Buster's Family Weekend Adventure, family weekend is a great time for parents and other family members to visit campus and enjoy time with their college student.

Special activities and discounts are being offered by the Parent and Family Programs office to those who choose to register and make the necessary prior arrangements. They include working out for free at the Student Recreation Center as well as gathering together for tailgating and the football game.

The weekend concludes Sunday with a "Grab the Reins" brunch from 9 a.m. to noon in the Hoekje-Bigelow Dining Hall. The low-cost event includes musical numbers and other entertainment by talented students enrolled in School of Music programs and performing with Mane Attraction.

Photo of WMU Dance Team performing at Waldo Stadium.

The Homecoming football game is one of many events set for Oct. 12.

Homecoming Saturday is big draw

Scores of events besides the gridiron contest will draw WMU alumni and friends to campus Saturday, including the 15th annual Homecoming Campus Classic. The event features a 1K Fun Run and Walk at 8:45 a.m. and 5K Run or Walk at 9:15 a.m. Prizes and food are provided for participants as well as volunteer workers. Participants and volunteers may register online or on-site.

Another popular event is the Alumni, Family and Friends Tailgate Party beginning at 11 a.m. in Parking Lot 1 near Walwood Hall. It gives attendees a fun place to reconnect with old friends and classmates. Registration is encouraged in advance, and admission fee discounts are available to preregistrants as well as family members of WMU students.

Variety of other events taking place

Many more homecoming events are detailed at wmich.edu/homecoming, wmich.edu/parents and mywmu.com. Here's just a sampling:

  • A student-inspired kickoff carnival;
  • A Spirit Week competition;
  • College and special program reunions;
  • Homecoming king and queen voting; and
  • The hilarious West Fest soapbox derby and West Fest games.