Baylor University Parades Tradition and Bear Pride for Homecoming 2011Nov. 2, 2011
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Baylor University is planning a "bear hug" welcome for the thousands of students, alumni and families who make the journey back to their Waco home for the university's 102nd anniversary celebration Homecoming beginning Wednesday, Nov. 2, through Saturday, Nov. 5.
Baylor offers two days of nonstop activities and reunions for its students and alumni, including:
Baylor Homecoming week will begin with a worship service featuring Christian recording artists Chris August and The Sidewalk Prophets at 7 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 2, on Fountain Mall. The service is hosted by Baylor University Spiritual Life and the Baylor Chamber of Commerce, and is meant to remind students and alumni, "that we are gathered as a Baylor family under the banner of our faith." The service is free and open to the public.
Freshman Mass Meeting
Baylor freshmen will hear the story of the Immortal Ten during the annual Freshman Mass Meeting at 11 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 3, in Waco Hall at 624 Speight Ave. The meeting is meant to demonstrate the "Baylor spirit," especially through the lighting ceremony at the end of the evening. Freshmen also will build the bonfire on Fountain Mall that will be lit Friday, Nov. 4.
Extravaganza, Pep Rally and Bonfire
The tradition of building a bonfire, which began in 1946, will continue at 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 4, on Fountain Mall in the center of Baylor's campus. Admission is free, and events preceding the lighting of the bonfire include a pep rally, motivational speeches and family activities.
The Bears will play against The Missouri Tigers at 6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 5, in the Floyd Casey Stadium, located at 150 Bear Run, Waco, Texas. For ticket information, visit Baylor Athletics.
Friday Night Flashback
Visitors can take a step back in time through Friday Night Flashback, a showcase of pictures and memorabilia from past years of Sing, Pigskin, the Baylor Line, Slime Camps, recent and past athletic events, Diadeloso and other traditions. Bruiser Bear, the university mascot, also will be at the flashback from 7 to 7:40 p.m. The exhibit will be held on the first floor of the Bill Daniel Student Center, 1311 S. Fifth St. For more information, contact [email protected], or call (254) 710-6805.
The highlight of Baylor Homecoming is the parade, which is believed to be the oldest and largest collegiate parade in the nation. The Homecoming Parade will begin at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 5, on Austin Ave. in downtown Waco before weaving its way to Fifth Street on Baylor's campus.
The parade will feature 148 entries from student organizations, the Homecoming Queen and Her Court, class reunions and handmade floats created by sororities and fraternities.
The parade will feature several dignitaries including Baylor President Ken Starr and First Lady Alice Starr, members of Baylor's 1980 SWC Champion football team that played in the 1981 Cotton Bowl, Baylor Class of 1961 officers, local elected officials and many more.
This year's Parade Grand Marshal is John Lee Hancock, BA '79, JD '82, Hollywood screenwriter, producer and director such acclaimed films as "The Blind Side," which was nominated for Best Picture during the 2010 Academy Awards, "The Rookie" and "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil."
The 2011 Baylor Homecoming Parade also will be televised from 9 to 11 a.m. on KCEN-TV Ch. 6 and streamed live on www.kcentv.com. Inside Baylor Sports anchors John Morris and Lori Fogleman will co-host the parade broadcast, which is made possible by the Sadie Jo Black Foundation.
Pigskin Review is an annual Homecoming tradition recognizing the winning acts from the spring's All University Sing competition. The top eight Broadway-style acts will perform at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 3, 6:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 4 and at 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 5. All performances will be held in Waco Hall, 624 Speight Ave. Saturday's performance is sold out, but there are limited tickets available for Thursday and Friday. For more information, visit www.baylor.edu/homecoming/buy.
Queen and Her Court
This year's Homecoming Queen will be announced during the Pigskin Revue at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 3. After interviewing each nominee, three judges crown one queen who demonstrates excellence in scholarship, philanthropy, spiritual commitment and poise. The Queen and Her Court will ride in a horse-drawn carriage in Saturday's parade and will be presented at halftime during the Homecoming football game.
The Baylor Alumni Network will host Reunion Buffet Receptions between 5 and 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 4, to reconnect alumni. The receptions will be held on the fifth floor of the Cashion Academic Center, 1401 S. Fourth St. To choose your reunion year and for more information, visit Homecoming Reunion Buffets.
Baylor will continue its tradition of music excellence through Singspiration, which will be held at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 4, at Seventh and James Baptist Church at 602 James Ave. The evening highlights will include a tribute to four legends of the Baylor choral tradition-- Dr. Euell Porter, Dr. Hugh Sanders, Dr. Robert Young and Dr. Dick Baker--the Baylor A Cappella Choir, the Baylor Religious Hour (BRH) Choir and the Baylor Alumni Choir. There is no charge for Singspiration, but participants are asked to register at Baylor Homecoming Singspiration.
Homecoming is a long-standing tradition at Baylor that started in 1909, when Baylor alumni received a surprising invitation from their alma mater. A postcard signed by three professors asked the graduates to return to campus to "renew former association and friendships, and catch the Baylor spirit again."
According to the 1910 Round Up, a massive campaign of correspondence, advertising and organization encouraged graduates to return for a celebration planned for Thanksgiving weekend. On Wednesday, Nov. 24, 1909, the first-ever Homecoming began with a band concert, followed by a reception hosted by President Samuel Palmer Brooks and an "old-time soiree" in Burleson Hall that evening.
The next day, class reunions began with a program of speeches by professors, administrators and alumni, with musical interludes by student groups. Topics for the speeches included "Dr. Burleson's Chapel Talks," "Baylor Men as Citizens," "How I Felt Once When the Other Society Beat Mine" and "How I Came to Love the Baylor Girls."
At 2 p.m. Baylor launched its first Homecoming parade from the corner of 11th St. and Washington Avenue. Parade entries numbered well over 130, with 60 each of automobiles and carriages, plus student organizations on foot. As it is today, the parade was led by law enforcement and the Baylor band.
The entire city of Waco joined in, the Round Up reported, with "thousands of people wearing the Baylor colors, while hundreds of vehicles, the street-cars, and even the bicycles of the messenger-boys were ornamented with Green and Gold. The city was truly in gala attire."
The football game started just 30 minutes later on Carroll Field. Nearly 5,000 people attended the football game, which was the final one of the season. Baylor defeated TCU 6-3.
While many Homecoming celebrations around the nation originated in the late teens or 1920s, few were as early as Baylor's.
For more information, visit Baylor University Homecoming.
by Carmen Galvan, student newswriter, (254) 710-6805