The football game had a crowd of almost 5,000 that cheered Baylor to a 6-3, come-from-behind victory over then-crosstown rival Texas Christian University.
Green and gold colors were displayed throughout the city, as well as on a special train bearing alumni from Dallas, Fort Worth and other north Texas areas.
The homecoming parade had more than 130 automobiles, horse-drawn carriages and buggies that followed the band through downtown to campus.
Samuel Palmer Brooks, Baylor’s eighth president, gave University “seniors of all years” his Immortal Message and also is credited with the idea of Homecoming. This tradition still beckons alumni to return to their alma mater, renew friendships and “catch the Baylor spirit again.”
The year was 1909. The idea was met with enthusiastic support from the faculty, which created committees to lead the organization efforts with literary societies supplying assistance. Announcements were placed in newspapers across the state. Letters and postcards were mailed to alumni far and near inviting them to return for the two days of festivities, Nov. 24-25.
Months of planning culminated in a successful event, one now considered by historians to be the first Homecoming in the nation. Green and gold colors were displayed throughout the city, as well as on a special train bearing alumni from Dallas, Fort Worth and other north Texas areas.
”Months of planning culminated in a successful event, one now considered by historians to be the first Homecoming in the nation.”
Alumni arrived in time for an opening ceremony featuring the Baylor band playing the newly composed Home-Comers March, followed by a pep rally and a bonfire. Baylor alumnus George W. Truett, namesake of the University’s seminary, presented the official Homecoming address at a ceremony that night in Carroll Chapel.
The next day—Thanksgiving Day—members of the Baylor family spent the morning greeting friends old and new. After lunch, everyone hurried to downtown Waco, where one of Baylor’s most beloved traditions—the Homecoming Parade—had its first observance. Beginning on Washington Avenue, the parade made its way to campus, led by the Baylor band with its 6-foot-6 drum major wearing a bearskin cap for the occasion.
More than 130 automobiles, horse-drawn carriages and buggies followed the band.
The procession made its way to Carroll Field on the Baylor campus, where a crowd of almost 5,000 watched Baylor fight for a 6-3, come-from-behind victory over then crosstown rival Texas Christian University.
Many of the joyous events of that first Homecoming continue, perhaps in slightly different forms, and some others have been added. Parades, class reunions, bonfires, singing, football—now with other athletic events—remembrances of the Immortal Ten with the lighting of the eternal flame will welcome the Baylor Family again.
In addition to his call to return for Homecoming, Bears of all years recall Brooks’ Immortal Message, penned at the end of his life to the class of 1931. This message, now part of a new tradition for entering freshmen, encourages us all to hold fast to our love for the University and to carry the torch that lights the way of the future.
“Because of what Baylor has meant to you in the past, because of what she will mean to you in the future, oh, my students, have a care for her,” Brooks wrote. “Build upon the foundations here the great school of which I have dreamed, so that she may touch and mold the lives of future generations and help to fit them for life here and hereafter … To you seniors of the past, the present and the future I entrust the care of Baylor University. To you I hand the torch.”
For the latest information on schedules, tickets and merchandise, please visit baylor.edu/homecoming and be sure to "catch the Baylor spirit again."