This year’s Homecoming festivities at the University of Arizona on Nov. 8-10 promise something for everyone – from educational lectures to a colorful parade to the essential Homecoming tailgate party.
“We’re really looking forward to this weekend. This event is for everyone who loves the University of Arizona and wants to celebrate being alumni,” said Melinda Burke, president and executive director of the UA Alumni Association. “There’s such a great sense of place when you get out on the UA Mall. It’s a celebration of being home.”
More than 50,000 students and alumni are expected to attend the weekend’s festivities, which include what is believed to be the earliest starting parade in the UA’s 98-year Homecoming history, Burke said. The procession around the UA Mall will begin at 8 a.m. on Saturday, three-and-a-half hours before the football game’s 11:30 a.m. kickoff.
Instead of burgers and dogs, tailgaters are expected to be noshing on breakfast burritos. But Wildcats shouldn’t let the early hour deter them, Burke said: “There’s no hour too early for a parade that celebrates the Wildcats.”
Here are some of the highlights to look for.
Thursday, Nov. 8
Reunited and it feels so good – the UA’s class of 1962 will celebrate its 50-year golden reunion with a reception and dinner at the Tucson Marriott University Park Hotel. Reunion details are available online.
Friday, Nov. 9
The third annual Campus and Collegiate Showcase will feature a wide range of presentations and tours to introduce visitors to the variety of colleges and programs on campus. A complete Campus and Collegiate Showcase schedule is available online.
Some of the events include:
- James Knight, agricultural education professor, will give a talak titled “Remember When ... A Look Back at 125 Years of UA Tradition” at 10 a.m. in the Kiva Room of the Student Union Memorial Center.
- Christopher Conover, a producer with Arizona Public Media, will give a talk titled “PBS, NPR, and Online News Reporting in an Election Year: How Local News Covers the Globe” at 2 p.m. in the Modern Languages building.
- The Steward Observatory Mirror Laboratory will offer public tours at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. RSVP by Nov. 6 to Cathi Duncan, 520-626-8792, firstname.lastname@example.org or SOMLtours@gmail.com.
At 11:30 a.m., alumni are invited to a Homecoming luncheon in the South Ballroom of the Student Union Memorial Center. Guest speaker Dante Lauretta, a 1993 alumnus, UA professor of lunar and planetary sciences, and principal investigator on NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission, will talk about the UA-led space mission. Those interested in attending should contact Penny Davis at email@example.com or 520-626-3835 to check on reservation availability.
Later in the afternoon, outstanding Wildcat alumni will be recognized at the Alumnus of the Year Awards Ceremony in the union’s South Ballroom. The ceremony will take place from 3-5 p.m. Reservations are required. Call 520-626-3835.
On Friday evening, Wildcat fans are invited to Bear Down Friday on University Boulevard to celebrate the weekend’s kickoff with Wilma and Wilbur, UA cheerleaders and the Pride of Arizona Marching Band.
At 7 p.m., the crowd will head to Old Main for the traditional Homecoming bonfire and pep rally, to be attended by UA football coach Rich Rodriguez and Wildcat football players. There, the Homecoming king and queen will be announced.
Saturday, Nov. 10
The Arizona Alumni Tailgate Party will start bright and early at 7:30 a.m. on the UA Mall, at East University Boulevard and North Cherry Avenue. Tickets are $20, which includes entry, two drinks and food. The first 500 people to arrive will get a free poster featuring this year’s Homecoming logo.
Also starting at 7:30 a.m. is the annual Tents on the Mall event, which draws tens of thousands to the UA Mall each year to check out a variety of activities, information and food offerings.
The Homecoming parade, with more than 30 cars and floats, will start at 8 a.m., led by parade grand marshals and UA students Georganne Moline, U.S. track and field Olympian; Julie Labonte, Canadian track and field Olympian; and Tanner Gers, U.S. track and field Paralympian. Parade watchers are invited to vote for their favorite float by texting UA Vote to 99222 during the parade. The winning float, to be announced during the football game, will win $150.
The weekend will culminate when the Wildcat football team takes on Colorado at Arizona Stadium at 11:30 a.m.