Wildcats to Celebrate 105th Homecoming, Wilbur's 60th Birthday

This year’s Homecoming includes a new location for the Lighting of “A” Mountain event, a celebration of Wilbur’s 60th birthday and a pop-up photo area.
Oct. 25, 2019
Lois Burke (far right), Class of 1947, was one of the first female members of the Pride of Arizona marching band. She's pictured here with fellow band mates. Burke, 95, will participate in the 2019 UA Homecoming Parade.
Lois Burke (far right), Class of 1947, was one of the first female members of the Pride of Arizona marching band. She's pictured here with fellow band mates. Burke, 95, will participate in the 2019 UA Homecoming Parade.

Nearly 60,000 Wildcats will unite Oct. 27-Nov. 2 to celebrate the University of Arizona's 105th Homecoming. A tradition since 1914, it's one of the university's largest annual celebrations.

"Homecoming is truly a showcase of some of the best that the University of Arizona has to offer," said Melinda Burke, president of the Arizona Alumni Association. "We're excited to welcome our alumni back to campus and celebrate what it means to be Wildcats for Life."

This year's festivities include a new location for the Lighting of "A" Mountain celebration, a chance to sign Wilbur's 60th birthday card and a pop-up photo area where Wildcats can capture Homecoming memories at the Wildcat for Life Tailgate Party.

The festivities will kick off on Sunday with the Lighting of "A" Mountain celebration, which will be held at the MSA Annex in downtown Tucson.

"We're constantly looking for ways to enhance the Homecoming experience," Burke said. "The new location not only offers a better setting for Wildcats to reconnect, but also a great view of the Lighting of 'A' Mountain, which has become an iconic mark of Homecoming."

Homecoming highlights

Visiting alumni and the community members can enjoy a variety of Homecoming activities, including:

  • Lighting of "A" Mountain CelebrationSunday, Oct. 27, 5 p.m. at the MSA Annex, 267 S. Avenida del Convento
  • Alumni of the Year Awards Ceremony Thursday, Oct. 31, 2 p.m. in the Student Union Memorial Center Grand Ballroom
  • 50th Class Reunion ReceptionFriday, Nov. 1, 4:30 p.m. in the Student Union Memorial Center Sonora Room
  • Bonfire and Crowning of King and Queen Friday, Nov. 1, 7:30 p.m. at Old Main
  • Wildcat for Life Tailgate Party Saturday, Nov. 2, 8:30 a.m. on the University of Arizona Mall
  • Homecoming Parade Saturday, Nov. 2, 9:30 a.m. on the University of Arizona Mall
  • Arizona vs. Oregon State Football Game Saturday, Nov. 2, 1:30 p.m. at Arizona Stadium

More information, including a complete schedule of events, can be found on the Homecoming website.

Alumni in the Spotlight

Among the many alumni returning for Homecoming this year is Lois Burke, Class of 1947.

Burke was one of the first female members of the Pride of Arizona marching band and graduated with a degree in music education. The 95-year-old will return to campus to march in the Homecoming Parade and to show her love for the university.

Burke will be joined in the parade by members of the Class of 1969, who will be on campus to celebrate their 50th golden reunion. The Class of 1969 gift, to be announced during Homecoming, is expected to break the record for largest class gift in university history.

The Homecoming Parade grand marshals will be head women's basketball coach and Arizona alumna Adia Barnes, Class of 1998, along with the women's basketball team.  

This year's Alumni of the Year award recipients will return to campus from across the country and represent accomplishments at all levels and disciplines. They include:

  • Ronald Rayner, Class of 1964, a key player in the transition and sustainability of Arizona's agribusiness sector
  • Scott Pask, Class of 1990, an internationally acclaimed and award-winning scenic designer
  • Laura Nobles Banks-Reed, Class of 1943, 1966, 1970 and 1981, a leader for diversity and civil rights in Tucson
  • Walt Zipperman, Class of 1969, a business executive playing an integral role in developing tomorrow's business leaders
  • Mike Hoover, Class of 1983, a business executive dedicated to the construction and engineering communities
  • Brad Slater, Class of 1996, a talent agent of some of Hollywood's biggest stars and a mentor for University of Arizona students
  • Alok Patel, Class of 2007 and 2012, a practicing pediatrician, entrepreneur and health care visionary
  • Dana Vandersip, Class of 1988, a successful philanthropist and culture-setting executive
  • Steven Russo, Class of 1975 and 1978, a leading attorney and community advocate in Tucson
  • Daniel Derksen, Class of 1979 and 1984, a nationally renowned health care policy and rural health expert
  • Sue Roe, Class of 1968 and 1972, a leading figure in integrative health care and nursing
  • Jannick Rolland-Thompson, Class of 1990, a leader in optical sciences
  • Natalie LaHood, Class of 2012 and 2014, a leader in the global health arena with a passion for helping the underserved
  • Jani Ingram, Class of 1990, a renowned scientist with a commitment to investigating environmental health factors and serving underrepresented populations
  • Dave Schechter, Class of 1990, a business executive and community leader committed to helping future generations