During the mid-1970s a new consensus emerged that reinvigorated the
Homecoming tradition. Without denigrating or denying the importance of
student participation, Homecoming became more oriented toward the
alumni. The celebration became less about students demonstrating "school
spirit" and more about alumni "coming back" to campus.
The parade was resurrected in 1972, but it was usually less
elaborate than in the classic era. Friday pep rallies reappeared,
sometimes punctuated by fireworks. Gone forever, though, were the
bonfires and the "Indian pageantry" of the earlier era. New events,
however, replaced old ones and gave meaning and enjoyment to a new
generation of participants. Tailgate parties were first held in the late
1970s. In 1982 a Homecoming king joined the queen. In 1997 the entire
concept of a queen and king was revamped. "Campus royalty" was replaced
by "Gold Ambassadors," students chosen largely on the basis of their
service to the University and community.
has gone through many changes in the past seventy-six years, but as it
enters the twenty-first century the core reasons that led to the first
Homecoming in 1924 persist. Homecoming is still an opportunity for old
college friends to come together, for alumni to meet with today's
students, and for the University to put its best face forward. As no
other event can, Homecoming binds together the University community.