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Modern Era

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.

Gold Ambassadors, 1999Homecoming 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.