In the early years Davidson Homecoming was regarded as a big weekend on and off campus. The number of alumni and female guests reached the thousands as people flocked together to attend dances, concerts, dinners, and the Homecoming football game. Starting in 1923 one of the Homecoming attractions was Stunt Night, a show consisting of several small musical performances put on by the students. In the following years, Homecoming grew as an alumni luncheon barbecue. Dances in Charlotte on both Friday and Saturday night became part of the Homecoming program. Even with these events, the football game on Saturday afternoons remained the highlight of Homecoming for many.
In 1936 Homecoming expanded again as fraternities gained the privilege of hosting an open-house with food until 3:00 in the morning, a first on the Davidson campus. Another new tradition began in 1936 when the Pan-Hellenic Council held a decoration contest for fraternities and gave a cup to the house with the best representation of Davidson defeating the Homecoming football opponent. Sigma Phi Epsilon won the cup that first year for their portrayal of a Chapel Hill Graveyard containing gravestones of the Carolina punter having “kicked off” and other members of the team “passed on.”
Another aspect of Homecoming that received a lot of attention was the bands. The college hired nationally acclaimed singers to perform for students at concerts and during the dances, including Dionne Warwick and James Taylor’s brother Livingston Taylor. In 1959 the first Homecoming soccer game was played. After this year a soccer game was a regular Homecoming event although it never received the same importance as the football game.
nother new aspect of Homecoming that began in 1959 was the crowning of the Homecoming queen. The first Homecoming queen was Furman Ivory, who represented the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. It was another 37 years before the crowning of the first Homecoming king. A Homecoming king and queen remain part of the Davidson tradition.
Before the campus was coed and fraternities were allowed to hold large parties on campus, the greater part of Davidson Homecoming was spent in Charlotte. Men took their dates into Charlotte for dinner and for the school-sponsored dances.
Davidson Homecoming is not as celebrated today as it was in the past. More and more over the years, Homecoming activities remain on campus. The formal and informal dances are now held at the fraternity houses. Homecoming weekend used to be the only time many of the students partied and saw women, whereas presently there are a lot more weekly events and campus is generally more social. However, Homecoming is still an important weekend for alumni to gather and revisit campus. There have been years when Homecoming was cancelled due to WWII, an outbreak of the Asian flu, and 9/11 but, even in these years, people still returned to their Alma Mater and took comfort in being around loved ones. Davidson Homecoming has changed greatly from its beginning, but the purpose of bringing Davidson students past and present together remains the same.
Author: Claire Holland
Cite as: Holland, Claire. “Homecoming” Davidson Encyclopedia.https://digitalprojects.davidson.edu/omeka/s/encyclopedia/page/homecoming