The Homecoming Tradition at Mizzou
By Dale Wright
The rivalry between Missouri and Kansas dates back to pre-civil war days, during the "Border Wars," and so it is only appropriate for the next "wars" to take place on the playing field. In 1891, the next installment of the border battle began; the Tigers would face the kU Jayhawks on a different field--the college football gridiron. This rivalry would become the oldest college football rivalry west of the Mississippi River.
Perhaps because of this intense war between the states, the battle always took place at a neutral site. Most of the games took place in Kansas City, with one game moved to St. Joseph, Mo. Due to legislation handed down by the NCAA, the game had to be moved to the campus football fields. At this time, Missouri trailed in the series by a count of 12-3-5, so there was a need to add excitement to the series.
Chester L. Brewer, MU's Director of Athletics, had a vision. To make the rivalry more interesting, the University would invite alumni to "come home" for the game. In 1911, the tradition of Homecoming at the University of Missouri began with a spirit rally, a parade and more than 9,000 fans packed into Rollins Field (now Stankowski Field) to watch Mizzou football. It has since served as a model for the various Homecoming celebrations that take place across the nation.
The Homecoming celebration at Mizzou has become a grand tradition and one of MU's largest events, not to mention the largest of its kind. Recently, the University of Missouri's Homecoming celebration was named the best Homecoming in the nation; it is also held up as a model Homecoming program by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education.
Carrying on the spirit of the event it started, Mizzou still has its annual parade and spirit rally. Homecoming events at Mizzou have broken the world record for the largest peacetime blood drive on a college campus and have included large emphasis on community service, campus decorations, talent competition, Homecoming hall of fame and many other activities.
Each year, thousands of students, alumni and friends "come home" to celebrate the tradition of Homecoming. We hope to see you all in the fall!
(University Archives, C:0/3/8)
Art Students' Homecoming Parade Float, 1954
(University Archives, C:0/49/2)
The Missouri Student Welcomes MU Graduates to Homecoming, 1933
View a list of past Homecoming Grand Marshals.
Learn more about past Homecoming themes, stats and past Homecoming Steering Committees.
Homecoming is a program of the