NDSU HOMECOMING: A LOOK BACK
Published: Wednesday, October 9, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, October 9, 2013 17:10
NDSU has many rich traditions, and of these traditions the celebrating of homecoming is one of the most long-standing.
On Nov. 1, 1919, the first Annual Homecoming Day was held at the North Dakota Agricultural College. No effort was spared to make the reception for NDAC’s old students entertaining and enjoyable throughout.
The first NDSU homecoming celebration began with the traditional football game. The Bison came off of the field with a 7-6 victory over in-state rival University of North Dakota.
During halftime, a “snake dance” was held with alumni from the class of 1895, the first in the history of NDAC, all the way to students of the graduating class of 1919.
Following the game, a special program for the alumni supplemented the day’s schedule of student activities. An informal beefsteak barbecue and ice cream social was held in the stock judging pavilion, while lantern slides were shown depicting the football teams and student activities of former days.
Later in the day the Harvest Festival, which was a pageant depicting the historical events in the life of the college, was hosted.
Professor Archibald E. Minard, author of “The Yellow and The Green,” told the story of how the words of NDSU’s alma mater came to be written, and Dr. Clarence S. Putnam told how he developed a musical setting for the lyrics.
A dance rounded out North Dakota Agricultural College’s first homecoming day. And, despite the loss of the football team, was considered an extremely successful start to a splendid tradition.
During the next few decades, NDSU replicated its first homecoming day with the only one major change: the homecoming parade was moved to a downtown route.
Although homecoming has been a long-standing event at NDSU, in 1943-1944 the tradition was put on hold due to World War II.
However, the pageantry and football resumed following the end of the war and have endured every year since.
In terms of the NDSU football team’s performance at homecoming games, the Bison have had much success with a 52-37-3 record and a 40-9 record since 1964.
The biggest defeat the Bison have handed out on homecoming is a 70-18 throttling of Augustana in 1968, and NDSU had its largest shutout victory in 2006, blanking Mississippi Valley State 45-0.
NDSU is currently 16-4 in homecoming games played in the Fargodome, and the Bison are on a two-game winning streak thanks to a 48-7 blowout in the highly touted matchup against No. 3 Youngstown State last year.
To connect with traditions of the past and to strengthen connections for the future, NDSU has returned the parade to the location it was from 1922 to 1982, downtown Fargo and Broadway.
The parade begins 5:30 p.m. Friday, with a community-wide pep fest to follow at the Fargo Civic Center, all leading up to the football game against Missouri State.