In 1927, Whitworth had its first homecoming weekend and established many homecoming traditions, such as painting up and watching the football game.
Despite campus being significantly smaller in 1927—only McMillan and Ballard existed—it was intended to be the biggest event in the school’s history, according to the university archives.
The university introduced the Pirate mascot during homecoming in 1929. That year there was a banquet, where about 175 students attended. There was also an open house for current students and alumni to tour campus.
“The people who were currently at the college wanted to show the people who had gone to school here before, what was going on and what was new,” archivist Janet Hauck said. “They wanted to be their hosts and let them see the current state of affairs.”
Whitworth held its 89th homecoming this past weekend and it was highlighted by the grand opening of the Cowles Music Center.
The campus was vibrant and full of events to celebrate almost nine decades of rich history.
Jacob McCalum, a class of 2011 alum said that the residence hall float parade on Saturday was something he had never seen before, but enjoyed.
“It’s a surreal feeling now, thinking it has been five years since graduation,” McCalum said. “The car parade, going through the loop driving around, where each dorm had their decorations on there, that was pretty cool.”
This year, “Ghostbusters” was shown in the Robinson Teaching Theatre on Thursday to kick off the weekend. Friday night’s highlight was a concert by senior Benjamin Olson and junior Carter Hudson, held in Pirates Cove. Saturday the music center opened, there was a parade in the Loop and students danced until their feet hurt under a tent.
It was also a victorious weekend for each of the sports teams.
Whitworth also welcomed about 300 alumni, including the class of 2011, which celebrated their five-year reunion.
There were some similarities to when McCalum was a student, such as watching the football game, but also differences like the residence hall float parade, he said.
“I saw some people painted up [to go to the football game] so that was pretty similar.,” McCalum said. “Something that was different though is we used to go straight to the football game, but there were people going around with a speaker trying to get everyone involved.”
Joshua Cleveland, the assistant director of alumni and parent relations, who is a part of the class of 2001, was in charge of planning the events for300 alumni who came to campus. Alums came from as far away as Pittsburgh.
This year celebrated the classes ending in the number six such as 1976 to 2006. A few members from the class of 1951, 2011 and former music students were also invited to celebrate the opening of the new center.
“There has been a great response,” Cleveland said. “I loved seeing people who haven’t seen each other in a while squeal in excitement.”
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