The History of Utah Tech’s Homecoming Week

These photographs appear in the yearbook from the Homecoming activities of the class of 1960. Homecoming has been a tradition at Utah Tech since the early 1950s and has been continued on to the present day. The week is an exciting time for the Trailblazers since it sets off a community reunion to commemorate the week. | Photo courtesy of the Utah Tech Library archive

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Homecoming has been a long-standing tradition at Utah Tech University with Homecoming royalty being mentioned in yearbooks dating back to 1952.

The celebration of Homecoming at Utah Tech began in 1951. An issue of The Dixie Sun dated Oct. 28, 1952, details that the day of Oct. 31 would be set aside as the college’s second annual Homecoming and Founders’ Day that year.

A Dixie College yearbook from 1960 described that year’s Homecoming and Founders’ Day as the most all-inclusive one yet to be staged at Dixie.

For a majority of the university’s history, Homecoming and Founders’ Day were celebrated in conjunction with one another.

John Bowler, director of alumni relations and former student body president in 1984-1985, said when he attended the university the parade route began at the university and ended at the tabernacle located at 18 S. Main St. Inside the tabernacle would be the Founders’ Day assembly after the parade.

After the tabernacle went through a full renovation in 2016, making the venue no longer available for the event, the parade route was changed. Following the closure of the venue for renovations, the Founders’ Day aspect of the Homecoming Week became separated.

Homecoming events such as the parade; the Homecoming pageant, which is now the Miss Utah Tech pageant; and of course, the homecoming football game are traditions that have been a part of Utah Tech’s Homecoming Week throughout the years.

For some events, while the idea has remained the same, the way the events are celebrated has evolved.

One event that has remained a part of the Homecoming festivities but is represented very differently now is the Homecoming dance.

In the history of the university, the Homecoming dance had been a formal dance. We still have a dance during Homecoming Week, the Dirty Thirty dance following the football game, but this dance is far from formal.

Another difference between Homecoming in the past and now is the week having a theme. In previous years, there have been themes such as “Red Hills of November” for the Homecoming in 1960 and “The Golden Year” in 1961. However, in more recent years, Homecoming Week has not been given a particular theme.

Karson Ray, vice president of student life and member of the Homecoming committee, a senior healthcare administration major from Hurricane, said rather than a theme, the committee decided to focus on school spirit being incorporated throughout each event with school colors and logos.

“Homecoming Week, it’s just a time when all the students can start building a lot of their school pride,” Ray said.

The week of Homecoming is filled with events for students and the community to enjoy while bringing together new and old traditions.

Bowler describes the significance of Homecoming as an impactful time for those who get to come back to the campus and reminisce about all the fun they had when attending the university. A time when they can look back at all the meaningful relationships they built, and a time for current students to see that someone still really cherishes what the students themselves are currently living through.

“It gives everyone a little perspective,” Bowler said. “It gives a sense of belonging.”