Come home! It’s the annual invitation to Bulldogs far and wide to show up on campus for football, a family-fun festival, fireworks and more. This year’s Homecoming, set for Friday and Saturday, Oct. 21 and 22, will include more in-person events than it has since fall of 2019, as well as opportunities to celebrate both 2021 and 2022 milestones.
“We’re so happy to be able to host more events on campus and also excited to offer a special welcome back to the Class of 1972, for their golden-anniversary reunion,” says Brittany Peper, the University’s assistant director of strategic communications for advancement. She said that in order to compensate for the Covid lockdown of 2020, last year’s 50-year reunion included the classes of 1970 and 1971 and was moved outside to allow for more social distancing. But Covid concerns still kept some members of the class of 1971 at home.
“We want to make sure both the class of 1971 and class of 1972 have a chance to reunite on campus,” Peper says. “Members of both classes are welcome to attend.” The reunion is set for Saturday from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Hinson Art Museum. It’s free of charge, but registration is required.
Homecoming will kick off Friday morning with the Bill Connell Memorial Golf Tournament at Eagle Chase Golf Club. The 40th annual event is sponsored by the Bulldog Club.
The first on-campus event of the weekend will be a concert by organist Robert Dicks in Austin Auditorium at noon on Friday. The performance is part of the Asti Artist Series.
Friday evening will bring an opportunity for alumni to mingle with current students at the OneDog Networking Mixer at 4:30 p.m. inside the Crowder Welcome Center.
“Who better to inspire current students than our alumni?” says Liz Biggerstaff, assistant vice president for career services and new student orientation. “Our goal with this event is simply to offer an informal setting, with hors d’oeuvres and drinks, for alumni and students to get to know one another better.”
Held in the Crowder Welcome Center and sponsored by the Office of Career Services, the free event will also offer an opportunity for alumni who haven’t visited campus in the past few years to see the wholly renovated space inside the Dickson-Palmer Building.
At the end of the mixer, those who have tickets will have just enough time to head across the street to the LaVerne Banquet Hall for the Blue Carpet Gala, a belated celebration of the 2021 Alumni Award winners and 2022 Sports Hall of Fame inductees.
Saturday’s events will kick off well before kickoff, with tailgaters welcome to head to the designated tailgating areas next to Irwin Belk Stadium as early as noon in preparation for the Bulldogs’ 6 p.m. football game against Barton College. Wingate’s two Top Dogs, elected by the student body, will be crowned during halftime of the game.
The Homecoming Festival, featuring live music, face-painting, balloon artists, inflatables and food trucks, will run from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. in the field next to the tailgating lot.
Alumni and Wingate fans hoping to catch sports action will have a host of opportunities on Saturday. Men’s lacrosse will scrimmage against Barton College, and men’s and women’s soccer will celebrate Senior Day as they take on Tusculum. Additionally, five teams – baseball, men’s and women’s lacrosse, women’s soccer and women’s basketball – will host alumni games.
Finally, Saturday night’s finale, the much anticipated fireworks over Irwin Belk Stadium, will start immediately after the football game.
To see a full schedule of Homecoming events and to register, visit the Homecoming page of the Wingate website, wingate.edu.
University supporters who ordered Homecoming T-shirts are reminded to pick them up on Friday between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. at the Crowder Welcome Center or Saturday between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. at the Homecoming Festival.