K-State celebrates ‘a century of coming home’


Homecoming lies among the K-State traditions of royal purple and the Wabash Cannonball. Next week, students, faculty and alumni will use this year’s homecoming to celebrate “a century of coming home.”

The tradition of homecoming began in 1915, when football coach John Bender invited alumni back to what was then Kansas State Agricultural College, to cheer on the “Aggies” in the game against the University of Kansas “Roosters,” according to Amanda Lee, K-State Alumni Association assistant director of student programs.

“It’s really evolved throughout the years, but two of the most consistent pieces, beyond just the homecoming football game, are the parade and pep rally, which are two events we still have today,” Lee said.

Lee said planning for homecoming is practically a year-round project. The student committee begins planning shortly after spring break.

“The Alumni Association is the keeper of traditions, and that’s something we’re really proud to do for K-State,” Lee said. “One of our proudest traditions is homecoming.”

Homecoming activities will begin on Sunday with the Homecoming Philanthropy 5K Run/Walk, which will benefit the Flint Hills Community Clinic. The week’s activities will conclude with the K-State football game versus Oklahoma the following Saturday.

This year, to celebrate 100 years of Homecoming, each of the greek, residence hall and student organization pairings have selected a different decade to use in the competitive pieces of the week.

“I think it’s going to be really fun to see what everybody does with that,” Amy Button Renz, Alumni Association president and CEO, said.

Renz said it is very important to respect and honor our past as a university.

“K-State would not be what it is today without building on the rich traditions of our past and the graduates who preceded all of us,” Renz said.

The Alumni Association has also invited back past homecoming queens, as well as the first student ambassadors from 1977, for this year’s celebration.

“I think something I really like about homecoming is that it’s a way to get a lot of different generations involved in K-State spirit,” Kim Friedrichs, senior in nutrition and health and homecoming committee intern, said.

Homecoming is a great way for alumni to come back and remember their time at K-State, and for prospective students to see what they have to look forward to, according to Friedrichs.

“It’s really something that is very special, because it’s not just about the students,” said Katie VanDever, junior in communications and 2015 K-State student ambassador. “It’s about the community. It’s about Manhattan. It’s about our alum.”

Homecoming means different things to different people, but it’s all about family and celebrating K-State in the end to Renz.

“Whether somebody’s a first-generation K-Stater, or whether they’re a fourth-generation K-Stater, it’s all about the family,” Renz said.