CHAMPAIGN-URBANA (WCIA) — The U of I is amid celebration of the 112th annual Homecoming Week. It’s a time for Illini alumni to return to campus, connect with current students and take part in all of the week’s festivities.
Whether you are a current student or graduated decades ago, here are a few facts about the week that you may not know:
1. In 1910, U of I seniors Walter Elmer Ekblaw and Clarence Foss Williams created the idea for Homecoming on the front steps of Illini Hall as a way to give back to their alma mater. The campus’ senior honorary societies planned the first year’s events in the basement of the building.
2. After the dedication of the new Memorial Stadium on October 18, 1924, the Illini football team played their homecoming game. Illini legend Red Grange scored five touchdowns in one of the greatest single-game performances in football history. The Galloping Ghost helped secure a 39–14 victory over the University of Michigan.
3. In 1950, U of I student Mildred Fogel was crowned the first Homecoming queen. In later years, she starred in the “Mission Impossible” TV series and other notable roles with her stage name Barbara Bain.
4. In 1969, Homecoming took place on Halloween weekend and proved disastrous due to its “Hexascopic Hell’s a Topic,” theme. It brought to mind a spell from an imaginary witch and the University community deemed that year’s celebrations cursed.