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From Martha Mitchell’s Encyclopedia Brunoniana:


Homecoming for the alumni in the fall was first held in 1935, in response to an expressed need for a time when all alumni could come back to the campus. Paul C. DeWolf ’05, chairman of the Homecoming Committee, explained that the function of the event was not to rival, but to augment the already existing alumni participation in Commencement reunions, which were off-campus affairs affecting only the one-fifth of the alumni in the reunion classes, or Visiting Day, which was limited to those graduates on the visiting committees of the various academic departments. The idea served its purpose as 800 alumni from the Class of 1867 up to the Class of 1935 congregated at the homecoming dinner. The weekend was scheduled so that the alumni could attend the Brown-Dartmouth football and soccer games. They were also invited to attend Saturday morning classes, several of which were demonstrations in the sciences especially planned for the occasion. At the second annual Homecoming in 1936 the classroom experience was transferred to Friday morning. On Friday afternoon there was a hastily arranged football game between the Brown freshman team and the second team of Rhode Island State College, as the freshmen did not open their regular season until the next week. The varsity team’s game was on the schedule but off the campus, as Brown played Harvard at Soldiers Field on that weekend. An added attraction was a frost-bite dinghy regatta between the alumni and the undergraduates, won by the alumni 309 to 234. H. Stanton Smith ’21 had high boat score with 57, aided by his crew (and wife) Marjorie Brown Smith, former physical education director at the Women’s College. The unscheduled happening of the weekend occurred when Acting President James P. Adams paused at the seeming end of his “State of the University” address to announce to the alumni before release to the press the election of Henry M. Wriston as the next president of Brown. Homecoming later became a big weekend for undergraduates also. Fraternities constructed outdoor displays, and the weekend events included a freshman-sophomore flag rush, a pep rally, a formal dance, and a football game at which the Homecoming Queen made an appearance. In the 1960s Homecoming became a one-day event centering on the football game. Since 1971 the Athletic Hall of Fame has been an added attraction on Friday evening.

The above entry appears in Encyclopedia Brunoniana by Martha Mitchell, copyright 1993 by the Brown University Library. It is used here by permission of the author and the University and may not be copied or further distributed without permission.

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