History of Homecoming
For many students, the ideal Homecoming weekend is filled with tailgating, sports and an exciting musical performance.However, GC’s first attempt at Homecoming wouldn’t look familiar to students today. University historian Bob Wilson said that GC attempted its first ever homecoming weekend in 1937, back when it was an all girls school.
“They chose to have it in November because a lot of the alumni were teachers, and they were off for Thanksgiving, but not many of them seemed to come,” Wilson said. “The girls on campus didn’t like it because they were required to stay for Thanksgiving.”
Because of the lack of attendance, the attempt was unsuccessful, and the idea of homecoming was done away with for a while after that.
In 1938, the school began hosting a talent show called “The Golden Slipper” in place of a homecoming. The name came from the prize he girls competed for, a glass slipper that had been painted gold.
The annual event was extremely successful with as many as 5,000 people crowding into Russell Auditorium to witness the competition each year. This lasted until 1967 when the college became co-ed.
“Everything changed when they let men into this institution,” Wilson said.
The talent show was replaced with a beauty pageant which would crown one female student as “Miss Georgia College” each year.
During the pageant’s peak in the ‘80s, GC President Edwin Spier decided the school needed a sports team to ignite school pride, ultimately settling on a basketball team. The Centennial Center was built in 1989 for this purpose.
A year later in 1990, GC’s first ever Miss Homecoming was crowned during a basketball game between GC and Georgia Southwestern in the Centennial Center. The game was followed by a performance from singer Michael Cooper. This took the place of the Miss Georgia College pageant and served as the foundation of the Homecoming Week students know and love today.
Assistant dean of students Tom Miles and director of student involvement Jonathan Meyer both said they recall the earliest Homecoming Concerts, which took place in a field where the softball parking lot currently is.
“We had one year where it was starting to hit freezing,” Miles said. “The entertainers actually couldn’t perform.”
Though they managed to pull the concert off, this and a few other weather-related incidents led to their decision to move the concert indoors to the Centennial Center in 2010.
Miles and Meyer also mentioned various artists who have performed at GC over the years, such as Sean Kingston, Third Eye Blind, Hoodie Allen and of course, Vanilla Ice.
“Many moons ago we had Vanilla Ice, and when we went to pick him up, he wanted to know where his white limousine was,” Miles said. “We were like, ‘The best we have is a white GC van . . . and he climbed his butt right in that van and performed.”
Vanilla Ice has not been the only performer with extremely picky taste. Performers have been known to request odd specifics, from diet Lipton Tea in a can, bowls full of only green M&M’s and even two birthday sheet cakes.
GC’s current Homecoming queen, senior Kemi Adeleke has experienced three Homecoming Weeks and has taken advantage of as many events as she could.
“I feel like Homecoming is great chance to celebrate GC in general, celebrate our sports teams and gather as a community,” Adeleke said.