Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Celebrating Major Moments in CMU's Homecoming Traditions

by Magdelyn Gipe

Break out the gold, ruby, and silver! 2022 marks the milestone anniversaries of a few major events in Central’s Homecoming traditions.

Connie Wilson, Queen, 1972
This year is the 50th anniversary of Connie Wilson being crowned Homecoming Queen. Ms. Wilson was the first Black woman to be elected Homecoming Queen at Central. In Fall of 1972, Ms. Wilson, an elementary education student from Saginaw, was a sophomore and the Towers executive council sponsored her as a candidate for the Homecoming Court. Involved in both the Organization of the Black Student Union and in the Black Voices of CMU, she had a great deal of support across the campus. In addition to being the first Black woman honored as Central’s Homecoming Queen, she was also the first Homecoming Queen crowned in the new Perry Shorts Stadium, which was dedicated during Homecoming of 1972.

Jodi Urban and John Nader,
Queen and King, 1982

2022 also marks the 40th anniversary of having a Homecoming King join the Queen as part of the Homecoming Court. Although, the first Homecoming King wasn’t elected until 1982, it wasn’t the first time that men threw their names in the hat for Homecoming royalty. Beginning in the 1950s, there were regularly men, like Edna in 1950 or the perennial also-ran, Elvira Scratch, dressing up in costume vying for the title of Queen. Many people got a kick out of the novelty candidates, but the men never ascended to the Homecoming Court. That changed with Central’s first Homecoming King, John Nader. Nader was a senior at the time of his election and was sponsored by the Woldt-Emmons residence halls. Nader was reported as wanting to be a presence in the community as part of his role in the Homecoming court, saying that he planned to “take an active part in speaking with off-campus groups to represent CMU.”

Jocylin Stevenson and Todd Price,
Gold Ambassadors, 1997
Finally, this year is the 25th anniversary of the removal of Homecoming royalty and the creation of the Maroon and Gold Ambassadors. The Gold Ambassadors effectively replaced the Homecoming Queen and King, and the Maroon Ambassadors replaced the Court. Since 1997, all of the Homecoming Ambassadors have been nominated based on merit, particularly students' leadership, campus involvement, and community service. In 1997, Todd Price and Jocylin Stevenson were elected as the first ever Gold Ambassadors. Both were leaders on campus: Stevenson was a senior criminal justice major, minoring in drug and substance abuse prevention, and Price was a senior interpersonal and public communications major, minoring in journalism, advertising, and marketing.

Since the first Homecoming in 1924, the traditions at Central have evolved and grown. Next year, 2023, will give us a chance to mark milestone anniversaries of the cardboard boat race and the medallion hunt, and the year after that will be one century of CMU Homecoming. Fire Up, Chips!