Blast from the past: Homecoming evolves

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Volleyball games, bounce houses, the Fortuna Bowl game and fireworks were just a few of the activities in which a person could be involved at Homecoming this year. However, it has not always been this extravagant.

In 1960, California Baptist College celebrated Homecoming a bit different. According to Vi Estel, CBU’s archivist, the Homecoming queens and kings did not exist; it was all about the sweetheart and the darlings.

The sweetheart was nominated and voted on by the school and the darlings were part of the Homecoming Court.

The first sweetheart was Carol Rose (Paul) and her darlings were Betty Ayres (McClung) and May Campbell (Chism). In 1962, CBC crowned its first queen, Betty Wright (Musacchio).

Estel said she remembered Homecoming as a time for students to revisit friends, and the basketball game was the highlight of the Homecoming weekend.

Few alumni attended the first years of CBC’s Homecoming because the school was not old or big enough.

One event that took place was the Baby Contest, which included separate contests such as “cutest baby” and “fastest crawlers” and the babies of alumni were awarded with a $1,000 scholarship to return to CBC.

Over the years the number of alumni has increased because of graduating classes, and because CBU has so many alumni now there is a bigger focus on them during the Homecoming weekend.

In 1962, the first annual banquet for the alumni took place. To this day, the banquet still exist, and has been combined with awards for alumni of the year.

From a previous Banner article dated back to Nov. 16, 1962, the award is given annually on the basis of some outstanding achievement in the Lord’s work, contribution to the school and/or work in the society.

According to a CBU press release, this year’s Alumni Awards Banquet recognized the classes of 1962 and 1987. At this event Marilyn Crabtree (1962 graduate), along with Tom Holladay (1977 graduate) and Dr. Richard Phillips (1985 graduate) all received different awards for their services and dedication.

The awards banquet was not the only thing alumni could be a part of this year. Events such as water polo games for both men and women, reunions and luncheons, and what is now the center of Homecoming men’s and women’s Fortuna Bowl games.

Homecoming is an event alumni would not want to miss since it’s a time to reconnect with friends, look back on memories and be a part of the growing campus they once called home.

Since the first crowning in 1952 and the most recent in 2012, there have been more than 30 queens crowned. This year, Aubree Worrell, senior early childhood studies major, was crowned Queen and took the title of Ms. CBU.

“Thinking that there are 30 queens before me and knowing I am now a part of that history is a huge honor,” Worrell said. “In having this title, I hope to be a godly woman and leader while representing our school and the things we stand for.”

In 1998, CBC became CBU, and the 1999 Homecoming was still growing. Events like Pajama Day and Twin Day, as well as School Colors Day, all happened during the week leading up to Homecoming. The event has always been something to which current students and alumni look forward to attending.

Over the years, Homecoming has gone from an attendance of approximately 50 people to 4,500. This fall, Homecoming welcomed 5,000 people, with 3,000 people alone watching the Fortuna Bowl game.

According to a CBU press release, February was the former time slot that CBU held its Homecoming weekend, but officials decided to move it to its present calendar spot so larger events could happen and impact the campus more.

Persons interested in learning more about homecomings from CBU’s early years may visit the Annie Gabriel Library tab on CBU’s website and view homecomings all the way back to the 1950s.

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