The history of homecoming: UTEP welcomes alumni and celebrates Miner pride

Alexia X. Nava Carmona, Copy Editor

Throughout the week, UTEP will host its annual homecoming, which centers around bringing alumni and a new generation of students together to build camaraderie and celebrate school spirit,” according to UTEP’s website 

‘I belong to the university, this is my Miner pride and I want to come back and see how things are at the university, that is, in essence, what homecoming really means,” said Liliana Barrios, director for Alumni Engagement Programs and the chair of the Homecoming Committee.  

The tradition of homecoming across universities dates back to 1910, but the first Homecoming football game took place 90 years ago on Nov. 9, 1929, according to Willie Quinn, UTEP engineering alumnus and volunteer for the Heritage House at the university.  

Still, traditionally, homecoming is “tied to football season,” according to Maribel Villalva, assistant vice president for Alumni Relations.  

“Homecoming traditionally, at all universities – not just here at UTEP, is centered around football season,” Villalva said. “There are festivities that happen during the week that culminates with the homecoming game.” 

Besides the football game, there have been other events to recognize outstanding UTEP alumni. Since 1950, the Distinguished Alumni Award, known as the Outstanding Ex-Students award until 1991, has been given as a university-wide recognition of UTEP’s most memorable alumniexplained Quinn. 

Also, since 1984, colleges began to recognize their alumni with the Gold Nugget Award, according to the UTEP Encyclopedia.  

However, the homecoming event is not only about the alumni and the football game, but it is also about the current students.  

Throughout the week, there are activities such as pep rally and various mixers. 

It is also worth noting that the Student Government Association (SGA) has had some activities of its own to celebrate homecoming, such as the SGA Pageant, which has taken place for more than 25 years, according to SGA’s website. 

Another activity that came and went was the homecoming parade, which was done from shortly after World War II until Oct. 29, 2016, according to Quinn. It is also worth noting that the winner of the Outstanding Ex-student award “served as grand marshal of the parade,” according to the UTEP Encyclopedia. 

However, as traditions have evolved, this year has new activities in store for students, such as the College of Business Administration Meet the Dean Mixer at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 2 

“That’s the first time that a school has done that during homecoming, to welcome a new dean, as far as Im aware,” Villalva said.  

For information about the homecoming activities going on throughout the week, visit 

Alexia X. Nava Carmona may be reached at [email protected].