Homecoming at Old Dominion University has evolved from a single day event to a weeklong celebration. The tradition can be dated back to the 1960s when voting for Homecoming Court was done by pen & paper in the front lobby of Webb Center. Homecoming grew to a weekend celebration in 1979 which was planned by the Activities Programming Board, Rogers and Gresham Halls, and Athletics. Events included soccer and field hockey games, movies, bike races, a Monarch Fest pride celebration, and the annual Homecoming Dance that the Mace & Crown called the "Social Event of the Year". Homecoming was continuing to grow and seeing more improvements but campus spirit and unity had slowly declined. In 1986, an effort to bring back campus unity was made; more events were added to include a campus-community food drive as well as a bonfire at Whitehurst Beach (pictured right). The celebration slowly disappeared as changes in athletics and programming interest evolved in 1991.
After almost ten years without Homecoming at ODU, a student-led initiative within the Student Government Association saw the need to bring back Homecoming and it was revitalized as a three day event in February, 2000. In October 2001, Homecoming grew to a weeklong celebration introducing new themes and events such as the Powder-puff Football Game and fireworks. It also brought back traditional events such as Monarch Pride Day and Homecoming Court. Then in 2002, the celebration was moved to November to coincide with the opening season of Men's & Women's basketball. Over the years, concerts, comedy shows, and races were all added to the event lineup providing something for everyone. Homecoming thrived as a popular celebration on campus and its goal to improve campus pride and spirit as well as encourage relations with alumni prevailed as ODU saw the addition of football in 2009. Homecoming 2010 saw the continuance of many traditions as well as the fostering of some new such as dying the Lion fountain blue. This year, the circus is coming to town! The "Cirque du Monarch" is sure to bring a great show keeping you entertained. Will you be there to see it? There is a surprise around every corner! Monarch spirit, pride, and unity will be brought to an all new level not only for current students, but also for alumni, faculty, staff, and the surrounding community. LET'S GO MONARCHS!
Written by Joshua Darr, Homecoming Parade Director. Courtesy of Special Collections and University Archives, Patricia W. and J. Douglas Perry Library, Old Dominion University Libraries, Norfolk, VA 23529