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Homecoming '99: Changing Traditions

By La Monica Everett-Haynes
Arizona Daily Wildcat,
November 5, 1999


Though her memory fails her, UA graduate Phyllis Yates recalls the day during the Homecoming season of 1947 when she met the parents of the man who soon after became her husband.

She does not remember what she wore.

She does not remember what words were exchanged.

She does, however, remember the excitement surrounding the Homecoming celebration in 1947, nearly 50 years before her granddaughter would attend the University of Arizona.

"I remember that I met my husband's parents at Homecoming in 1947," Yates said. "It's hard to remember anything in particular but the gym was all decorated up, and it was just a big dance."

Yates attended the UA from 1946 to 1949, graduating with a degree in elementary education.

She said hundreds of UA students attended the informal dance in Bear Down Gymnasium, noting that there was a substantial percentage of student participation.

"It was very active," she said. "I think the fraternities did a lot more than other groups, but of course they had the big parade, all the fraternity and sorority houses had a float - we all went to the game."

She said an event she considers to be one of the most interesting and entertaining of those presented during Homecoming weekend was the formation of images in the stands during the University of Arizona football games.

"I remember holding cards - they would be colors like white or blue or red or orange - with patterns," Yates said. "The cheer squad would say, 'On the count of three, have your card ready' and when we held up the cards you might see a Wildcat come in the cheer section."

Yates said the 1940s were a very socially oriented time on the UA campus, during Homecoming and throughout the school year.

The 1970s, her daughter said, were not.

Yates's daughter, Lynn Reinhold, remembers a sense of disconnection on the UA campus and a rebellion against tradition as a result of the Vietnam draft.

"There was all that turmoil, nationally, because they (the government) picked dates out of a hat, and if they happened to pick Nov. 3, then the men born on that date were the ones to be drafted."

Reinhold, a 1975 business and public administration graduate, said rebellion was the new tradition rather than the previous tradition of joining clubs and participating in organized events on campus.

"I never went to a Homecoming because there was an anti-traditional anything," she said. "Especially those who were older than I was - anything that was established or traditional was really a downplay because it had more to do with national politics, that unrest."

There was much less of an emphasis on unified social gatherings and more disconnection between students and campus administration, she said.

Her husband, Charles Reinhold, who received his undergraduate degree in business and administration in 1973, said he recalls a tradition of student activism.

"Speaker's Corner may have been a genesis of (current activism on the UA Mall) because there was a lot of activism, a lot of protests," he said.

Speaker's Corner was an open forum on the mall for students to speak on heated issues, often times surrounding religion and politics.

Micah Reinhold, an accounting and finance junior, is attending the UA 50 years after her grandmother, and 25 years after her parents.

Reinhold said that although she has not attended a Homecoming, she thinks the traditional hype over the football game has increased but is unsure whether very many people are enthusiastic about Homecoming.

"I'm participating with my honorary accounting fraternity, Beta Alpha Psi, and that's the only reason why I heard anything about it," she said. "The game has become the focus of Homecoming, but in the past they seemed to focus on the game and the parade."

(Special thanks to Micah L. Reinhold and Phyllis Yates for providing these photographs)

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