The First Homecoming

On November 11, 1924—exactly one month before James B. Duke would make the gift that would transform Trinity College into Duke University—Trinity held its first official homecoming. It was also Armistice Day, which commemorated the end of World War I, and was a holiday for most folks. Football was the centerpiece of the day and the largest crowd to ever see a Trinity athletics event gathered at Hanes field (site of today’s Williams Field on East Campus) as the Blue Devils lost to Wake Forest. Nearly 1,000 alumni attended the events that day, which included a gathering of alumni clubs as well as the screening of the film, “A Year at Trinity.”

Homecoming Parade, 1941.

Over the years parades, skits, and musical performances have been added to the homecoming festivities. One thing has not changed—the chance for alumni to return home to their alma mater and relive those glory days of college.

To see photographs of homecomings past, visit the University Archives’ “Homecoming Celebrations” set at Duke Yearlook, our Flickr photostream.

Post contributed by Tim Pyatt, Duke University Archivist.