ABOVE: TSU President Dr. Austin Lane and Family
Homecoming is a big deal at many colleges and universities, but especially at many Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) across the country.
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the word Homecoming is defined as “a return home” or “the return of a group of people usually on a special occasion to a place formerly frequented or regarded as home.”
Highlighting her performance at the 2018 Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival last year, Houston native, Beyoncé, paid homage to HBCUs during her highly-acclaimed documentary entitled HΘMΣCΘMING: A Film by Beyoncé, where she featured various aspects of the Homecoming experience that take place on the majority of HBCU campuses.
The HBCU Homecoming experience is like no other and the Homecoming experience at Texas Southern University this past week, from October 6-12, was no exception. The theme for TSU’s Homecoming this year was “Back to the Yard,” which was extremely fitting for 2019.
In just three years, TSU President Dr. Austin Lane has successfully transformed the TSU Homecoming experience from one that had struggled for alumni and student participation over the past several years, back to one of the most exciting Homecoming experiences in the nation.
Back in 2017, Dr. Lane made the decision to bring back the Grand Tiger Parade to the Third Ward community after a nine-year absence, and that decision continues to be an extremely popular one. People of all ages and backgrounds gathered around the two-and-a-half–mile route to participate and take part in enjoying marching bands, youth dance groups, elected officials, political candidates, floats and decorated cars roll through the community.
One of the key changes Dr. Lane chose to implement this year that has garnered tremendous praise from students, faculty, alumni and the community alike, was his decision to bring the TSU Football Homecoming game back on campus to the enhanced and upgraded Alexander Durley Stadium, which had served as the home of TSU football for years.
This was the first home game played on campus at Durley Stadium since 2008.
Although the TSU Tigers fell short on the football field, the energy and buzz around the stadium was electric, and unlike anything that had been seen on campus for some time.
From celebrities to elected officials to alumni of all backgrounds, TSU was the place to be this past week. There were so many things to do during TSU Homecoming, especially on Saturday with individuals participating in the parade, going to the football game, seeing the Ocean of Soul Marching Band perform, having the presence of all Greek-lettered organizations strolling across the yard, enjoying great food and music and watching people tailgating from sunup to sundown.
Dr. Lane called on all TSU alumni to “come back home” and participate in all TSU Homecoming Week events and festivities with current TSU students, which included:
Saturday – Oct. 5th
- TSUNAA Young Alumni Chapter Homecoming Kickoff Bootcamp that was held at the Ernest S. Sterling Student Center
Sunday – Oct. 6th
- Community Service at the Ernest S. Sterling Student Center
- “Southern and Sophisticated” Neo Soul & Jazz Scholarship Brunch featuring Raheem DeVaughn at the Decorative Center of Houston
- Student Lock-In at the Ernest S. Sterling Student Center
Monday – Oct. 7th
- Student & Faculty Basketball Game at the Recreation and Wellness Center
- Pep Rally at Alexander Durley Field
- Midnight Breakfast at the Recreation and Wellness Center
Tuesday – Oct. 8th
- Org Wars that took place at a variety of different locations
Wednesday – Oct. 9th
- Hump Day on the Yard at the Ernest S. Sterling Student Center)
- Coronation at the H&PE Arena
- Comedy Show at the HP&E Arena
Thursday – Oct. 10th
- 18th Annual Tiger Paw Scholarship Golf Classic at Hermann Park Golf Course
- Midterm Giveaway at the Tiger Walk
- TSUNNA Life Member Reception at the Ernest S. Sterling Student Center
- TSU Fashion Show at the Martin Luther King Humanities Building Plaza
- TSU NPHC Greek Step Show at the Granville M. Sawyer Auditorium
- Alumni Yard Party at the Ernest S. Sterling Student Center Cafeteria
- Tiger Street Fest at the Granville M. Sawyer Plaza
Friday – Oct. 11th
- Yard Fest at the Tiger Walk and Plaza
- Homecoming Concert at the H&PE Arena
- TSUNAA Alumni Chapter Meeting at the Ernest S. Sterling Student Center
- Alumni Reunion Brunch at the Ernest S. Sterling Student Center
- Overnight Tailgate Party in the Tailgating area in the Blodgett St. parking lot
Saturday – Oct. 12th
- 2019 Homecoming Parade that took place near TSU and the surrounding 3rd Ward Community
- 2019 Homecoming Tailgating in the Tailgating area in the Blodgett St. parking lot
- 2019 Homecoming Football Game at Alexander Durley Stadium
President Lane was present for most events throughout the week, where he was found engaging with students, alumni, faculty and staff during a jam-packed Homecoming schedule. First Lady Loren Lane was also present during many of the Homecoming events, supporting the University.
TSU students and alumni should be happy to have a president who listened to them about wanting to combine the present with the past and have a traditional Homecoming celebration that everyone could be proud of. If this year’s Homecoming festivities are any indication, then it is safe to assume that the very best of TSU’s Homecoming celebrations is yet to come.