WKU to celebrate ‘Wild, Wild Western’ Homecoming Oct. 25-30

Western Kentucky University will celebrate Homecoming 2021 with a “Wild, Wild Western” theme throughout the week concluding Saturday, Oct. 30, when the Hilltoppers take on Conference USA rival Charlotte.

“Many of our revered Homecoming traditions were missed in 2020, and we’re happy to announce their return in 2021, as we’re ‘Back in the Saddle Again,’” said Caitlin Greenwell, Senior Director of Philanthropy and Alumni Engagement. “For example, we’re excited to bring the Homecoming Parade back to the City of Bowling Green this year. The parade, which will begin at 5 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 29, provides a unique opportunity to further unite campus and community.”

Immediately following the parade, Greenwell said all Hilltoppers are invited to gather at the Colonnade on the WKU main campus for Big Red’s Roar, a pep rally featuring Coach Tyson Helton, the WKU Football team, the Big Red Marching Band, WKU Cheer, WKU Dance-Topperettes and a special appearance by Big Red.

“The Big Red’s Roar pep rally will take place for the first time at the historic Colonnade on campus,” Greenwell said. “How appropriate that we are rallying the student body in what was once the former home and entryway to the old football stadium!”

Homecoming Day on Oct. 30 will feature numerous reunions of organizations, Greek groups, athletic teams, academic programs and more. With the football game kicking off at 3 p.m., Tailgate & Celebrate will begin at noon.

As part of the week’s festivities, the WKU Alumni Association will honor the 30th class of the WKU Hall of Distinguished Alumni. Howard Bailey, Michelle June James and the late Dr. Rebecca Shadowen will be inducted into this group of noted alumni during a private luncheon sponsored by Franklin Bank & Trust on Oct. 29.

“Homecoming is such a special time of year for the entire Hilltopper Family,” Greenwell noted. “Not only do we welcome home alumni, but we also celebrate our wonderful students, faculty and staff, as well as our world-class academics and athletics.”

The complete 2021 Homecoming schedule of events can be found at alumni.wku.edu/homecoming.

Highlights include:

Monday, Oct. 25

DEI Forum for Us – Presented by the WKU Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Council at 11:30 a.m. CT, this panel discussion led by Dr. Terry Daniels features perspectives from various industry representatives on creating an inclusive culture.

Tuesday, Oct. 26

Decades Roundup: (’70-’90s) – This livestream event at 7 p.m. CT celebrates WKU alumni of the 1970s-1990s and will feature panelists and hosts from the WKU Alumni Association National Board of Directors.

Wednesday, Oct. 27

Decades Roundup: (’00s-’20s) – This livestream event at 7 p.m. CT celebrates WKU from 2000 through the present day, featuring panelists and hosts from the WKU Alumni Association National Board of Directors.

Thursday, Oct. 28

Chili and Cheese Luncheon + Pep Rally – Sponsored by English Lucas Priest & Owsley, LLC and presented by Wendy’s of Bowling Green, the WKU Alumni Association and WBKO, the luncheon will be held from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. CT at Montana Grille. Proceeds benefit Junior Achievement of South Central Kentucky.

WKU Volleyball vs. ODU – The Hilltoppers take on Old Dominion at 6 p.m. CT in E.A. Diddle Arena.

SAAA Heaven Hill Bourbon Tasting – The Society of African American Alumni presents a virtual tasting featuring Bernie Lubbers, the “Whiskey Professor,” at 7 p.m. CT.

Friday, Oct. 29

WKU Hall of Distinguished Alumni – The 30th class of noted alumni will be inducted at a private luncheon sponsored by Franklin Bank & Trust.

Homecoming Parade – The “Wild, Wild Western” Homecoming Parade will begin on the WKU main campus at Hardin Planetarium at 5 p.m., travel down State Street to Fountain Square Park, turn left on Main Street and immediately left on College Street, continuing up College Street to end in front of Cherry Hall.

Big Red’s Roar – Immediately following the Homecoming Parade, Big Red’s Roar pep rally will take place at the historic Colonnade on campus.

WKU Volleyball vs. ODU – The Hilltoppers take on Old Dominion at 6 p.m. in E.A. Diddle Arena.

Saturday, Oct. 30

Tailgate & Celebrate – Featuring all five academic colleges, Tailgate & Celebrate is open to all Hilltoppers. Members of the WKU Alumni Association can enjoy complimentary food and non-alcoholic beverages. Tailgate festivities begin at noon.

WKU Football vs. Charlotte – The Hilltoppers take on the 49ers in the annual Homecoming game, with kickoff at 3 p.m. CT. Can’t make it to the game? You can watch on ESPN3, ESPN+ or Listen Live.

All WKU facilities currently require face masks to enter. The WKU Alumni Association will continue to follow the Healthy on the Hill Guidelines.

Western Kentucky University prides itself on positioning its students, faculty and staff for long term success. As a student-centered, applied research university, WKU helps students expand on classroom learning by integrating education with real-world applications in the communities we serve. Our hilltop campus is located in Bowling Green, Kentucky, which was recently named by Reader’s Digest as one of the nicest towns in America, just an hour’s drive from Nashville, Tennessee.

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