BYU’s Homecoming, “A Season of Courage”
By Marianne Holman, Church News staff writer
Whether it was hiking to the “Y” on the mountain, running through blue foam, eating blue pancakes, watching an evening performance of this year’s homecoming BYU Spectacular, or cheering the football team to a win, there was something for all associated with Brigham Young University to enjoy during this year’s homecoming week held October 8–12. This year’s theme, “A Season for Courage” carried through the activities and events throughout the week.
“Homecoming is an event designed for anyone who has ever had any interest in BYU—students, alumni, or parents,” said Charlene Winters, a member of the executive homecoming committee. “This year was one of those weeks for the record books.”
Kicking off the week was the annual opening ceremonies held Tuesday during the weekly devotional time, beginning with a welcome from the Cougar marching band and BYU President Cecil O. Samuelson and his wife, Sharon Samuelson. The Studio C team—a comedy group who are recent BYU grads—kept the audience laughing and even included head football coach Bronco Mendenhall in part of its performance.
“It got the week off to a wonderful start,” said Sister Winters, who wrote the script for the opening ceremonies. Although she had the current students in mind, she said that homecoming week is a wonderful time for students to connect with those who have gone before them.
“In four years these [freshmen] students will become alums,” she said. “You are an alum much longer than being a student. … Even though the alums are in a different generation, … they are connected in common goals and belief.”
Each year BYU chooses a founder to honor during the week because of contributions he or she has made to BYU. The 2013 founder, George H. Brimhall, attended the Brigham Young Academy and later served as president of the university for 17 years—beginning in 1904, just after the academy became a university in 1903.
During two evening performances, the BYU Spectacular show kept with the week’s theme by honoring the lives of several alumni who, despite great adversity, were able to succeed. Also included in that performance was guest artist and BYU alum Nathan Pacheco joining some of BYU’s performing groups—the Young Ambassadors, Living Legends, Women’s Chorus, Wind Symphony, and the Cougarettes.
“It was different this year,” Sister Winters said. “I’ve been here for nearly 30 years, and it was different this year. They always do a good show, but this year they put together a smashing show.”
Other activities on campus were held during the week and included games, musical performances, theater presentations, food, a kids run, a parade, dances, and lectures. This year’s parade grand marshals, Raymond E. Beckham and his wife, Janette Beckham, former Young Women general president, were chosen because of their interaction with BYU over many years. They were a few of the many alumni recognized for their work in various fields and communities around the world.
To top off all of the homecoming activities and events, the week ended with a win for the BYU football team against Georgia Tech.