Celebrating 110 years of Student Journalism

A History of Homecoming

DREW BLUETHMANN|STAFF WRITER

Where are the buses full of women that upperclassmen promised you on your first visit to Wabash?  Wabash Men were wondering the same thing in the fall of 2009. However, buses full of women from St. Mary’s College in South Bend, IN, an all-women college, arrived on the morning of the Homecoming Football Game to spend the day on campus.   

Wabash busing women to campus is an isolated story within the long and extensive history of homecoming—a story thought to be complete myth. This year The Bachelor is taking a new look at the history of Homecoming, some of it well known, some of it dusted off from the archives. 

The highlight of every homecoming week is Chapel Sing.  Since 1970, Sigma Chi has dominated the Chapel Sing Contest. Sigma Chi Freshmen have won the contest thirty times in the last forty-eight years (winning percentage of 0.625).  The two houses closest to Sigma Chi since 1970 is Delt and Phi Psi, both with four wins each. 

The evolution of the modern Homecoming Contest is as follows, according to the Sphinx Club Archives.  Beginning in 1930, the Sphinx Club presented the Loving Cup to the fraternity judged to have the best homecoming decorations.  The Sphinx Club awarding the Loving Cup was one of the only formal Homecoming contests besides Chapel Sing for most of Homecoming’s history.  The tradition of Homecoming-decorating is still carried on in the Float Contest.   

During World War II, many of the traditions of Wabash faded to the background.  In October 1946, the Sphinx Club and Senior Council revived the traditions lost to World War II, including Homecoming.  In October 1970, the student senate transferred judging authority from the Senior Counsel to the Sphinx Club. In October 1975, The Sphinx Club began planning Homecoming activities for the Student Body, and homecoming began to take its modern form. 

In October 1996, The Sphinx club revived the Alma Mater Singing competition for Chapel Sing where the top five freshmen classes did a second round of singing, but with Alma Mater instead of Old Wabash.  In that same year, Sig Chi would win its 3rd straight Chapel Sing. 

The Sphinx Club organized a student dance on the night of homecoming for most of the 50s, 60s, and 70s. The Student Senate “ordered” the Sphinx Club to bring women to campus for the annual homecoming event.  Homecoming has evolved. However, two aspects of it have not. Wabash takes its decorating seriously and Wallies want women on campus for the Homecoming festivities.