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Originally Submitted by: Emily Perry, Drake University, Dec. 14, 2010.

Maury John lectures Iowa State squad during March 18, 1971 game. Photo from The Des Moines Register

The tradition of Homecoming at Drake University used to be something comparable to relays. Throughout the years, Drake has experienced activities ranging from dances, tug-of-war, and even a campus kegger. With the drop of student participation in festivities and events, homecoming at Drake has currently dwindled down to merely a football game and window painting, but the old traditions help make the Drake's history something that alumni will remember forever.


The homecoming football game has always been a big crowd-drawer to students, alumni, and bulldog fans alike. Traditionally, before the game there is a large student-wide tailgate. With the termination of the homecoming pep-ralley, which used to be another Drake tradition, the King and Queen are announced at the game during halftime, watching the marching band performance. With the home-field advantage and the fan support, homecoming football games are always something remembered most by students. In 1926, Babe Ruth visited and played some scrimmage with the team.

King and Queen Nominations

Martin Erlichman escorts canine Puck IX on stage to compete with Marge Voltmer for homecoming queen.

Drake University's homecoming week used to include a pep rally and convocation where the king and queen used to be announced. Now in days, the king and queen are nominated and voted by the student body. Prior to 1939, the homecoming queen was chosen by the football team, and the captain of the football team was crowned king. The queen would ride on a float in the Homecoming parade, surrounded by attendants that were chosen by the sorority and fraternity that sold the most tickets to the homecoming dance. At the bonfire BBQ, the homecoming queen would make her debut and the captain of the football team would give speech. In 1973, Drake University took away voting for homecoming court, and there was no queen announced that year. This was in response to the lack of participation in voting in previous years. It was brought back by popular demand the next year. In 1949, the first male contestant was nominated for homecoming queen; a Boston Terrier named Puck XI, who was later named an honorary candidate.

Past Events

=Greek house decorating

Something looked forward to every year was the house decorating contest. Greek street was decked out in displays which represented the theme of the year. Each fraternity and sorority would spend hours hanging lights, posters, and other items to decorate their house. The event turned into a friendly competition, and the winners would win a cup to display in their house. Off campus houses could also participate in this event.

1949's men of SAE with the cup they won for house decorating.


Students and faculty members alike would challenge one another in the campus-wide tug of war tournament. Once over the reflection pond, teams consisting 10 people would stand on either side of the pond, and would try to focus on pulling one another into the water. This event was not only for members of greek life, but teams from the residence halls as well as teams of professors would participate too.

Parents of the year

Along with the crowning of the homecoming king and queen, parents of a current Drake student would be crowned as the "parents of the year." Many of these parents were Drake alumni, and held special ties to the school. This even helped include the alumni as well as parents into the rush of the homecoming celebration.

"Yell like hell!"

Every year students gather around the bonfire at the Hubble field by Herriot. Teams would yell an original cheer, competing against others to see who has the most school spirit. The Drake cheerleaders were the judges. This happens all around the homecoming bonfire.

1987 "Yell like hell!"


Starting on greek street, members of the homecoming committee went from house to house gathering students to make a chain. The chain of students traveled all over campus, hitting each residence hall and eventually ending at the bonfire in Hubble field.

Works Cited

  • 1. Brock, T. (1990). The day babe ruth played some football. Los Angeles Times, Retrieved from <http://articles.latimes.com/1990-09-21/sports/sp-523_1_day-babe-ruth>.
  • 2. Coopers named parents of year. (1969, October 24).Times-Delphic, p. 7.
  • 3. Display awards: dz, sae, kpsi kappa, aepi spooks take 1st. (1963, November 5). Times-Delphic, p. 1.
  • 4. Kesinger, David. (1969, October 24). A barbeque is now a concert. The Times-Delphic, p. 2.
  • 5. The Quax. (1989).
  • 6.Tug-o-war, rally, thursday. (1968, October 18). Times-Delphic, p. 3.