Games > Homecoming
A long-established tradition in other colleges, Homecoming was not part of Columbia's traditions until 1948. Columbians had Alumni Day, established in 1908, which was held every year on Lincoln's birthday (February 12) because it was the "only business holiday in the year when alumni can visit their Alma Mater." Alumni would come back to campus and could join classes. In fact, the planners of Alumni Day created it because they wanted to find an occasion other than football games for alumni to return to campus.
In October 1948 "an innovation in Columbia social life" was introduced. The event was planned jointly by the Columbia College students and the Alumni Federation. The first weekend-long Homecoming celebration started on Friday night with a Father-Son dinner followed by a pep rally with a bonfire on the Van-Am Quad. On Saturday morning, there were games and carnival booths set up on the baseball field. President Dwight Eisenhower, his installation as University President just a few days earlier, addressed the alumni before a picnic lunch (with free beer). After the Penn-Columbia game at Baker Field, a formal Homecoming Ball was given in honor of President and Mrs. Eisenhower.