ECU 2019 homecoming parade

Roary the Tiger mascot gives out high fives to kids on the East Central University Homecoming Parade route Saturday on Main Street in Ada.

After a year’s absence, East Central University’s fun-filled Homecoming celebration is roaring back to life.

The ECU Homecoming 2021 theme is “Going for the Gold” and the events calendar is stuffed with activities for Friday and Saturday, September 17-18. The most recent Homecoming event was in 2019; it was cancelled in 2020 due to the coronavirus.

“Even though it was only gone for a year, we are thrilled to restore Homecoming to its rightful place as the pinnacle of ECU tradition,” said Dr. Katricia Pierson, ECU president. “Everyone is invited to come participate in all the fun activities, on and off campus, and to the football game Saturday evening. We are ready to celebrate the past, present and future of ECU.”

Highlights for the Homecoming weekend include the annual ECU Alumni Association’s Golf Tournament on Friday, September 17, at Oak Hills Golf and Country Club in Ada. Check-in and lunch begin at 11 a.m. with a 1 p.m. tee time. All spots have been filled for the golf tournament so registration for this event is now closed.

Most activities occur Saturday, September 18, kicking off at 10 a.m. with the annual Golden Tiger Brunch in the ECU Foundation Hall inside the Chickasaw Business and Conference Center. This event is geared toward those who graduated from, or attended, ECU 50-plus years ago. This year, the Classes of 1970 and 1971 will be honored.

Perhaps the most popular event, aside from the football game itself, is the annual Homecoming Parade in downtown Ada. The parade begins at noon and travels east along Main Street, ending at the ECU campus. To participate in the Homecoming parade, please visit ecok.edu/parade2021 or call 580-559-5207. Registration for the parade closes at 5 p.m. Tuesday, September 14.

After the parade, in Ada’s historic Wintersmith Park, there will be free Kiwanis Kiddie Park activities from 2-6 p.m.

On campus Saturday there will be a celebration of the life and legacy of Mr. O.W. Lee, the first African American faculty member in the English and Languages department. Mr. Lee taught from 1970 to 1976. The event begins at 2:30 p.m. in Faust Hall, Room 147, and is being hosted by ECU’s Black Alumni Association.

Tailgating festivities begin at 4 p.m. on the Koi Ishto Stadium lawn, which is just north of the field. The game kicks off at 6 p.m. with the Tigers hosting Southern Nazarene University.

At halftime of the game, Richard Brown will be recognized with the prestigious Milam Award, presented annually at Homecoming to a former ECU football player who distinguished himself in his life and career. Brown will also serve as Grand Marshal of the parade and festivities.

Brown has worked as a D-1 college football official since 1993, initially working in the Big 8 Conference and later the Big 12. He is currently serving as a replay booth official. Brown was an All-Conference Offensive Lineman at ECU from 1978 to 1982.

ECU students will also be busy with their own traditions leading up to Homecoming weekend, including a dodgeball tournament on Wednesday, a pep rally and bonfire on Thursday, and parade and Homecoming Court (king and queen) preparations all week long.

Homecoming 2021 T-shirts are available for $10 each and may be purchased at the Sterling Williams Center on campus during Homecoming Week from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., beginning Monday, September 13. For a list of activities, please visit ecok.edu/Homecoming2021.

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