HUNTINGTON — Marshall University is preparing for homecoming week, which university officials say will include a “momentous” announcement during the first half of the football game on Oct. 26.
Marshall will welcome thousands of alumni, family and friends back to the Huntington campus for what the university is calling one of the largest homecoming celebrations in the university’s history beginning Monday, Oct. 21, and culminating with the crowning of royalty at halftime during the football game against Western Kentucky University (WKU) set for 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 26.
This year’s theme, Marshall and Beyond, celebrates the past, present and future of Marshall and the upward trajectory of the university and will be highlighted by a major announcement during the first half of the homecoming game against WKU, according to university officials. The theme also will accompany dozens of activities throughout the week, including the annual parade, bonfire, Picnic on the Plaza, Homecoming Stampede 5K, Marshall Family Tailgate, Herd Madness and more.
“This year’s homecoming promises to be one of the largest and most electrifying this university has ever seen as we take a look back at the history of Marshall University to current expansion projects and into the future,” said Matt Hayes, executive director of alumni relations. “This is an exceptionally special time to be a part of this university as Marshall continues to rise in local and national recognition, and we welcome all alumni and friends of Marshall University to attend as many homecoming activities as their schedules will allow.
“We especially want everyone at The Joan on game day for a momentous announcement during the game. This game-changing announcement will impact the university in profound ways and everyone is invited to be there for this historic occasion.”
This year’s homecoming co-grand marshals are Bob Lang and Gary Ray, both graduates of Marshall. Lang and Ray are retired NASA engineers who have both enjoyed distinguished careers in the field, heading up major programs from the Apollo missions to the space shuttle program. They will serve in the role at the annual Homecoming Parade and several activities throughout the week, further showcasing the Marshall and Beyond theme.
Some of the highlights of this year’s homecoming include:
- Office Decorating: All Week. Campus offices are encouraged to decorate using the Marshall and Beyond theme. Judging will take place on Thursday, Oct. 24, and prizes will be awarded at the Picnic on the Plaza on Friday, Oct. 25.
- Unity Walk: 4 p.m., Monday, Oct. 21. The Marshall community will gather at the Rec Center for a unifying walk around campus. The Homecoming Court will be announced on the Memorial Student Center plaza following the walk.
- Marshall Artists Series: “The Ultimate Queen Celebration” with Marc Martel will take place at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 22, and “An Evening with Johnny Bench” will take place at 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 24, both at the Keith Albee Performing Arts Center.
- Herd Madness: 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 22. This event celebrates the first night of Thundering Herd basketball practice at the Henderson Center.
- Marshall Homecoming Parade: 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 24. Organized by the university’s Student Government Association, the annual parade will begin at 6:30 p.m. on 4th Avenue at 10th Street and travel east to Hal Greer Boulevard, where it will move up to 5th Avenue and continue east to 17th Street at Harless Dining Hall. This year’s Homecoming Parade will feature a new livestream broadcast and a guest appearance by Johnny Bench.
- Pep Rally and Bonfire: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 24. A bonfire and pep rally are scheduled to take place on Harless Field, located between Harless Dining Hall and City National Bank, immediately following the parade. The pep rally will feature Head Football Coach Doc Holliday, members of the Thundering Herd football team, the Marching Thunder, cheerleaders, dance team and team mascot Marco.
- Picnic on the Plaza: 11:30 a.m. Friday, Oct. 25. Free food and music highlight the annual Picnic on the Plaza celebration, presented by Ohio Valley Bank and the Marshall University Alumni Association. The event is open and free to all alumni, students, faculty and staff.
- Pride Gala: 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 25. For the second year, this gala will be held in the Don Morris Room with proceeds from ticket sales to benefit the Diversity, Equality and Inclusion Student Scholarship. Learn more by visiting www.marshall.edu/diversity/gala.
- Homecoming Stampede 5K: 8 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 26. Presented by Ohio Valley Bank and the Marshall University Alumni Association, the Stampede 5K will feature a campus-focused run/walk with awards for multiple age groups.
- Marshall Family Tailgate: 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 26. This is Marshall’s biggest tailgate party. Presented by Ohio Valley Bank, this tailgate brings together current students and alumni on Harless Field and features food, drinks, music and special guest appearances. Tickets are $10.
- Thundering Herd vs. WKU: 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 26. Marshall battles rival Western Kentucky University in a crucial Conference USA matchup at Joan C. Edwards Stadium. A fireworks display will take place during the game with a special announcement by university leadership.
Campus events are sponsored by the Marshall University Alumni Association, Student Government Association, Office of Student Activities, Office of Intercultural Affairs, Marshall Athletics, University Communications and various campus affiliates.