Homecoming Weekend – Alumni can’t resist the lure of old friends, new football and tailgating

Oct 14, 2014 | Economic Development, Events

homecoming artworkAutumn in University City has long meant NASCAR fans, ‘Cue lovers and politicians. A new crowd will soon put its green and gold mark on fall fun – 10,000 UNC Charlotte alumni who’ll pack Jerry Richardson Stadium on Oct. 25, greet old friends, fill nearby pubs and perhaps, in due time, donate money to help future 49ers succeed, too.

“Homecoming Weekend is about much more than football,” says Lynne Wester, who oversees alumni events like the tailgating party and post-game Oktoberfest. “It’s about reuniting with people you had a good experience with. Football is the catalyst for us now, but it is just the tip of the iceberg.”

The magnetic lure of 49er football

Our growing university also has a growing group of alumni – 110,000 so far and adding about 6,000 more annually. The mission of the alumni association is to maintain strong bonds with graduates through activities such as networking events, travel programs, the annual Alumni Awards Banquet and, now football tailgating parties.

Ah, football. “It is probably the best way to get alumni back to campus,” Alumni Association Executive Director Jenny Jones says. And Homecoming Weekend is the best football event of the year. The alumni association is working hard to make the most of it.

“Last year we started things three months out. This year we started nine months out,” Wester says. “We have been advertising Homecoming since September, and we have an incredible team of volunteers.” All but one activity will take place on campus or nearby. The lone exception is the Young Alumni Chapter’s Friday night bar crawl in uptown, where many of the chapter’s members now live.

The biggest alumni tailgate party of the year will take place Saturday morning in Alumni Village, near Toby Creek. Alumni can return after the game for an Oktoberfest. “We expect to be at 1,000 or larger for both events,” Wester says – double last year’s number.

Among the crowd will be alumni Vickie and Gene Johnson, who two weeks ago announced that they have donated $2 million toward launching UNC Charlotte’s 150-member marching band. “Gene Johnson will speak about why they gave to the marching band,” Jones said. “It will be nice to have him there in person.”

events graphic

There's plenty to see and do on Homecoming Weekend

Support from University City businesses

Several area businesses are providing important support for Homecoming Weekend, as well.  Tim Wallace, a 49er alumnus and owner of the Wine Vault at University Place, will donate support for the tailgating tent. The Charlotte Hilton University Place is providing a block of rooms for alumni. Chick-fil-A at University Place will provide discount food trays on game day and donate a portion of the proceeds to the Alumni Association. The 360 Casual Italian Bistro will host a Homecoming After Party by the Black Alumni Chapter.

Jones is certain that many businesses near campus will benefit from the alumni flood on Homecoming Weekend. “There’s not any way now for us to judge the economic impact,” she says, “but when you bring 15,000 people to campus, they will stop for gas and go out to eat. I can’t imagine there will not be huge impact on game day, especially for Homecoming Weekend.”


Countdown to the big weekend is nearly over. Jones has become a student of weather. “The 15-day forecast says it will be 55 to 75. No clouds or rain at this time,” she says. By Homecoming Saturday, she jokes she’ll be checking the forecast “every five seconds.”

But if it rains on game day, the Alumni Association will be ready. The tailgating event and Oktoberfest will take place under a 10,000-square-foot white tent – with plastic sides that can roll down, just in case.

Homecoming event details

The 2014 Homecoming Game vs. James Madison University will kick off at noon Saturday, Oct. 25, in Jerry Richardson Stadium.

Visit https://Homecoming.uncc.edu/ and http://alumni.uncc.edu/connect/events/Homecoming-2014 for details of other Homecoming Weekend events, including Basketball Madness on Oct. 23; and the Festival of Lights Parade and Pep Rally on Friday evening, Oct. 24.


Receive Up to Date News

Receive Economic Development News

View Past Newsletters

View Post by Category

Press Releases

Meet Jordan Harris

This month, UCP welcomed Jordan Harris as the Director of Community Development and Outreach. With over a decade of community relations experience in various roles, most recently serving as the associate director of community relations at UNC Charlotte. In her new...

We’re Back…with a Vision!

University City Vision Plan – Connecting: People. Places. Nature. The growth and development being realized in University City is nothing short of transformational.  Major investments in transportation and mobility infrastructure, thousands of new rooftops, new...

University City launches Barton Creek Greenway Native Meadow

By Azania Herron University City Partners, University of North Carolina at Charlotte Botanical Gardens and North Carolina Native Plant Society have partnered to install Barton Creek Greenway Native Meadows, a community native plant project in University City. On April...

New Farmers Market to open Oct. 3 at University Place

University City Partners announces the opening of University City Farmers Market on Oct. 3 around the lake at The Shoppes at University Place. Shoppers will find fresh local produce, food preparation programs and live entertainment. Open every Saturday in October The...

University City Wine Fest to Offer Socially Distanced Activities

New This Year: Wine on the Water and a Boutique Dining Experience.  Greystar University City Wine Fest will return this fall at multiple locations around the lake and boardwalk at Shoppes at University Place. The fourth annual festival will take place from September...

Where Will They Play?

We need more parks now – YOU CAN HELP A crisis caused by Charlotte’s explosive growth and government inaction threatens one of the most important assets of every truly livable city – public parks.   A recent nationwide study revealed that Charlotte has the least...

Join us for an unforgettable holiday experience at the first-ever

UCity Lights Winter Celebration!

UCity Lights Festival Pictures


You have Successfully Subscribed!