Homecoming 2024 is bigger, better than ever for 60th anniversary

by | Feb 19, 2024

This year's celebration spans two weeks and includes a mix of classic activities and new events such as a campus talent show.
Jalen Walker-Wright, Elijah McCoy and Yuli Perez

The homecoming staff (from back to front) Jalen Walker-Wright, senior business administration major; Elijah McCoy, coordinator of student activities in the Office of Student Involvement; and Yuli Perez, junior biology major, worked for months with the Homecoming Planning Committee to organize this year’s festivities. (Photo by Derik Holtmann)

Homecoming looks a little different at the University of Missouri–St. Louis this year. Eagle-eyed Tritons might have noticed a few more events on the schedule than usual.

“We are celebrating UMSL’s 60th, and it’s going to be bigger and better than ever,” said Elijah McCoy, homecoming advisor and coordinator of student activities in the Office of Student Involvement.

In honor of the university’s 60th anniversary, the time-honored tradition is twice the size of previous celebrations. McCoy and the Homecoming Planning Committee organized two weeks’ worth of festivities from Feb. 19 to March 2. The slate of events includes classic homecoming activities such as the Chili Feed ­and Pack the Stands but also features new experiences such as Tritons Got Talent and the Triton Treat-Off. The fortnight’s theme is, “The Golden Legacy: Celebrating 60 Years of UMSL.”

“We wanted to hone in on gold being one of UMSL’s pillar colors, and it also being the 60th,” McCoy said. “Then we wanted it to be royal-inspired, like ‘Bridgerton.’”

Expanding the annual celebration from one week to two weeks has been a significant undertaking. McCoy has spearheaded the planning, which began around the beginning of October. Over the past few months, he’s been supported by the student homecoming co-chairs, senior Jalen Walker-Wright and junior Yuli Perez.

Walker-Wright has been serving as McCoy’s programming and engagement intern, as well as acting as a University Program Board chair, and Perez has been working for McCoy as his student program manager for student activities. Both were eager to step into leadership roles on the homecoming staff, with Perez heading the homecoming royalty subcommittee, and Walker-Wright leading the marketing and events subcommittee.

“I enjoy event planning,” Walker-Wright said. “I’m already on UPB, so I thought, ‘Let’s see if I can handle a different type of dynamic.’”

Prior to the royalty application deadline at the end of January, Perez organized tabling and advertising efforts to drive interest in the homecoming court. She also helped to create the royalty packet with information for applicants and has worked with the candidates since their selection. They include sophomore Joe Bacal, senior Nicholas Michael Clark, senior Elizabeth Keyster, senior Jaiyana “Jay” King, junior Cole McWilliams, sophomore Shaniyah Sparkling, junior Traymon Thomas and junior Annika Tiede.

Meanwhile, Walker-Wright created graphics and videos and utilized social media to promote this year’s events. In addition to content creation, he also coordinated with McCoy on the logistics of each event.

McCoy said juggling the details of all the events has been one of the key challenges.

“I think the challenge is coordinating the logistics, especially when you’re looking at a calendar full of 12 programs,” he said. “I think the excitement comes in realizing all the hard work that we have put into it is slowly but surely coming to fruition, and we get to bring some joy to campus.”

Members of the UMSL community can expect to enjoy familiar events like the Chili Feed on Feb. 22 and the Homecoming Breakfast on Feb. 24. At the Chili Feed, faculty members from departments across campus will compete to see whose recipe wins the Golden Ladle Award. Tiny Tritons will host the breakfast, where children of faculty, staff and students can enjoy a stack of traditional pancakes or pancake art created by Dancakes.

“I’m looking forward to seeing all the kids and having all the activities for them that morning,” Perez said. “Hopefully, I’ll be awake by the time of the dance that night.”

Walker-Wright added that those attending the Homecoming Dance on Feb. 24 will have an opportunity to be crowned best dressed, while Perez highlighted Pack the Stands on Feb. 29.

“I personally want the whole UMSL community to be excited for Pack the Stands because that’s where we’ll crown our homecoming royalty candidates,” she said. “That’s really exciting. There will even be a red carpet on the court.”

As for new events, the homecoming staff is particularly excited about Tritons Got Talent on Feb. 26. The show will put a spotlight on the talents and creativity of 10 acts from across campus. Walker-Wright said the idea to host a talent show was inspired by a lip-synching competition the university held several years ago.

“We had so many applicants to audition,” he said. “We had singers, dancers, actors. I’m really excited to see it take place. It’s going to be amazing. It’s going to be great. I think the UMSL community is going to enjoy it.”

Perez is excited to see how all the work behind the scenes comes together during the next two weeks.

“This year, being so deep into all the planning and knowing what’s going on, I’m excited for myself,” she said. “I’m excited for other students to also experience this. I hope that people do come to the events because, to me, everything’s so exciting. I’m just really looking forward to seeing how everything turns out.”

Walker-Wright said it will be a once-in-a-lifetime celebration people won’t want to miss.

“The UMSL community will never get a 60th anniversary homecoming ever again,” he said. “With the events that we’re planning, they’ve never seen it before. It creates that suspense, that excitement.”

See the events calendar:


Burk Krohe

Burk Krohe