The University of Montana Office of Alumni Relations will host a celebration Sunday, Oct. 4, to kick off UM Homecoming 2009 - a weeklong slate of fun and festive events for alumni and community members. The Homecoming theme this year is "Sweet Home Montana."
The public is invited to the Kick-Off Celebration from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Southgate Mall Clock Court. The event features an appearance by Monte the mascot and the UM Cheer Squad and Dance Team. Those present will have an opportunity to enter a drawing for the "Ultimate Homecoming Tailgate Party," which includes six tickets to the Homecoming game, and win other prizes. The event will be broadcast by 102.5 Mountain FM.
Among the first events on campus during Homecoming week will be a UM office and residence hall decorating contest Wednesday, Oct. 7, and a Homecoming buffet from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 8, at the Food Zoo, located in the Lommasson Center. The buffet is open to the public and costs $9.50.
The annual Homecoming Art Fair will take place from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday and Friday and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday in the University Center Atrium.
Fans can cheer on the Griz and head football coach Bobby Hauck at the annual Yell Night! Pep Rally on Wednesday. The event, which includes a bonfire, fireworks, the University’s traditional Singing on the Steps and lighting of the M, begins at 8 p.m. on the UM Oval.
The College of Education and Human Sciences will hold a grand opening for the Phyllis J. Washington Education Center from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 8. The new center is located between the Performing Arts and Radio/Television Center and the Social Science Building.
Friday and Saturday are filled with campus and community events before what promises to be an exciting Homecoming football game at 1:05 p.m. The Grizzlies take on Cal Poly at 1:05 p.m. Saturday in Washington-Grizzly Stadium.
Receptions and open houses that are free and open to the public will be held Friday around campus, and class reunions will take place during the weekend at various community and campus locations.
The College of Visual and Performing Arts will hold a reception from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Friday in the Performing Arts and Radio/Television Center lobby to celebrate the college’s name change from the School of Fine Arts. The college’s new dean, Stephen Kalm, will be at the event to meet UM alumni and friends. During the reception, two Esther England vocal enrichment and scholarship funds will be inaugurated.
"Gershwin & Friends," a benefit concert by mezzo soprano Michelle Berger for the Esther England funds, will take place from 7:30 to 9 p.m. Friday in the Music Recital Hall. Berger is a former voice student of Esther England’s and a 1971 UM alumna who has performed in operas in Switzerland, Austria and Spain. Tickets are $20 at the door.
UM’s 2009 Distinguished Alumni Awards will be presented at a ceremony beginning at 6 p.m. Friday in the University Center Ballroom. The public is invited to join in honoring this year’s award recipients: Leon Billings of Bethany Beach, Del.; William Veazey (awarded posthumously); and James Wylder of Great Falls.
The All-Alumni Social and Dance, which is open to the public, begins at 9 p.m. Friday at the Holiday Inn Missoula Downtown at the Park.
Saturday’s events begin with the annual Homecoming parade, which takes off from downtown Missoula’s Circle Square at 10 a.m. and then travels south on Higgins Avenue to University Avenue.
UM’s Ron Brunell, director of Residence Life, Mick Hanson, director of Financial Aid and Charlie Thorne, assistant to the vice president of Student Affairs, will serve as the 2009 parade marshals. Honorary Homecoming parade marshals are UM President George Dennison and his wife, Jane.
The Homecoming TV Tailgate will take place in the Adams Center East Auxiliary Gymnasium from 11 a.m. to the end of the Homecoming football game. The event is free and open to the public.
For a complete schedule of 2009 Homecoming events, call the UM Office of Alumni Relations at 406-243-5211 or go online to http://www.grizalum.org.