Wildcats reunite for UArizona Homecoming

pride of arizona marching band outside old main

The Pride of Arizona marching band, as well as Wilma and Wilbur T. Wildcat, and the full Homecoming court will attend the annual bonfire outside Old Main at 7 p.m. on Oct. 28.

Chris Richards/University of Arizona

The University of Arizona will welcome Wildcats past and present for Homecoming festivities, this year themed "Ever Wild." Thousands of alumni, friends and community members are expected to attend the celebrations Thursday through Saturday, which include signature events – such as the Wildcat for Life Tailgate –  that are free and open to the public.

Homecoming commences with the Lighting of "A" Mountain and builds to the football team's matchup with the University of Southern California at Arizona Stadium at 4 p.m. Saturday. The game will be televised on the Pac-12 Network.

"The Bobcats Senior Honorary hosts the tradition of the Lighting of 'A' Mountain to kick off Homecoming festivities and welcome all Wildcats, alumni, family and friends coming back to the University of Arizona to relive memories, connect with old friends and celebrate Homecoming traditions," said Marc Acuña, Bobcats adviser and senior director of alumni and student engagement at UArizona.

In addition to the lighting, events Thursday night include a reunion mixer for the class of 1972 and members of the Silver and Sage Society – alumni who graduated more than 50 years ago. Friday's programming includes college-hosted breakfasts and receptions, tours of the Student Success District, discounted admission for alumni to the Alfie Norville Gem and Mineral Museum, and the annual bonfire and crowning of Homecoming royalty.

The bonfire and royalty crowning will begin with a march from Main Gate Square on University Boulevard – where the weekly Bear Down Friday pep rally takes place – to the fountain at Old Main. The bonfire will take place outside Old Main after the crowning. The Pride of Arizona marching band, Wilma and Wilbur T. Wildcat, and the full Homecoming court will attend.

Saturday's pre-game slate centers on the Wildcat for Life Tailgate, including stage performances by students in the College of Fine Arts. Dance and musical theater students will perform, respectively, to Michael Jackson's megahit "Thriller" and to contemporary rock, while the School of Art will showcase work in stop-motion and 2D animation. The fundraising total from the 50th-reunion class gift will also be announced.

The Pride of Arizona marching band, competitive cheer team and campus multicultural clubs – the UA Black Alumni Club, the American Indian Alumni Club, the UA Hispanic Alumni Club and the Asian American Faculty, Student and Alumni Club – will also take the stage. The American Indian Alumni Club performance will invite consideration of the university's land-grant status, while Grupo Folklórico Miztontli, the university's only folklórico student dance group, will represent UA Hispanic Alumni Club.

The tailgate will start at 11 a.m. on the University of Arizona Mall, with food and tents as well as games and activities offered by colleges and programs such as Camp Wildcat and Arizona Online. Main stage performances will begin at noon.

Also on Saturday are the grand opening of the Coit Museum of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, a maker party for all ages at CATalyst Studios in the Main Library, and a Chemistry Club "magic" show fostering interest in science, among other opportunities to reflect on and celebrate the campus community.  

"Homecoming always reminds us what it means to be a Wildcat, and I cannot wait to see friends and family come together for this year's events," said John-Paul Roczniak, vice president of Philanthropy and Alumni Engagement at UArizona. "I am especially excited to watch the football team embrace the challenge of taking on a talented and deep opponent in USC."

A full schedule of events is available on the Homecoming website.

The Alumni of the Year Awards ceremony, held for the past several years during Homecoming, will take place on Feb. 3, 2023. The list of honorees selected by the University of Arizona Alumni Advisory Council is available on the Alumni Association website. 

Featured events

  • Lighting of 'A' Mountain at MSA Annex, 267 South Avenida del Convento, Oct. 27, 5 p.m.
  • Bear Down Friday pep rally at Main Gate Square, Oct. 28, 4 p.m.           
  • Bonfire and royalty crowning at Old Main fountain, Oct. 28, 7 p.m.
  • Wildcat for Life Tailgate on the University of Arizona Mall, Oct. 29, 11 a.m.
  • Arizona Wildcats vs. USC Trojans at Arizona Stadium, Oct. 29, 4 p.m.

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