As the tradition keepers of MU, the Mizzou Alumni Association and its student board help to uphold a multitude of traditions to promote the spirit of MU, including encouraging alumni to return to Columbia for Homecoming.
MAA is a network of alumni and staff that promotes the best interests of MU and its alumni worldwide. In encouraging alumni to return to campus and holding events, especially during Homecoming, MAA works to build a strong connection with MU graduates.
For the second year, MU selected notable alumni to name to the Mizzou Homecoming Hall of Fame, which honors “high-achieving alumni who have exhibited excellence in their chosen field,” according to MAA’s website.
Former Missouri basketball coach Norm Stewart is one of this year’s inductees recognized by MAA. As the namesake of Mizzou Arena’s Norm Stewart Court, Stewart led the basketball team to 16 NCAA Tournament appearances during his 32-year tenure, including two Elite Eight appearances.
The second inductee to the Hall of Fame is married couple Andrew and Peggy Cherng, who each earned graduate degrees from MU in the early 1970s. Peggy went on to earn a PhD in 1974. The duo founded Panda Restaurant Group, which is the parent company of Panda Inn, Panda Express and Hibachi-San. Forbes named the company one of America’s best employers.
In addition to being honored by MAA throughout Homecoming weekend, Stewart and the Cherngs will act as the annual Homecoming parade’s grand marshals, according to the Alumni Association’s website.
According to Aly Friend, MAA coordinator of alumni and student programs and Homecoming Steering Committee adviser, 20,000 to 30,000 alumni, students and family members attend Homecoming events, whether it be the football game or the blood drive.
“Between sharing stories and experiences from alumni, as well as paying attention to old traditions and finding ways to make them new and exciting, Homecoming is fun then for everyone,” Friend said.
MAA works with the Alumni Association Student Board, a team of student representatives that serves as the connection between MU students and MAA.
“My favorite part about AASB is being surrounded by individuals who share the same sense of pride and passion for Mizzou,” sophomore AASB member Derrek Hardy said. “It is safe to say that we all bleed black and gold and strive to better our campus every single day.”
Together, MAA and AASB work to uphold MU traditions, including the endeavours and events surrounding Homecoming.
As one of the most prominent traditions of MU, Homecoming began in 1911 when Chester Brewer, MU athletic director and football coach, invited alumni to return home for the annual football game against the University of Kansas.
Annual Homecoming events include a football game, blood drive, parade, talent competition, tailgates and much more. This year, MU football will face the University of Idaho on Saturday, Oct. 21, keeping Brewer’s original invitation open for alumni to come home.
“The football game is my favorite because it does not matter whether we win or lose the game, the crowd always stays until the end of the game to sing the Alma Mater together,” Hardy said. “It shows how strong the Mizzou family and tradition is.”
Edited by Brooke Collier | firstname.lastname@example.org