Thorobreds gather in Frankfort, Ky., from near and far every year for Kentucky State University’s Homecoming Weekend. In the crowd at the football game and at the parties, there are always some familiar faces who return year after year and have watched the celebration grow and change for decades.
Frazier Curry says he’s 71 years old, so he’s probably attended 71 Homecomings at KSU. His father graduated from KSU in 1936; his mother graduated in 1948, and most of his relatives went to KSU. Curry was a wee child when he attended his first KSU Homecoming.
“I remember them from about 1950 on, and that means I was about 7 or 8 years old,” Curry says.
Donald Lyons, the executive secretary and treasurer of the KSU Foundation, graduated in 1968 and has attended more than 50 consecutive Homecoming celebrations. Lyons says the 1986 Homecoming was one of his favorites. The university recognized outstanding alumni as part of the centennial celebration. He was not one of the alumni recognized during that Homecoming, but Lyons says he was overwhelmed watching former students who had once clowned around in residence halls return as successful, mature adults.
Tava Clay has attended all but one Homecoming since her graduation in 1971.
“We plan all year to see one another at Homecoming,” Clay says. “We connect by email and phone calls, but we see each other on Homecoming, and that keeps us connected throughout the year.”
Clay and some of her family and friends have hosted alumni in a tailgating tent for about 25 years. But her favorite event is the Old School Jam.
“When we started the Old School Jam, we really didn’t have a lot going on,” Clay says. “But it has progressed to one of the major Homecoming events.”
Lyons says a lot of the festivities have evolved and expanded. Homecoming used to be mostly restricted to the campus, but it is now a community party, he says. The parade, for example, used to be restricted to campus but is now held in downtown Frankfort. The step show, now held at the Frankfort Convention Center, used to be held outdoors on campus. There was also a Homecoming Dance for alumni at Bell Gym.
Despite how times have changed, Lyons says he has always enjoyed returning to his Thorobred family.
“For me, each one has been great,” he says.
Curry recalls a lot of change occurring after Homecoming participants were allowed to stay in Frankfort hotels.
“After we had hotel accommodations, that changed the whole flair,” Curry says. “That meant more comradeship, more people getting together to have fun because you had a gathering place.”
Curry says it’s important that alumni know what’s happening on campus and learn enough about what’s going on to share the university’s success stories.
“I think the KSU campus is one of the prettiest campuses around,” Curry says. “They should come back to see the progress, and to see where it is now.”
For more information about Homecoming events and to purchase a Homecoming package, call (502) 597-6511 or click on this link.