Groups of Queen's alumni began to gather at the University for informal reunions in the late 19th century, usually only with members of their own graduating year.
The first official reunion was held the third weekend of November 1926 and attended by 870 graduates representing the classes of 1874 to 1926. Although technically scheduled for the entire week, most of the alumni attended only the weekend events. This included the football game that was held on Saturday, November 13 between Queen’s and the University of Toronto, which Queen’s won 3-1. It was at this first official alumni reunion that the Alumni Association was formed, thanks to a unanimous vote by those graduates in attendance.
In the early years of the 20th century, these gatherings were organized to match the football schedule and soon, large numbers of alumni from all years began to gather in Kingston on the weekend each fall when Queen's was scheduled to play its traditional rival, the University of Toronto Blues.
The first reunion occupied a whole week, but the occasion was subsequently reduced to a weekend of activities. The occasion was known as "Reunion Weekend" until students adopted the term "Homecoming" in the 1950s. Classes are invited back to campus every five years to celebrate their reunions.
The weekend is one of the most anticipated events on the Queen's calendar; however, it has been marred by rowdy behaviour. In recent years, the focus of the weekend has reverted to reunions and other campus activities, and in 2009, Homecoming was suspended and “Spring Reunion,” a weekend of special events, was introduced. Spring Reunion is jointly organized by the Department of Alumni Relations along with various University departments, schools, and student groups.
Homecoming returned in the fall of 2013. Over two weekends, nearly one hundred classes and groups held a reunion event at Homecoming, which brought back about 2400 registered participants (plus spouses and kids!) back to campus – including 400 Tricolour Guard members (classes of 1939 to 1963) – and introduced new programming for the 25th anniversary group (Cha Gheill Society).
Learn more about Homecoming...