Alumni or not, WCU employees encouraged to participate in Homecoming week activities

Representatives of WCU’s Base Camp Cullowhee march down Sylva’s Main Street during the 2016 Homecoming parade.

About 24 percent of Western Carolina University employees holding permanent positions – that’s 363 members of the faculty and staff out of a total of just over 1,500 – have earned at least one degree at the university and thus have a built-in interest in upcoming Homecoming activities through their status as alumni.

But, the other 76 percent of the workforce also is encouraged to bring family members and join in the weeklong celebration, Homecoming organizers say.

For that matter, anyone who takes a shine to WCU is welcome to participate in Homecoming 2017, which is set for Monday, Oct. 23, through Sunday, Oct. 29. With a theme of “Catamount Proud,” activities will range from comedy and country music shows to the annual Homecoming parade, golf tournament and football game complete with the halftime crowning of the Homecoming king and queen.

Darius Jamal “D.J.” Williams and his friends on the WCU cheerleading squad celebrate after his announcement as Homecoming king in 2016.

Events will kick off Oct. 23 with a carnival for students featuring a Ferris wheel and and food from 4 to 9 p.m. on the lawn of A.K. Hinds University Center. The next day, Tuesday, Oct. 24, will include the annual Resident Student Association Hall-O-Ween event for local children up through fifth grade from 6 to 8 p.m. at Ramsey Regional Activity Center, plus a Homecoming Comedy Show set for 7 p.m. in the University Center Grandroom featuring comics Drew Lynch and Erin Jackson. Later in the week, on Thursday, Oct. 26, up-and-coming country stars Brett Young and Carly Pearce will perform in a concert beginning at 8 p.m. in the Ramsey Center.

Activities on Friday, Oct. 27, will tee off bright and early with “The Mutt” Catamount Football Golf Classic, which is named in honor of late WCU football coach Alphonso “Mutt” Degraffenreid. Play will take place at Laurel Ridge Country Club in Waynesville. Later that day, WCU’s annual Homecoming parade kicks off at 6:30 p.m. in downtown Sylva. Participants will include community and student floats, WCU’s cheerleaders and dance team, the Homecoming court and the university’s Pride of the Mountains Marching Band.

An action-packed Saturday, Oct. 28, features the Zombie 5-K Chase Race at 9 a.m., Chancellor’s Brunch and Alumni Awards event at 10 a.m., tailgating from noon until 3:30 p.m., the WCU football team’s game against Furman at 3:30 p.m. and the African-American Alumni Postgame Reception at 6:30 p.m. Homecoming activities will end on a musical note Oct. 29 with the Inspirational Choir’s annual Homecoming concert beginning at 2 p.m. in the UC Grandroom.

More information about all Homecoming activities, including details on signing up to participate, is available online by visiting and clicking on the event schedules for students and alumni.