SRU’s homecoming celebration, Oct. 8-12


Homecoming is October 11, 2019

Sept. 23, 2019

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. — "Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, and children of all ages - marvel at all that you see at the circ ... err, wait ... Slippery Rock University Homecoming!"

However, unlike the lions or tigers one would see under the big top, this year's homecoming event will prove one thing is for sure: "Rock Pride Cannot Be Tamed."

Just ask the Offices of Alumni Engagement and Student Engagement and Leadership, which are charged with planning the October Homecoming and Reunion Weekend.

"There isn't another time during the year where Rock Pride is in bigger supply than during homecoming," said Kelly Bailey, director of alumni engagement. "The entire campus is bursting with school pride and school spirit. I can't think of a better or more appropriate theme."

The University Homecoming Committee, which is comprised of student and staff representatives from across the University, developed the theme according to Lauren Moran, director of student engagement and leadership

"They came up with the idea in the spring and we followed it up with a brainstorming session that put the circus spin on it," Moran said. "It's nice to see the increase of student involvement in the planning of the events for the weekend. They are much more involved with every passing year, have taken ownership and are driving the programming of the week. It's fun to see."

And while there may be not be any clowns, elephants or acrobats during the weeklong Oct. 8-12 celebration, there will be plenty of activities to entertain and thrill attendees just the same.

In addition to traditional homecoming favorites such as the parade, tailgating tents, fireworks, the naming of homecoming royalty, a dinner honoring the Class of 1969 and the crown jewel of the weekend - Rock football versus Indiana University of Pennsylvania at 2 p.m. at Mihalik-Thompson Stadium - a number of newer homecoming activities will be featured.

Included among those events are:
Spirit Board Painting: 3-6 p.m., Oct. 8. Student clubs and organizations will paint SRU-themed and homecoming messages on 3' x 4' boards that will be displayed in The Quad throughout the entire week. A committee comprised of faculty and staff will judge the boards with the top three vote earners winning prizes.
Operation GLOW: 8-10 p.m., Oct. 10. This unique event will begin and end at the Smith Student Center parking lot near the SGA Bookstore. It will kick off with a one-mile run/walk where participants will collect glow sticks and glow paint along the route with which to "decorate" their bodies. In addition to a post run/walk dance party complete with a DJ, "glow foam cannons" will douse participants in, you guessed it, glowing foam before, during and after the run/walk. This event is free and open to all students, faculty and staff. Registration is required and available on CORE. All those registered prior to the event will receive a free T-shirt while supplies last.
Fireworks Watch Party and Bonfire: 9 p.m., Oct. 11. SRU will light up the night with a special pyrotechnics display followed by a traditional homecoming bonfire at Old Thompson Field.
"Rock the Block" Tailgate Festival: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Oct. 11 at the Scarnati Band Field. This event is geared toward getting the crowd primed for game time with a carnival games, food, prizes, mini golf, inflatables, giveaways and a live DJ. This event is staged adjacent to and in conjunction with the Alumni Association's Alumni Tailgate Tent.

"Putting 'Rock the Block' and the alumni tent next to one another - and sharing a DJ - is about further building that SRU sense of community," said Bailey. "We're excited to give it a try and see how it goes. Having alumni and current students together in one space should increase the enjoyment for everyone and create an even bigger buzz and celebratory atmosphere."

The hashtag, #sruHOCO19, has been created for use on social media posts to help promote the event.

"We're hoping to have some actual circus-style performers involved in the parade," said Moran. "We for sure will have a stilt walker, but there is potential for us to incorporate a few more things to further tie it all together. Stay tuned."

Other special events scheduled for the weekend include the: Distinguished Alumni Awards Dinner at 5 p.m., Oct. 11 in the Russell Wright Alumni House and Conference Center; the SRU Media Hall of Fame Ceremony at 6 p.m., Oct. 11 in the Smith Student Center Ballroom. A homecoming pep rally at 8 p.m., Oct. 11 at Old Thompson Field will feature the announcement of the 2019 Homecoming Royalty; performances by the Marching Pride, the SRU cheerleaders and dance team; and a pre-game speech from Shawn Lutz, SRU head football coach.

Homecoming events begin Oct. 8 with "Paint the Town." Students will paint the windows of downtown Slippery Rock businesses on Main Street with colorful designs to welcome alumni home; and will continue through "Polish the Rock" at noon, Oct. 12. In between, more than 30 events will be staged to engage and excite the SRU faithful.

The annual homecoming parade begins at 10 a.m., Oct. 12, travelling along Main Street. The Marching Pride, student organizations, alumni groups and President Behre will participate.

The crown jewel of the day - Rock football versus IUP - will kick off at 2 p.m. at Mihalik-Thompson Stadium and will be televised on the Rock Athletics Digital Network, which is available at

SRU's homecoming royalty will be introduced during halftime of the game.

Following the football game, a 5th quarter reunion alumni party will be offered from 4:30-6 p.m. at the Smith Student Center Theater. Cost is $10 per person. Advance registration is requested but not required.

The Class of 1969 and Golden Grad Club members will gather for dinner at 6 p.m. in the Alumni House.

The weekend will conclude Oct. 13 with "ROCK the ARC" from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. that provides free access to the Aebersold Student Recreation Center for alumni, family and friends; a women's field hockey game versus East Stroudsburg at noon at Mihalik-Thompson Stadium; and "Polish the Rock," also at noon, along Main Street in downtown Slippery Rock.

For a complete list of all Homecoming and Reunion Weekend events, visit:

MEDIA CONTACT: Robb King | 724.738.2199 |