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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Alumni Association shows Wildcat Pride

Courtesy Melinda Burke
Melinda Burke is the President of the UA Alumni Association. Her organization is behind much of the planning for Homecoming week activites.

The University of Arizona is ready to celebrate its 105th Homecoming Week and the UA Alumni Association wants to show what it means to be a Wildcat.

Homecoming Week has been in the planning stages ever since the UA Athletics Department finalized the football schedule, and the UAAA is excited to show off the culmination of such work, according to Lisa Valentine, the director of Alumni Travel and Signature Events for the UAAA.

The point of Homecoming, according to Valentine, is to connect past alumni with current students, giving both parties an opportunity for nostalgia and motivation to move forward.

“Homecoming is the one time during the year that we welcome our alumni back to celebrate history and tradition at the UA,” said Melinda Burke, president of the UAAA.

RELATED: An overview of the events for Homecoming Week 2019

This year, the UAAA is preparing Homecoming Week for the 50th reunion of the UA class of 1969. Though Homecoming has certainly changed since then, there are never many changes to the Homecoming itinerary from year to year, according to Valentine, because the idea is to hold true to tradition and enjoy the game.

“The Alumni Association tries to be pretty consistent because every year different people come back,” Valentine said. “We don’t have too many new things, too many changes just because we like to be consistent so people are comfortable.”

The week will kick off with the annual lighting of Sentinel Peak on Oct. 27.

The lighting of “A” Mountain is Valentine’s favorite event because she could see the lights from her house long before she became involved with the UAAA.

“I used to go up on the roof of my house and watch it light up,” Valentine said.

These days, Valentine loves to meet other alumni who bring their kids to campus to see the festivities.

RELATED:  The UA’s Recent Alumni maintain school pride after graduation

Rebecca Determan, a recent alumna and project specialist at the UAAA, expressed that the UA has provided her a good education to challenge the real world.

“It is a life-long commitment to be a Wildcat for life, and I feel thus I have been prepared for a prosperous future with my education here at the UA,” Determan said.

Homecoming is a celebration of pride, tradition, and spirit where UA students, staff, and alumni celebrate what it means to be a Wildcat for Life.

According to Burke, being a Wildcat means not being afraid of a challenge. To be a Wildcat is to “work hard” and “play hard.” It means to be willing to do the work to be the best one can possibly be and still enjoy themselves while doing that work.

“We look forward to hosting many thousands of our alumni back to campus and we hope they enjoy everything there is to enjoy during the weekend,” Burke said.

This year, don’t miss the lighting of Sentinel Peak on Oct. 27, the Alumni of the Year Award ceremony on Oct. 31, the annual bonfire and crowning of the Homecoming King and Queen on Nov. 1, the Wildcat for Life Tailgate Party on Nov. 2 and — of course — the Homecoming Parade and Arizona vs. Oregon State Football Game on Nov. 2.

For more information about the schedule and register for events, please visit the website of the Alumni Association at

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