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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Tradition lives on with “A” Mountain lighting

    Alexander Plaumann
    Alexander Plaumann / The Daily Wildcat “A” mountain atop Sentinel Peak in Tucson, Ariz. on Wednesday.

    Homecoming is an event that Wildcats old and new look forward to each year, with the promise of tradition, activities and countless ways to showcase their Wildcat spirit. With the lighting of “A” Mountain — one of the UA’s oldest traditions — set for this weekend, students are kicking off the UA’s 99th annual Homecoming week.

    The lighting of “A” Mountain is a tradition stretching back to 1915, when students began lighting the “A” on fire as a symbol of pride in preparation for freshmen to whitewash it, said Kelley Prust, director of membership, marketing and interactive media for the Alumni Association.

    “It’s one of the oldest traditions here,” Prust said. ‘A’ Mountain is a symbol of our spirit here. It’s something that the students chose to do, that the students built.”

    The lighting of the “A” on “A” Mountain used to be exclusive to Bobcats Senior Honorary members, but last year, the Alumni Association and the Student Alumni Ambassadors decided to make a community event of the lighting. Now everyone is encouraged to participate in the viewing party, said Jessie Butler, an SAA Member and communications senior.

    “It’s a great kickoff event for those that are local to Tucson,” Butler said. “Students, alumni, friends — it’s a great way to get everyone together and start off Homecoming week.”

    The event will take place on the top floor of Main Gate Parking Garage and will include catering, a performance by the Pride of Arizona marching band, appearances by Wilbur and Wilma and a speech from Alumni Association President Melinda Burke, Prust said.

    The lighting of “A” Mountain resonates with many alumni, including Kellie Terhune Neely, the chair-elect for the UA Alumni Association Governing Board. Since graduating in the class of ’81, Terhune has attended the UA’s Homecoming every year.

    “I had an incredible student experience and a great education,” Terhune said, “and of course my experience is continuing as an alumni, which is why I’m so excited about Homecoming each year.”

    Terhune added that the lighting of “A” Mountain is the ultimate UA tradition for both alumni and current students, and Butler agreed that the event is the perfect way to kickoff Homecoming week.

    “I’m so passionate about wanting everyone to enjoy Homecoming, because it’s a tradition from freshman to senior year,” Butler said. “It’s something that you want to participate in. This is one of those events that you wait for all semester.”

    The lighting of “A” Mountain is set for Sunday at Sentinel Peak, and the watching party will begin at 5 p.m. on the top floor of Main Gate Garage. The event is free to the public.

    Follow Jessica Schrecker @JKSchrecker

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