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The Daily Wildcat

 

Homecoming: ‘A’ Mountain lighting kicks off Homecoming

Layla+Nicks+%2F++The+Daily+Wildcat%0A%0AStudents+and+alumni+gather+atop+Main+Gate+Garage+to+celebrate+and+watch+the+lighting+of+A+mountain+Sunday.+This+tradition+marks+the+start+of+homecoming+week.
Layla Nicks
Layla Nicks / The Daily Wildcat Students and alumni gather atop Main Gate Garage to celebrate and watch the lighting of A mountain Sunday. This tradition marks the start of homecoming week.

 The 100th Homecoming celebration week kicked off with tradition and pride as the Tucson and UA community came together to watch the annual tradition of lighting “A” Mountain.

The University of Arizona Alumni Association hosted a tailgate celebration on top of Main Gate Parking Garage on Sunday. Students, families, faculty and alumni were joined by UA cheerleaders, the UA pep band, alumni band and Wilma and Wilbur Wildcat to enjoy food and drinks.

Sentinel Peak, more commonly known as “A” Mountain, has annually been white-washed or lit up for years by the Bobcat Senior Honorary. However, this is the third year that Student Alumni Ambassadors have hosted a tailgate in honor of this tradition. 

Melinda Burke, president of the alumni association, said their celebration centers around tradition.

“This is a low-key and easy way to launch our Homecoming week, but it’s also a great bit of tradition,” Burke said. “We see the ‘A’ on ‘A’ Mountain, and it’s a real symbol of the longstanding history of this university in this region. So lighting the ‘A’ and drawing attention to ‘A’ Mountain is a way to say this is the start of a great week.”

Burke said a university engineering student and football player came up with the idea of “A” Mountain in 1916. It only cost $400 to move all the rocks up to the mountain, paint and everything else included. Since then, the “A” had been repainted every year and now is set on fire every Homecoming. They used to burn the “A” to clear off brush for the new coat of paint, but now, for safety reasons, they light flares so nothing catches on fire.

Burke also said one of the great things about Homecoming is that it’s multigenerational.

Dana Dobbins, the SAA adviser at the alumni association, said she likes the traditions celebrated at the lighting of “A” Mountain.

“It’s a great way for students, alumni and community members to all come together and celebrate one of our UA traditions,” Burke said.

Dobbins said there were about 450 people at the lighting of “A” Mountain.

“Tonight, I think we had more students than we’ve had before, which is kind of fun,” Burke added.

Robbie Guilford, a criminal justice freshman and SAA member, said he helped set up the event and enjoyed seeing all the people show up for the lighting.

“I just think that the students do a great job at putting on this event and that really wouldn’t be possible without the support of all our community members and the Alumni Association staff,” Dobbins said. “I just hope that more people are ready for Homecoming 100 this year.”

Homecoming is an event that brings new and old Wildcats together to celebrate traditions, participate in activities and show their Wildcat spirit.

It connects current students with alumni to build the idea of being a Wildcat for life,” Dobbins said. “Wildcats don’t slide on anything; they always put their 100 percent in.”
Which is perfect for celebrating 100 years of Homecoming, UA pride and Wildcat traditions.

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Follow Chastity Laskey on Twitter.

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