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ECSU HOMECOMING ADDS NEW TWISTS TO LONGSTANDING TRADITION
Katie Murray
June 21, 2012

Elizabeth City State University It's the best of both worlds at this year's Viking Homecoming, taking place Friday, October 12th, through Sunday, October 21st, 2012. During the 66th annual Homecoming celebration, coordinators plan to showcase the deep-rooted tradition of the university and its traditional Homecoming events, while adding a fresh spin to this year's festivities.

Most notable this year will be a series of pre-homecoming events happening the weekend before Homecoming. The ECSU Foundation Golf Classic, traditionally taking place in Elizabeth City, will now be the first event in a 10-day series and will take place at the Lonnie Poole Golf Course at NC State University on Friday, October 12, 2012. This event will be hosted by the Raleigh-Durham-Wake Alumni Chapter of the ECSU National Alumni Association, Inc. Back on campus, 89.9 WRVS-FM will host a fundraising concert and food drive Saturday evening. This new event, a fundraiser for the university's radio station, will feature R&B musicians and a canned food drive for the Food Bank of the Albemarle.

Wednesday, October 17th, will provide a new addition to the Homecoming line-up. In partnership with the ECSU Lyceum Series, an annual series which brings national performing artists to the stage of the Floyd L Robinson Auditorium, homecoming coordinators are planning a Gospel Concert which will showcase a nationally known gospel group or artist. While artists are still being discussed, both Homecoming and Lyceum coordinators are confident that this will be a much welcomed addition to the university's schedule of Homecoming events.

ECSU is also in the process of increasing its community outreach efforts for Homecoming 2012. While events such as the Homecoming Parade and football game are traditionally well-supported by the community, organizers hope to involve community members in more of the school's offerings, as well as implement volunteerism and service through university groups. In an effort to incorporate new ideas from non-university community leaders, a representative of the Elizabeth City Chamber of Commerce, as well as Elizabeth City Convention and Visitors Bureau Board Member Andy Montero will be serving as planning committee members. "We felt that it was important to look beyond the confines of the University for new ideas in an effort to get our surrounding communities more involved," states Chancellor Willie J. Gilchrist. "ECSU Homecoming brings thousands of people into town every year, and has a major impact on the local economy, but we want to know how we can better involve the people who live here year-round."

The Viking Homecoming Parade is one of the largest events to take place during Homecoming and includes thousands of community participants and spectators. With increased growth has come a need for increased organization, and this year's parade will require an official registration application. Organizers are confident that this year's changes will result in a better parade experience for participants, and will allow for more opportunities to enhance the parade in future years. This year's parade Grand Marshal is Julia Congleton-Bryant, a graduate of ECSU, Class of 1963. A native of Rocky Mount, NC, Mrs. Congleton-Bryant is currently chairperson of the Down East Viking Football Classic committee.

The theme this year is It's All The Way L.I.V.E (Living In the Viking Experience). As always, Viking Homecoming will offer a wide variety of events for all ages. All events are open to the public, with highlights including the Step Show, Block Party, Alumni Cabaret, Comedy Show and Concert featuring national recording artists. At this year's football game, the Mighty Vikings will take on the Hawks of Chowan University, following the Homecoming parade. Both the game and parade will showcase the new Sound of Class Marching Band, under the leadership of Tomisha Brock, ECSU's new director of bands.

Parade applicants and vendors are currently being accepted and community sponsorships are now available. Please visit www.ecsuhomecoming.com for more information or contact Rhonda M. Hayes, Homecoming Chair at (252) 335-3103.

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