Many HBCUs Welcome Back Homecoming After a Year of Cancellations

North Carolina’s A&T Blue and Gold Machine makes their way along the parade route.

This month, many historically Black colleges and universities are celebrating their biggest week of the year — homecoming — while signaling a return to in-person festivities following a year of coronavirus cancellations.

Many Black colleges say they’re more than ready to host alumni and watch the fun unfold with graduates and current students taking in the college experience.

“Through Covid, we learned the importance of social interactions, friendships and simple things that we took for granted,” said Marcia Taylor, executive director for alumni relations at Delaware State University.

But the coronavirus isn’t yet in the rearview mirror.

NBC News reported there have been more than 726,000 Covid-19 deaths nationwide and confirmed cases are increasing, which left HBCUs in a dilemma: Do they host homecoming this year, make it virtual for a second consecutive year or cancel?

For Black colleges, homecoming brings about a sense of nostalgia, or a place to relive fond memories, said Ty Couey, president of the National Historically Black Colleges and Universities Alumni Associations Foundation.

“It’s about trading old stories from years past and passing knowledge to the younger generation,” he said.

Many historically Black colleges opted to welcome back homecoming, in many cases with alumni, albeit in limited forms.

At Delaware State University, homecoming on Saturday will also coincide with the university’s 130th anniversary.

“We’re excited to have the opportunity to get together after coming out of the high period of Covid,” Taylor said. “Homecoming represents a family reunion. It’s a tight-knit community.”

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SOURCE: NBC News, Deon J. Hampton