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100 years a homecoming: DSU’s homecoming game to kick off Centennial

Dickinson State's upcoming Homecoming game will kick off their centennial celebrations, leading up to the event proper in 2018. (Iain Woessner/The Dickinson)

Dickinson State University will kick off the start of a year-long dash toward its 2018 centennial at this weekend's homecoming football game against Waldorf, the highlight of a weekend filled with banquets, tailgating, parades—and plenty of school spirit.

"It's important to the students, it's a great welcome to them," said Alicia Erickson, DSU director of alumni relations. "It's a great way for them to feel that close-knit connection."

Homecoming is a time that holds great nostalgia for alumni and graduates, and Erickson said she enjoys the opportunity to invite alumni to visit the school outside of its summer break, when the vibrant atmosphere that they remember is in full swing.

"A lot of alumni like to come back, catch a football game, be able to see what is going on at DSU, be able to visit with former professors, former coaches, because they're not on contract in summer months," Erickson said.

The centennial itself will be celebrated twice in 2018, with a summertime centennial celebration during Roughrider Days 2018 and a second, all-athlete reunion during next year's homecoming. It all begins at halftime on Saturday with the presentation of the official Centennial Flag.

Of course, the big game isn't the only reason to come out to DSU. Several events are scheduled in the coming days for alumni, honorees and the general public. First, there is a banquet at the Dickinson Elks Lodge at 5:30 p.m. this evening. The banquet honors alumni fellows and honorees chosen by each of the school's academic departments. Awards will also be given out, such as the Blue Feather and Young Hawk Awards. Tickets are $30 and are available via the Office of Alumni Relations.

Friday night will be an evening of song and sport, with the Athletic Hall of Fame banquet honoring individuals and teams who achieved great feats as Blue Hawks. This year's honorees include Funda Alaskin-Sinani, who excelled in volleyball; Kevin McElvaney, who did double duty in football and track; and the entire 2000 DSU wrestling team. This event will be at the Astoria Hotel, with a social beginning at 5 p.m. Guests are asked to RSVP and may do so by contacting Mandie Erickson at 701-260-9931 or Alicia Erickson at 701-483-2557.

The music department will keep the night lively by presenting a concert at Stickney Auditorium at 7 p.m. This concert, $5 for adults and $2 for seniors, will feature new takes on folk and pop tunes, African folk songs and much more. Alumni and children can attend free, and tickets are available at the door or online at dsuarts.com.

The Tim Sigl '78 5k Moustache Dash starts at 8 a.m. on Saturday at the Biesot Activities Center. There is a $10 registration fee for the family event. The temperatures may be low, but Erickson said this year's Hawaiian theme will surely help keep spirits and internal temperatures high.

"With the theme of 'Alohawks,' it's going to be really fitting. It's going to make you think happy thoughts ... it'll take you to Hawaii even if it's a little chilly."

The homecoming parade will be at 10 a.m. on Saturday, followed by tailgating at the Ag Department parking lot near the football stadium. The Hawaiian theme will extend to the food and drink available (for free!) and Erickson hinted that at least one person will be doing a proper pig roast. It's a great way to participate in what Erickson said is her favorite aspect of the homecoming season.

"(I love) seeing the whole community come together to show their blue and gray pride," she said. "It doesn't matter if they attended Dickinson State ... everyone just comes together to show their Blue Hawk spirit."

There'll be a parade of honorees and the crowning of homecoming royalty during the football game's halftime ceremony. After the game, there will be a postgame social at Liquid Assets, a local bar located behind JD's BBQ.

If that's all not enough, the seventh annual Pancake Karnival is planned Sunday morning at the Biesiot Activities Center located at 398 State Ave. It begins at 8 a.m and is sponsored by the Dickinson Rotary Club.

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