Sep 25, 2023

The enduring traditions of FHSU Homecoming

Posted Sep 25, 2023 9:45 AM
File photo
File photo

FHSU Alumni

Like many beloved traditions at Fort Hays State University, its annual homecoming celebrations can bring back memories and nostalgia. The final week of September, FHSU will welcome back generations of alumni and friends during Homecoming 2023, including the Class of 1973, who will celebrate their 50th reunion. Many of these alums can’t wait to start the weekend’s events with the annual Tiger bonfire.

The Class of 1973 will be inducted into Fort Hays State University’s Half Century Club this year. Seniors at Fort Hays Kansas State College, as it was known then, spent their final homecoming as students attending the annual events, beginning with the bonfire. As they basked in the warmth and laughed with friends, they knew they were creating memories that would last a lifetime.  

That weekend, the Class of 1973 cheered as classmate Laura Pugh was crowned queen and comforted each other when the Tigers walked away from a loss to Washburn during the annual football game. They rode in floats, dunked classmates as a club fundraiser, and shared traditional Volga German food at Oktoberfest. They said goodbye a few months later, some goodbyes that would last longer than others. This fall, the class will reunite and share their stories of Homecomings past with a new generation.

Homecoming 2023 will kick off with the Tiger bonfire on Thursday, September 28. Mixing time-tested traditions and new flair, students, alumni, and friends can cozy up to the fire, enjoy menu items from local food trucks, cheer on this year’s Homecoming King and Queen candidates, and snap a selfie with Victor E. Tiger. The bonfire, setting the tone for decades of unforgettable weekends, should earn a place on every Homecoming attendee’s schedule.

One alum especially looking forward to joining his classmates this Homecoming is Class of 1973 host Denis Miller. While he expects much has changed in his friends’ lives in the past 50 years, he looks forward to catching up.

Miller resides in Phillipsburg, Kansas, where he serves as a partner and certified public accountant at Mapes and Miller. Though he worked through many Homecomings as a student in the FHSU business office, he always enjoyed basketball games in the Sheridan Coliseum “snake pit.” Seats in the 2,000-capacity coliseum were hard to come by in those days, but Miller, already at work in the building, would let his then-girlfriend, now wife, Sue, in through the back door to reserve space in the front row for the couple and their friends to sit and enjoy the games. Although Miller is not generally nostalgic, thinking of his time at Fort Hays State always brings a smile to his face.

“Homecoming is an ideal opportunity to unite alumni and the community and celebrate Fort Hays State. No matter how frequently you visit campus, it’s a chance to reconnect and see what’s new,” Miller said.

Homecoming weekend from Thursday, September 28 through Saturday, September 30, has plenty of fun in store for those returning to campus.

Visit for a full schedule of events. Please note that several events require advanced registration prior to Wednesday, September 20, by visiting

For questions or additional information, contact the FHSU Alumni Office at 785-628-4430 or [email protected].