LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas Alumni Association and the student-led Homecoming Steering Committee have named the KU Alumni Band as the winner of this year’s Rich and Judy Billings Spirit of 1912 Award. The annual award recognizes special contributions to KU’s Homecoming celebration, which celebrates its centennial this year.
The KU Alumni Band was chosen in gratitude for its yearly performance during Homecoming and its long-standing involvement with the tradition.
The Spirit of 1912 award commemorates the first year of KU’s Homecoming and honors Rich and Judy Billings of Lakewood, Colo., who in 2011 created an endowment to fund future editions of Homecoming. Last fall the Billingses, both 1957 KU graduates, returned to Lawrence for their 54th consecutive KU Homecoming. During this year’s centennial Homecoming celebration, events will run from Oct. 21 to 27, ending with the KU-Texas football game Oct. 27.
“The KU Alumni Band has taken part in the Homecoming celebration since the 1950s, and its long, storied tradition epitomizes the spirit of Homecoming,” said Caitlin Wise, Homecoming Steering Committee adviser and student programs coordinator for the KU Alumni Association. “There was no one person or group more fitting to receive the Spirit of 1912 award than the KU Alumni Band during KU’s 100th Homecoming.”
The KU Homecoming Steering Committee coordinates the annual tradition, working with the Alumni Association to encourage student involvement and promote events to alumni throughout the world. This year’s Homecoming Steering Committee director is Matt Araiza, a Plano, Texas, senior.