Minnesota State University, Mankato President Richard Davenport announced today that the University’s annual Homecoming week, originally scheduled for today (Monday, Sept. 28) through Saturday, Oct. 3, will be replaced with “Spirit Month” this year because of the pandemic.

Davenport said the University would celebrate “Spirit Month” from Sept. 28 through Oct. 29, with student activities scheduled throughout the month.

This is the first year Minnesota State Mankato will not hold a traditional fall Homecoming since 1943, when Homecoming was postponed to February 1944 because of World War II.

“Homecoming week, just like commencement, is a Minnesota State Mankato campus tradition that cannot be replaced,” said Davenport. “But we must continue to remain vigilant in doing everything possible to keep our students and campus community safe during the pandemic. We will certainly miss our traditional Homecoming week. But Homecoming is about far more than any particular event.

“It is really about school spirit, developing and renewing friendships and creating memories that will last a lifetime. This year we encourage our students, alumni and employees to reach out to each other and celebrate our ‘Maverick spirit’ throughout the coming month. We want everyone to have fun, laugh and enjoy the planned activities while being safe.”

Spirit Month activities for current students are being planned to ensure social distancing and safety. Some of the planned activities include an Oct. 1 free drive-through farmers market, an Oct. 6-7 sidewalk chalk drawing by a street artist, an Oct. 10 kickball tournament, online royalty voting, an Oct. 13 food-eating contest in Ostrander Auditorium and Oct. 29 lip sync event. A full list of student activities will be published here.

The University’s Department of Intercollegiate Athletics is holding a “virtual sellout of Blakeslee Stadium in honor of the Homecoming football game.” The virtual sellout event provides opportunities for fans and participants to purchase “virtual tickets” and be entered into drawings to win apparel gift certificates, tailgate spots for the 2021 football season and more.

More information on Spirit Month activities is available here.

Minnesota State Mankato’s Homecoming has been in existence since 1928, when the University was known as Mankato State Teachers College. The school’s first Homecoming included a pep rally, bonfire, a parade with 30 floats, and a football game against Rochester Junior College, which Mankato State Teachers College won by a 13-0 score. There was a dance held after the game in the library.

Homecoming week offers students and alumni a way to display their pride and school spirit. Homecoming also allows the greater Mankato community a chance to learn about the university and take part in the celebrations.

Minnesota State Mankato, a comprehensive university with 14,297 students, is part of the Minnesota State system, which includes 30 colleges and seven universities.