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In response to feedback from alumni, Homecoming 2018 at Eastern Kentucky University will feature a few schedule twists.

For instance, the annual Homecoming Parade will begin at 6 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 19, instead of its usual Saturday morning slot.

Dan McBride, interim vice president for development and alumni relations, explained that the change was made because many alumni have expressed a desire to have more time for tailgating and for tours of a campus that has changed considerably in recent years.

“With the parade on Saturday morning, we were very limited on time for tours, open houses and other events on campus before the football game,” McBride said. “Moving the parade allows us to open the tailgating lot at 9 a.m. on Saturday like we do for other home football games, and it frees up Saturday morning for campus tours, residence hall open houses and opportunities to mingle with student groups our alumni were affiliated with.”

“Having the parade on Friday will also help us continue to expand the Homecoming experience beyond just a one-day event,” McBride added. “We hope that by having the parade and a town-and-gown tailgate on Friday, alumni will be encouraged to come to campus earlier and spend more time celebrating with us.”

The Homecoming Parade will coincide with the Town-and-Gown Tailgate, which will begin at 5 p.m. The Homecoming Run will continue to take place on Saturday morning.

This fall, the alumni awards banquet will be moved from its Friday night slot to Saturday, Oct. 20, at 9:30 a.m. But that’s not the only change. The event will now be known as the J.W. “Spider” Thurman Alumni Awards and Pioneer Brunch in honor of Thurman, a standout student-athlete, two-time graduate and long-time administrator at Eastern. Thurman, who passed away in 2015, served from 1962 to 1983 as his alma mater’s first permanent director of alumni affairs.

“Spider was such an inspirational leader of the alumni office for many years and was as true a Colonel as anyone has ever been,” McBride said. “To honor his memory and legacy at an event where we honor the best and brightest of our alumni could not be any more appropriate.”

For the first time, Homecoming will have sponsors. The parade is sponsored by Bluegrass Hearing Clinic, the Homecoming run by Soft Shoe, and the awards brunch by Richmond Tourism. “These sponsorships help us offset the expenses of Homecoming and provide a savings to the University,” McBride said.

The Homecoming football game, at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 20, will pit the Colonels against visiting Murray State University.

More Homecoming information can be found at Additional details will be announced this fall.