Homecoming at North Carolina Central University is more than just a good time. It is also a boon for the City of Durham and area businesses. The weeklong celebration is estimated to bring more than $1.2 million into Durham. “Not only does that help our local businesses,” said Shelly Green, president and CEO of the Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau (DCVB), “but it will also mean an extra $31,800 in tax revenue for local governments.”
It is estimated that 27,400 students, faculty, staff and Durham-area alumni will attend events during this year’s Homecoming. An additional 6,976 visitors will travel from outside the region to the Bull City for Homecoming, with 1,875 of them staying at least one night in the city. “The impact of NCCU’s Homecoming on Durham is substantial,” Green said.
NCCU has held its annual Homecoming every fall since 1937. Over the years, there have been several changes to the celebration. Gone are the bonfires behind what was then Latham Residence Hall on Lawson Street and mock funerals for the rival school’s mascot the day before the big game. New traditions include a late-night breakfast in W.G. Pearson Cafeteria and block parties on Brant Street Plaza.
Despite the many changes, the one constant in the 75 years of NCCU Homecomings is football. Last year more than 9,000 people filled O’Kelly–Riddick Stadium to cheer on the Eagles. The Eagles are currently 5 and 3, with four wins and just a single loss against MEAC opponents.
On Friday, Nov. 2, NCCU will honor Dr. James E. Shepard, who opened the doors of what is now NCCU in 1910, with a Founder’s Day program at 9 a.m. in the McDougald – McLendon Gym. The annual Homecoming parade will take place along Fayetteville Street on Saturday morning at 9 a.m. Additional events planned for this weekend include a comedy show with comedian J. Anthony Brown of the Tom Joyner Morning Show on Friday and a Homecoming Extravaganza on Saturday. Both events will take place at the Sheraton Imperial Hotel. Information on NCCU’s homecoming can be found at www.nccu.edu/homecoming