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NOVEMBER 2009        RSSPrint PrintEller College on Facebook FacebookPrint Twitter     

Eller Connections
Homecoming 2009: Celebrating 50 Years of Wilbur Wildcat — with Photo Gallery

Eller College tent at UA Homecoming. Click to view photo gallery.
Homecoming 2009 at the Eller College tent on
UA mall.
Click the image above to view the photo gallery,
which opens in a new window.

Photo by Simmons Buntin.

On November 7, students, faculty, alumni, and friends gathered on the UA mall for Homecoming 2009. There was tailgating, reconnecting at College tents, food, the annual parade, and, of course, football: the Wildcats topped the Washington State Cougars 48-7.

The Eller College and Wilbur Wildcat share a 10-year milestone this year.  The College was named for Karl Eller in 1999 — the same year that Eller alum Kirk Sibley graduated.  Sibley was Wilbur from 1996 to 1999.

“Homecoming is the highlight of my year, every year and has been since I left,” he says. “I had to pay my way through college so getting to go to UA was something I really wanted to do. I had this real strong passion as a student to enjoy UA and be involved in something great, and getting to be mascot fit the bill. If I was going to pay my way through college I was getting the full experience!”

Sibley still feels a strong connection to his alma mater. “Homecoming is the weekend I look forward to the most every year. It's a time where I can go to my old departments, see friends, reconnect with people, put the mascot suit on for the football game, and just enjoy being back on campus.”

Eller alum Kirk Sibley receives recognition at half-
Eller alum Kirk Sibley receives recognition at half-
time for serving as Wilbur when he was a student.

Click the image above to view the photo gallery,
which opens in a new window.

Photo courtesy Kirk Sibley.

Wilbur’s 50th anniversary made this year’s Homecoming special. “It's celebrating a tradition that only a handful of students have been part of since the University started,” Sibley says. “Being mascot is often a thankless job, with lots of sweat, long hours, dedication, and involvement on and off campus. Those of us who have been mascot will never say they did the job for personal praise or glorification, but for overwhelming love of the school and community.”

Sibley is one of several Eller students who have had the chance to be Wilbur over the years. “Having old Wilburs come back made it feel more like a family reunion,” he says.

Still, he points out that when the Wildcats took such a commanding lead against WSU in the football game, the crowd cleared faster than he’d have liked. “I have seen games where we are up in the first half and get blown out during the second half,” he says. “When fans leave, they leave their team and take the support with them.  Still, we did a fantastic job of taking down the Cougars, and it was great to be back in costume for the game during the second half.”

View the UA and Eller College Homecoming 2009 Photo Gallery now >>

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