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University of Missouri

Making Our Home

Alumni reflect on Homecoming.

students looking at house dec

Students watch the assembling of a house decoration at the corner of Rollins Street and Tiger Avenue during the 2006 Homecoming week. Photo by Rob Hill.

Nothing makes memories quite like Homecoming, and as you’ll see from this issue’s special section of stories, this year should be no different. But like a favorite book, Homecoming memories can hold different meanings at different stages of life. These alumni shared their favorite Homecoming memories and what they mean to them.

Pam Oberdiek, Bus ’84
Platte City, Missouri
Data management director for Hallmark Cards Inc.

The thing I remember most was my freshman year working on house decs. At the end we had this huge celebration, dancing on the lawn to the song “Celebrate.” Being a first‐generation college student, I went to Mizzou knowing almost no one. That night gave me a sense of belonging. I want to preserve that tradition so future students can have those same kinds of feelings.

Gay Ragan, PhD ’00
Springfield, Missouri
Math professor at Missouri State University

Homecoming has always been a favorite memory, but Homecoming 2015 is going to be even more special. My husband, Kent Ragan [PhD ’00], and I were in graduate school at Mizzou when our daughter was born. She attended her first basketball game and had her picture taken with Truman when she was 1 month old. She attended her first Homecoming and, of course, house decs, when she was 3 years old. We took her from house to house in Greektown in her stroller. Genny will be an incoming freshman this fall. When my husband and I attend Homecoming and see her making her very own Mizzou Homecoming memories, it will be very special for us.

Marnie Matthews, BHS ’12
Loan specialist for Veterans United Home Loans

My favorite Mizzou Homecoming memory, and honestly my greatest memory from college, was when we beat No. 1 University of Oklahoma. I was a Mizzou cheerleader, so the whole week was filled with prepping for Homecoming, the parade and our first College GameDay. We were up early to film Saturday and then head to the parade. The day was packed with events for us, and it was a later game. That opening kickoff return for a touchdown by Gahn McGaffie [BGS ’12] set the mood for the whole game. The crowd was electric, and I had chills on the sideline. We beat them, and the fans rushed the field. That feeling is unforgettable.

Danielle Rubin Johnson, BS Ed ’00, M Ed ’01
English teacher in Columbia Public Schools

When I was a junior in college, I tore my meniscus and was struggling to maneuver around campus as I awaited surgery. I was pouty and decided I would skip house decs that year. When I got home from class that Friday, my roommates, Leia Brooks [BS Ed ’00, M Ed ’01] and Stacy Frick Dahm [BS BA ’00], had rented a wheelchair from a local pharmacy and decorated it with Mizzou gear. We went and had a blast and are still going to house decs together 16 years later with five kids in tow!

Adam M. Miller, BA ’07
St. Charles, Illinois
Associate attorney for Van Der Snick Law Firm, Ltd.

As a Mizzou graduate, I have always valued Homecoming as extra special. In 2011, I brought a few friends to the 100th Homecoming to show off just how special it is. Following a Mizzou victory, I officially started dating my female guest, Kelley. We have continued our yearly tradition at Homecoming ever since, and at Homecoming 2014, I proposed to my fiancée during a walk through campus. I was so nervous that I forgot our tickets to the game! Luckily, she said yes, and a friend managed to get the tickets to us in time for kickoff.

Next issue: Tell us how a scholarship or other act of giving benefitted you at Mizzou. Send to 201 Heinkel, Columbia, MO 65211, or