Islanders Celebrate Traditions, New and Old, at Homecoming 2021

By Olivia Santos | Published: March 05, 2021

Islanders Celebrate Traditions, New and Old, at Homecoming 2021

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Following an unprecedented winter storm, Islander students, alumni, and fans alike joined together on Feb. 27, to celebrate Islander Homecoming 2021 during the annual Kleberg Classic at Whataburger Field. While many events were postponed and some were even canceled, Islanders persevered and pivoted plans to celebrate Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi’s homecoming traditions – new and old.

“While the COVID-19 pandemic and recent weather somewhat threw a wrench in our plans, there are so many traditions that are important to students, alumni, and the campus community,” Executive Director of Alumni Relations, Russell Wagner ’08, said. “We want to make sure we celebrated and kept those traditions alive. It took a team, and tonight is a testament to the hard work of a lot of people.”

Maria Rodriguez

On Saturday night, students, alumni, and the community took to the stands with unwavering Islander pride dressed in their best homecoming attire, as Islanders Baseball faced off against the University of Houston Cougars. While events like Anchors Aweigh and the traditional Homecoming Block Party were not a part of this year’s festivities, this year’s new traditions, such as a new ‘Shaka Search’ and all-inclusive Homecoming Court competition, were well received. Maria Rodriguez ’22, biomedical sciences major, took home the crown as the first “Homecoming Islander.”

“Our university strives to uphold high standards in all areas, and the replacement of our common king and queen terms is a big step to giving every Islander student an opportunity to participate in our important traditions,” Rodriguez said. “Being the first-ever Homecoming Islander is both humbling and heart-warming. I have seen our university grow in terms of inclusion by normalizing pronoun identifications and providing ever-more inclusive traditions and events. This honor will be a component of my legacy at A&M-CC, and I’m excited to see this title continue to be passed on in the coming years.”

Jordan BaylorFollowing the baseball game, the university held its annual “Lighting of the I,” and Whataburger sponsored a fantastic firework show. Communication major Jordan Baylor says he was thrilled to be able to come together in a safe and fun environment for Homecoming, even if it was just for one for one night.

“Homecoming is one of my favorite traditions; when it’s my time to leave the university, this will always be my home away from home. I found my identity here; I found my tribe here. This is the place that jump-started the rest of my life,” Baylor ’22 said. “This event is our chance to look at all we’ve been through this past year, to put it all out there, and look forward to a brighter future.”

Dr. Margaret Lara ’98, ’01, ’12, President of the Islander Alumni Association, says Homecoming is a special time for not only current Islander students, but alumni as well.

“Homecoming is such a wonderful way for Islander alumni to get together and really feel that sense of community the university brings to each of us,” Lara said.