Local alumni look forward to homecoming

Kristen Robinette grew up in Bowling Green and graduated from WKU. Robinette was a cheerleader and was involved in homecoming. “There was all kinds of stuff going on and we were involved in everything,” she said. She now owns a boutique on the square downtown. “I love Bowling Green,” she said. “It’s a great community, great place to own a business and start a family.”

Lillie Eastham

For WKU alumni that still live in Bowling Green, Homecoming week provides an opportunity to make new memories and reflect on old ones.

In 2014, Ashlea Shepherd and her husband, Todd Porter, had their first date at the Homecoming football game. Two years later, they returned to have their wedding at Van Meter Hall. Their reception was a tailgate, and they attended the game afterward.

Although Porter and Shepherd are both alumni, they never crossed paths while in school.

“If [he] would have seen me on campus, [he] would have been my husband a long time ago,” she said with a laugh.

This year, Shepherd and her husband plan to run out onto the field with the football team, in celebration of their first anniversary.

Shepherd’s first memory of Homecoming is working on floats as a freshman at the old Sigma Alpha Epsilon house, which burned down in 2005.

“This is a special place to be,” Shepherd said.

She and her husband live near WKU and make nightly walks together around campus. She remains active on campus by working as an adviser for her sorority, Chi Omega.

Bob Young, a local attorney who graduated in 1986, has turned WKU Homecoming into a family affair. Although Young attended law school in Louisville, he returned to Bowling Green after graduation.

“It’s home,” Young said, who moved to Bowling Green as a child.

While he worked three jobs to put himself through school, he still made time to participate in Homecoming activities with his fraternity, Lambda Chi Alpha, and he never missed a WKU football game.

Since then, he has kept up this tradition, now with his wife and four daughters.

“We have a great big tailgate for every football game,” Young said.

His oldest daughter graduated from WKU, and he currently has another daughter who is a junior at WKU. Young said his younger daughters go with him to the parade every year.

“They absolutely love it,” Young said.

Young said he remembers when WKU had half of a football stadium and said the entire football program has grown tremendously.

“The whole campus has just transformed,” Young said.

Kristen Robinette, a former cheerleader, remembers Homecoming on the Hill as a hectic time.

“It was eventful, needless to say,” Robinette said.

She had participated in Homecoming events as a member of Alpha Delta Pi along with her cheerleading duties.

Robinette initially moved to Nashville after graduation but returned to Bowling Green three years later to open Back Down South, a boutique located downtown.

“I love Bowling Green,” Robinette said. “It’s a great community.”

Robinette said she keeps the store open for Big Red’s Roar and although she is usually working during the game, she attends Homecoming events throughout the week.

“I think it’s a great event for the community, for the students,” Robinette said.

Even years after their graduation, local alumni still count Homecoming as a highlight of their year.

“There’s a reason we all stick around,” Shepard said. “It’s because it’s a great place.”

Reporter Lillie Eastham can be reached at 270-745-6011 or [email protected].