President Worthen ‘takes flight’ at BYU’s Homecoming ceremonies


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One question on everyone’s mind at BYU’s Homecoming opening ceremonies was, “Can President Worthen still dunk a basketball?”

Cheers of shock and amazement erupted as President Kevin J Worthen acknowledged that he could. Those cheers turned to laughter as he stood and dunked on a children’s basketball hoop.

The Marriott Center hosted a variety of performances on Tuesday, Oct. 14, as Homecoming Week began. The kick-off introduced this year’s Homecoming theme, “Take Flight”.

The Cougar Marching Band set the event’s pace with its own rendition of “Hey Jude” by The Beatles. Students swayed their arms from side to side, phone flashlights in hand.

Matthew O. Richardson, BYU’s advancement vice president, then took to the stage as game show host for the Worthen family get-to-know-you quiz, “Wouldn’t you like to know?”

Sporting an “I love Kevin” t-shirt, President Richardson proceeded to pose quirky questions related to the Worthen family as they sat in the hot seat in front of a packed Marriott Center crowd. Among the Worthens’ newly discovered secrets were President Worthen’s affinity for pickles dipped in peanut butter and his abhorrence for cheese.

President and Sister Worthen encouraged students to get in the spirit of Homecoming, jokingly adding that they should enjoy festivities “after class, of course.”

Winners of the Brimhall Essay Contest were announced during the ceremony. The winner of the $1,500 grand prize, Kristina Smith, wrote about an interview she had with 103-year-old Aline Coleman Smith, founder of BYU’s modern dance program.

Special performances from the BYU’s Men’s Chorus and Contemporary Dance Theater were met with wild applause. Special appearances included Jeremy from “Studio C” and BYU Football’s head coach, Bronco Mendenhall. Mendenhall joked about Homecoming Week’s theme and BYU’s loss to Utah State. “This idea of taking flight is what I wanted to do when Taysom got hurt,” he said.

As the opening ceremonies ended in the Marriott Center, thousands waited in line at Brigham Square for pulled pork, hot dogs and music.

All other Homecoming Week activities can be found here.

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