Skip to main content

In a momentous matchup, Northwestern football will play Howard

Homecoming features first-ever football game against a historically Black college or university
The Northwestern Wildcats host their Homecoming game Oct. 7 at Ryan Field against Howard. Getty Images

When Northwestern alumni return to campus this week for Homecoming, they’ll get a special treat as the Wildcats take on Howard University, one of the nation’s largest historically Black colleges and universities (HBCU).

The Oct. 7 football game at Ryan Field marks Northwestern’s first ever against an HBCU. Along with the slate of traditional activities, Northwestern also will host Howard’s Showtime Marching Band.

The two universities have similar-sized student populations. Howard, established in 1867, is located in the Shaw neighborhood of Washington, D.C. Its list of notable alumni includes Vice President Kamala Harris, actress Phylicia Rashad, late author Toni Morrison and late actor Chadwick Boseman.

Homecoming and Reunion Weekend highlights

Northwestern’s Homecoming and Reunion Weekend runs Thursday, Oct. 5, to Sunday, Oct. 8. All alumni are invited back to the Evanston campus for events and festivities. Undergraduate classes ending in 3s and 8s, as well as the Class of 2022, will celebrate their reunions this year.

Highlights on Thursday and Friday include campus tours; NU Performs, showcasing student performances from Northwestern’s music, dance and theater programs; NU Live, where accomplished alumni share their personal stories; and Lunch with a Professor, where alumni can chat with favorite faculty current and emeritus.

Also on Friday, President Michael Schill will host the President’s Alumni Panel: My Northwestern Direction, a discussion with this year’s Northwestern Alumni Medalists — recipients of the Northwestern Alumni Association’s highest honor — about how the University shaped their lives and careers. The event begins at 1:45 p.m. and will be available via livestream.

On Saturday, Wildcat Alley tailgating will open at 11 a.m. outside Ryan Field. The football game will kick off at 2 p.m. There’s still time to purchase tickets at After the game, the Northwestern University Black Alumni Association (NUBAA) will host guests from Howard at their homecoming party at the Wilson Club in Welsh-Ryan Arena.

For more information and the complete schedule of Homecoming and Reunion Weekend events, visit the Northwestern Alumni website.