Letting The Gator Growl With Megan Harmon

Gator Growl may be the largest student-run pep rally in the nation, but only one student was the frontwoman for it all.

Megan Harmon, this year’s executive producer, was in the planning process every step of the way – and she has been for the past five years.

The homecoming event typically takes 11 months to plan, she said, so event organizers begin planning as early as December. Harmon has dedicated roughly 15-20 hours per week this fall, but she has been consistently involved with it since her freshman year.

The 23-year-old industrial systems engineering major said she was first familiar with Gator Growl because of her two older siblings. Even after she graduates, the unique homecoming event is not something she will soon forget, she said.

“There’s really nothing else like Gator Growl anywhere else in the nation,” she said. “It’s a huge tradition. It’s a lot of what coming to the university is all about.”  


Harmon said being a part of that long-standing tradition, especially for this year’s 90th anniversary celebration, has had a large impact on her. She said she was excited to be a part of the history that spans across generations.

She said she has always kept herself busy and involved. Between functions as a member for Kappa Alpha Theta, being a tap dancer for Dance Marathon, representing Apple on campus, and participating in Panhellenic recruitment, she does not have much time to spare.

Although not directly related to production, Harmon said her studies have helped her with time management and dealing with her hectic schedule.

“That’s the beauty of industrial engineering,” she said. “I think it’s taking chaos and simplifying, and that’s something I do in all of my positions.”

She also said her course of study won’t necessarily dictate her future career path. Harmon said she has considered careers in production, and an ultimate dream is to some day produce a Super Bowl halftime show.

She credits Gator Growl for giving her direction in her future plans, and no matter where she ends up, she said she’ll always find a way to return to the annual pep rally. There is no doubt where she’ll be on the 100th anniversary, she said.

But for now, she is reflecting on her involvement since the 86th Gator Growl. Harmon said there is no bigger reward for her efforts than a successful final product, and she feels this year was the best one yet. For only one night out of the semester, almost one year of finance, marketing, advertising, working out logistics, signing contracts, and overseeing a whole staff went into it; but seeing almost 20,000 students and alumni fill The Swamp to “let the Gator growl” made the whole experience worthwhile.

“My most surreal moment was when I saw all the hard work that literally hundreds of people have put into it,” she said. “I was standing on the sidelines, the stadium was packed, and fireworks were going off. It’s just an indescribable feeling and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”