Celebrating Our Sesquicentennial
Photographs from the Penn State University Archives

9th in a series
Homecoming as we know it, highlighted by a festive parade and capped off with a football game, began in 1920. On Oct. 9 of that year, 1,500 alumni returned to watch the parade and then cheer on the Nittany Lions as they whipped Dartmouth, 14-7. The event continued to grow over the years and attract more alumni and their families and friends. Lawn displays at fraternity houses first appeared in 1931, a Homecoming Queen was first crowned in 1940, and a King in 1973. Although floats in parades at Penn State had first appeared in the early 1900s, not until 1962 did the Homecoming parade make extensive use of floats designed around a common parade theme. The photo above shows the Phi Sigma Delta float in a parade from the late 1950s. By then, the parade had been changed from a Saturday affair preceding the football game, to Friday night. Besides watching the parade and participating in the many other Homecoming activities, returning alumni and friends would do well to heed the advice given by the editors of the Penn State Alumni News for visitors to the very first Homecoming: "Everyone should walk over the campus and just get re-acquainted."

Visit the photo archive
for previous photos from our year-long historical series

Penn State University Archives is part of The Eberly Family Special Collections Library,
of the Penn State University Libraries.

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