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Iowa State University, Homecoming

 Record Group — Multiple Containers
Identifier: RS 22/7/0/10

Scope and Content

The collection (1912-2012) contains committee files, meeting minutes, news clippings, progress reports, and publicity materials related to Iowa State University’s Homecoming celebration. The records from 1969 through 1990 document homecoming activities and event planning rather well. These materials include extensive committee minutes, correspondence, publications, and other materials related to the organization of execution of homecoming activities. However, the years prior to and since this time period (1912-1968 and 1991-current) are documented almost solely though news clippings, if anything at all.


  • 1912-2012

Language of Materials


Access Restrictions

Open for research.

Use/Re-use Restrictions

Consult Special Collections and University Archives


Homecoming at Iowa State University is a tradition that began on November 16, 1912 with a football game between Iowa State and the University of Iowa. The idea was first proposed by Professor Samuel Beyer who recognized that many alumni came back for the football game against the University of Iowa.

The first Homecoming celebration was a great success. Classes were cancelled on Friday afternoon and Saturday, students erected “Beat Iowa” signs, a debate was held Friday evening, and an alumni reception and luncheon was held on Saturday morning. Of course, the highlight of the weekend was the football game. Unfortunately, Iowa State lost that first homecoming game, but that didn’t stop students and alumni from celebrating together for the rest of the day and into the evening.

Many events have surrounded homecoming in past years. Lawn displays, dances, Homecoming queens, pep rallies and barbeques, Yell Like Hell, and torchathons have all been a part of homecoming celebrations and some still are. The most notorious event to take place during homecoming was the student riot following the 1953 upset of Missouri. Excited students marched on the Knoll demanding a holiday on Monday. When President James Hilton didn’t appear, for he wasn’t home, the students decided to blockade Lincoln Way. President Hilton refused them the holiday even though the crowd returned the following Sunday and Monday nights.

Over the years, Iowa State’s Homecoming celebration has played host to many special guests. None, however, can top the special guest first introduced at the 1954 Homecoming game—Cy, Iowa State’s mascot. The costume was made by the Collegiate Manufacturing Company of Ames and the name was supplied through a contest sponsored by the Pep Council. Wilma Beckman Ohlsen of Ames is credited with the winning entry.

Homecoming is currently (as of 2009) organized by the Homecoming Central Committee of the Student Alumni Leadership Council (SALC). Typical events during Homecoming include community service projects; spirit displays such as lawn displays, victory lane, and store front window paintings; sporting tournaments including basketball, volleyball, and soccer; and Yell Like Hell, which is a competition between student groups performing skits that include chants and cheers.


10.29 Linear Feet (24 document boxes and 1 half-document box)


The collection is organized Chronologically.

Items in related collections

RS 22/7. Iowa State University. Student Organizations - Recreational and Special Interest Groups records

Processing Information

Released on 2018-11-01.

RS 22/7/0/10. Iowa State University, Homecoming, 1912-2012
March 1, 2019
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives Repository

403 Parks Library
701 Morrill Road
Iowa State University
Ames Iowa 50011-2102 United States
(515) 294-6672