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.
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