Let the good times roar

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  • In 1920 the Iowa State Teachers College had its first homecoming football game against Parson’s College, winning 14-0.

  • A float for the homecoming parade in 1967. It was the first parade under the current name: The University of Northern Iowa

  • A homecoming football game ticket against Simpson College 1929.

  • The tradition of campaniling started in the 1940s, and was brought back in 1979.

  • The campanile not yet finished by homecoming in 1926. Discussions to build a campanile started by alumni in the first homecoming in 1920.

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A look back at classic UNI homecoming traditions and festivities: 100 years later

Although the cancellation of fall homecoming in the 2020 school year due to COVID-19 was a disappointment to the campus community, Homecoming 2021 events and traditions are back in full swing. Traditions established nearly 100 years ago are still being practiced by students today. This year’s homecoming theme, “Let the good times roar,” harkens back to the 1920’s when UNI was still the “Iowa State Teachers College.” 

Although much has changed since the ‘20s on campus, the traditions, comradery and school spirit still remain.  


A classic event celebrated by thousands of fans is the homecoming football game. In its first ever Homecoming Game, the Iowa State Teachers College defeated Parsons College, 14-0. The field where the game was played is on the current site of Rod Library. 

One hundred and oneyears later for Homecoming 2021, the UNI Panthers will take on Youngstown State in the UNI-Dome at 4 p.m Saturday, Oct. 2.


For UNI’s seventh homecoming in 1926, the campanile was nearing completion. The tradition of campaniling, which is when students kiss someone under the campanile at midnight on the Friday of homecoming, has been a campus tradition since the 1940s. For the 58th homecoming in 1979, the tradition of campaniling was revived and 500 students gathered under the campanile at midnight for a kiss. 

This Friday, Oct. 1, the campaniling tradition will continue at midnight. If students would prefer not to kiss anyone, they are welcome to watch the festivities. If students arrive early, a free campaniling button will be provided. 


In 1929 the homecoming parade marched down College Street for the first time. The Varsity Band and the Ladies’ Band marched in their uniforms through the parade under the leadership of new band director, Myron Russell. (Russell Hall is named after him).

For Homecoming 2021 the usual homecoming parade location has been moved to downtown Cedar Falls in order to create connections with the community. The parade will start at 11 a.m. and will have several clubs and organizations in the parade with floats. The Panther Marching Band will also be participating in the festivities.

For more information about  homecoming 2021, visit homecoming.uni.edu. 

To read more about past UNI homecomings, visit UNI’s Special Collections and Archives website at scua.library.uni.edu.