Homecoming at Lake Forest College, About 100 Years Ago

After marching in formation, each man takes his place and stands at attention until one of the top sergeants gives the command “seat” at Calvin Durand Commons, what today we know as the Wood Lounge.

Homecoming, as you know it, is nothing like it used to be back in the day. The first record of Homecoming in Lake Forest College goes as far back as 103 years ago. In 1912, several alumni managed to gather for the first time given the economic and political situation in the country.

First LFC homecoming float prepared for the 1935 parade.

They had created a series of activities that would make Lake Forest thrill with emotions of joy and delight while dressed in black and red. With old-fashioned cars, the fathers of Homecoming gave birth to the traditional float parade that proceeds down Sheridan Road.

In this time period, male students were required by the government to take the Army Military Training Program. This would drastically interrupt their academic careers and would gravely affect Lake Forest’s community, given that Lake Forest College was still an all-male school. However, those students who stayed got to hear from, on the first weekend of November, 1912, alumni from generations as old as 1892.

One of them, Mr. Jones ’92 (that’s 1892), gave a speech proclaiming that Lake Forest could be as prestigious as Princeton University. He believed that Lake Forest College, being 30 miles away from Chicago, would have as much fame as Princeton University, which is 30 miles away from New York. In his speech, Mr. Jones encouraged other alumni to give back to the college and make Lake Forest the “Princeton of the West.” Other alumni from the same generation, such as Mr. Schwartz ’92, expressed his satisfaction with the current state of the College, saying that “he was glad that those who wished to make a woman’s college out of Lake Forest had failed.”

Soon after finishing the traditional dinner, the entire student body, composed of 292 students, moved to Lois Hall to party.

Sure, Homecoming is not what it used to be. For this year, Lake Forest College is expecting to receive alumni from generations as long ago as 1965 on the weekend of October 8th to 10th. With the traditional Forester Fan Fest, which includes a beer garden, a food tent, live music by Modern Day Romeos, games, face painting, and so on, in addition to the parade, Homecoming Royalty, and the Oppenheimer Lecture featuring social psychologist Sherry Turkle, Lake Forest’s excitement is notable across campus.

This Homecoming’s spotlight is alumnus Harvey D. Cain ’52, who is cycling from nearly 3,000 miles away to raise money for scholarships for future Foresters.

More information about the schedule of the activities can be found on the College’s website or at the Office of Alumni and Parents Relations at 1-800-LFC-ALUM or alumni@lakeforest.edu.

Published for Stentor News

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