Kent State Celebrates the Return of Homecoming to Campus

It’s reunion time for the Kent State University Golden Flashes family. Kent State celebrated Homecoming 2021 with a week of activities and events leading up to the Oct. 2 Homecoming Parade and Homecoming football game. Kent State alumni, students, parents, faculty, staff and the community were invited to take part in one of the university’s long-standing traditions, which returned to campus this year.

In addition to the classic Homecoming traditions, Kent State introduced new activities and events for the entire community to enjoy, including the Homecoming Kickoff celebration that was followed by fireworks on the evening of Oct. 1.

Class of 2020 Commencement

Among those returning to campus were members of the Class of 2020, who were invited to come back to campus for a historic, in-person commencement ceremony dedicated to the class during Homecoming. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, virtual commencement ceremonies were held for the Class of 2020 with a promise to the graduating students that they would be invited back to campus for commencement when it was deemed safe to do so. 

The commencement ceremony for the Class of 2020 took place at 1 p.m. on Oct. 1 at Manchester Field. At this ceremony, all Class of 2020 graduates crossed the stage and had their name announced. About 600 members of the Class of 2020 participated in this special ceremony.

Groundbreaking for the Aeronautics and Engineering Building Addition

Members of the Kent State community and the general public were invited to a groundbreaking ceremony for the addition to the Aeronautics and Engineering Building, home of the College of Aeronautics and Engineering. The groundbreaking took place at 3:30 p.m. on Oct. 1 at the Aeronautics and Engineering Building, which is located at 1400 Lefton Esplanade on the Kent Campus. Building tours and refreshments immediately followed the program. The building addition supports the college’s enrollment growth by expanding the state-of-the-art facility.

Homecoming Kickoff and Fireworks

At 6 p.m. on Oct. 1, Kent State presented the Homecoming Kickoff, a new celebration to start Homecoming Weekend, with food, music and fun on the lawn by The John Elliott Center for Architecture and Environmental Design along the Lefton Esplanade. Attendees could meet the 2021 Kent Campus Homecoming Court, Kent State Director of Athletics Randale L. Richmond and Kent State President Todd Diacon. There was  a free Homecoming T-shirt giveaway while supplies last.

At 7 p.m. on Oct. 1 following the Homecoming Kickoff, Kent State invited everyone to go downtown to enjoy fireworks. The best location to view the fireworks show was downtown by the West Main Street bridge. Test shots went off at 7 p.m. The fireworks show began at dusk.

Bowman Cup 5K Walk/Run

The morning of Homecoming kicked off with the annual Bowman Cup 5K Walk/Run at 8 a.m. on Oct. 2 at the university’s Warren Student Recreation and Wellness Center. The race, named after fedora-loving former Kent State President George Bowman, is a chip-timed race. A virtual walk/race was also available.

Homecoming Parade

The Homecoming Parade began at 10:30 a.m. on Oct. 2 on the corner of Midway Drive and Main Street, traveling west on Main Street into downtown Kent. The parade featured floats, Kent State and local high school marching bands, the Homecoming Court, university colleges and departments, Kent State cheerleaders and athletes, student organizations, local officials and more. The Class of 2020 served as this year’s Homecoming Parade Grand Marshals. For those who couldn't make it to campus, a virtual parade livestream with the university president was available.

Kiss on the K

Couples who feel that Kent State played an important role in their relationship gathered on the K at Risman Plaza (in front of the Kent Student Center) at noon on Oct. 2 for a special Homecoming tradition called Kiss on the K. All couples kissed on the K when the bell rings at 12:30 p.m. 

Dedication of Unity Walkway at Manchester Field

At 12:30 p.m. on Oct. 2, the university held a dedication for the new Unity Walkway at Manchester Field. The introduction of the Integrated Greek Council (IGC) plots, recognizing the university’s culturally based fraternities and sororities currently at Kent State, serves to celebrate the rich tradition between the university and nation, allowing history to be on display for generations to come. 

Tailgates and Homecoming Football Game

Starting at 1:30 p.m. on Oct. 2 before the football game, alumni and students tailgated at Dix Stadium on their own or attend the Flash Nation tailgate. Then at 3:30 p.m, the Homecoming football game featured the Kent State Golden Flashes taking on Mid-American Conference East Division foe the Bowling Green State University Falcons. The game was Kent State’s first conference game of the season. The Homecoming Court was recognized at the game, and Kent State’s 2021 Homecoming Royalty was also announced and crowned at halftime.

About Homecoming 2021

For more information about Kent State’s 2021 Homecoming and a full schedule of events, visit

# # #

Media Contacts:
Eric Mansfield,, 330-672-2797
Emily Vincent,, 330-672-8595

POSTED: Friday, September 24, 2021 04:33 PM
Updated: Friday, December 9, 2022 04:11 PM
University Communications and Marketing