Cornell takes the field for the Homecoming football game against Yale at Schoellkopf

The Big Red takes the field for the 2022 Homecoming game against Yale.

On a Festive Weekend, Homecoming Was Back—and Better than Ever

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Thousands flocked to Schoellkopf and its environs, infusing the beloved event with Big Red spirit

By Joe Wilensky

From football to fireworks to family fun, Homecoming took a beat from Touchdown—and came roaring back! It wasn’t just the thousands of Cornellians and their guests that suffused the Hill with energy on an often-idyllic September weekend, but a surfeit of pent-up Big Red spirit.

In the first time since 2019 that a full-scale Homecoming was held without pandemic restrictions, some 10,000 people attended—including more than 2,000 registered alumni and friends and upwards of 5,000 students.

Fireworks display at Schoellkopf for Homecoming Weekend.
Fireworks light up the night at Schoellkopf.

Big Red colors filled the Crescent Lot at the Fan Festival; the Marching Band paraded percussively through ebullient crowds before the game against Yale; the sky above Schoellkopf lit up with the traditional laser light show and fireworks; some 7,500 revelers (including Touchdown himself) boogied the night away at a deejayed dance party.

Much missed during COVID, the Fan Festival offered food, drink, and a wide variety of amusements. There were carnival games (including a Big Red version of “giant Jenga”), bear-themed temporary tattoos, and photo booths with colorful Cornell backgrounds.

Cornellians enjoy the Homecoming Big Red Fan Festival in the Crescent Lot
A van sporting massive Big Red spirit was a draw at the Fan Fest.

Visitors even had the chance to mingle with an equine celebrity: Minnie the miniature horse, the Vet College’s unofficial mascot, whose tiny hooves were bedecked with glitter for the occasion.

Among the swag-laden tables hosted by colleges, schools, and organizations was Cornellians’ own—which drew an epic queue of students and alums hoping to snag our snazzy new tote bag.

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(To those who were disappointed: we’ll bring more next year!)

Happy to Be Home: The Weekend in Photos

Cornellians also invited revelers to take part in a thought exercise we dubbed “Cornell: On the One Hand,” in which they pondered what the University means to them in five words or less—and shared it on our Post-It laden display board.

Stay tuned for the results, to be featured in an upcoming story. In fact, so many people participated—more than 400—that we ran out of Post-It notes.

(Sorry … we’ll bring more next year!)

And while Big Red football did not emerge victorious (sadly, the Bulldogs notched a decisive 38–14 win), the weekend offered more than its share of consolations—including ample portions of Cornell Dairy ice cream.

Top: The Big Red takes the field against Yale. (All images in this story by Cornell University photographers Lindsay France, Noël Heaney, Sreang Hok, Jason Koski, and Ryan Young.)

Published September 30, 2022

What are your favorite memories of Homecoming—from this year, or in decades past?


  1. Brian Hanse, Class of 1983

    The laser light show and Tower Club reception were amazing. I also enjoyed reconnecting with leadership and students of CRU at Uris on Friday night. Good to be back.

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