The First 40 Years: 1891 to 1931

In 1931, a video was compiled of various footage documenting the first 40 years of North Park University (then called North Park College). The finished product was shown to alumni and friends of the college at a commemorative event that same year. Now, 80 years later, we have pulled a few highlights and added some background music—and we’re sharing it with a new generation. You can also view the film in its original, silent form.

Homecoming at North Park University

North Park University’s Homecoming has been celebrated since 1925. President Emeritus Algoth Ohlson called the first “Home-coming,” held on December 4, 1925, “a gratifying success…[which] provided a firm basis for the expectation of greater things to come” (The North Park Press v. 5 #5). He describeda closer contact between alumni and school with benefits and pleasure, crystallization of a definite alumni policy of backing the school morally and financially, constructive criticism of school’s methods and policies by a loyal alumni possessed with a broad outlook and deep insight [and] inspiration that comes from undergraduate contact with alumni” (The North Park Press v. 5 #5).

The third annual Homecoming was held on November 19, 1927. Eric Wallgren, then president of the North Park University Alumni Association, described Homecoming as not being a “big drive for funds,” but rather to “come home for a friendly visit.” One thousand alumni attended Homecoming that year. Wallgren noted that Homecoming was not just for alumni, but for the present student body as well.

By the early 21st century, Homecoming was composed of four key events: a classical music concert, the Reunion Breakfast, the football game, and the Homecoming Banquet. In 2006, a new expanded format for Homecoming was launched with the first block party, now known as Homecoming Fest, as the cornerstone event. Homecoming continues to bring alumni and friends back to campus in celebration each year.

Homecoming history is currently being written as we navigate challenges and changes with the COVID-19 pandemic. In the fall of 2020, Homecoming from Home was a virtual gathering of all alumni and reunion classes. Stay tuned as history is being made each year.