The annual Homecoming parade, with KSU President Carol Cartwright on a motorcycle, four bands and more than 50 other campus and community entries, kicked off KSU's weekend of reunions and related festivities.
Cartwright, dressed in a black leather Harley-Davidson jacket, has ridden a motorcycle in the parade for the past four years and continued her tradition Saturday. Joining her on a separate cycle was her husband, Philip.
Participants in the morning parade lined up early behind KSU's Music and Speech Building to put final touches on their floats which were judged in a variety of categories.
Members of Alpha Xi Delta Sorority and Delta Tau Delta and Delta Chi fraternities were giving their jukebox _ largely made of spray-painted trash bags _ a last glance before joining the procession.
It was one of several floats featuring a 1950s hang-out to coincide with the weekend's theme of "Let the Good Times Roll."
"We've worked constantly since Tuesday night and used several rolls of 100 garbage bags for this," said Lauren Winsterman, a member of Alpha Xi Delta and president of KSU's Panhellenic Council. "The Greeks participate every year, and it's nice for us this year because they are going to have a winner of just the Greek floats."
A few parking spaces over, residents of Johnson Hall were making sure their ferris wheel float was turning the way it should.
"We tried to think of things with balls or wheels along the rolling theme, and came up with this," student Bob Morris said.
Larry Disbro, assistant superintendent of Mentor schools and a KSU alumnus, was one of the four judges given the task of choosing the winners.
"It's exciting to see the enthusiasm of the organizations. You can tell they are proud of what they've made and the work they put into it," he said.
Campus Bus Service unveiled its float, a bus transformed into a diner, at a special breakfast for employees and alumni of the service as it celebrated its 30th anniversary.
More than 100 former bus service employees returned to KSU for the weekend and will compete in a bus service roadeo today.
Tim Lorson, a 1970 KSU graduate from Grand Rapids, Mich., came to celebrate the anniversary and see fellow student bus drivers. As a driver and supervisor for the service for two years, one of his most vivid memories is using the buses to evacuate campus after the May 4 shootings.
"That was our finest hour _ to do that the afternoon of the shootings and the next day," Lorson said. "No one could leave or get into Kent so the buses were the only way to carry people out and get them home.
"The lure of getting a chance to drive a bus again and to see people I hadn't seen in almost 30 years brought me back here this weekend," he said.
The bus service party was one of several taking place prior to the parade and throughout the weekend.
The Williamson Alumni Center hosted a morning gathering for alumni, including special events for the members of the class of 1947.
Estelle "Teddy" Kane of Buffalo, N.Y., marveled at how KSU and the Kent community had changed in the 50 years she had been away.
"This is just wonderful fun," she said, as she talked with former classmates. "But the campus has grown so much. I'm so happy I'm not coming here as a freshman now; I'd never be able to walk all over it."
Other reunion festivities included the 50-year reunions of three KSU sorority chapters, and the 60th anniversary of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication.
The KSU Golden Flashes lost to the Central Florida University Golden Knights by a score of 59-43 during the Homecoming game at Dix Stadium. During halftime, the 1972 Midamerican Conference Champion Golden Flashes, led by Coach Don James and team captain Jeff Murrey, was honored. James and Murrey were the parade's grand marshals.
Festivities continued Saturday night with performances by the groups Disco Inferno, the Rivermen and the Simpletons in the Kent Student Center Plaza.
Events today include an opera benefit gala at 3 p.m. at the Carl F.W.
Ludwig Recital Hall in KSU's Music and Speech Building.