Iowa State in the 1950s


Charles E. Friley 1936-1953
James H. Hilton 1953-1965


Louis Armstrong was the entertainer for homecoming. WOI-TV, the first educationally owned and operated television station in the nation, went on the air Feb. 21.


Iochief hybrid sweet corn, developed at Iowa State College, was awarded a gold medal by the American Seed Trade Association.

The Iowa State College Dairy Products Squad won first place in all products, butter and cheese divisions at an international student contest in Atlantic City.


The first homecoming king was elected.

The first Greek Week was held.


Student enrollment totaled 8,000.

The livestock judging team won first place in swine judging at the International Livestock Exposition in Chicago.


Cy the Cardinal became Iowa State’s mascot.

The first couple was married in the Memorial Union chapel.


The Department of Athletics and the Alumni Association began to annually recognize a loyal graduate or contributor by awarding them the title of Cy’s Favorite Alum. Click here for a list of Cy’s Favorite Alumni.


The Cyclones won the Big 7 basketball title, with Gary Thompson named the tournament's “most spectacular player.” Thompson was also named to the All Big 7 basketball team by the Associated Press and United Press and named Iowa State Athlete of the Year.

The baseball team won conference and district titles, and made their first collegiate World Series appearance.

Contractors began work on the addition to the Memorial Union, adding the bookstore and the Sun Room.

New bells were installed in the carillon.

Hawthorn Apartments and Pammel Court were opened to married students.


The University Book Store and Sun Room were built in the Memorial Union.

The Iowa State Livestock Judging Team had a successful year. They took second place at the Chicago International Live Stock Show, the Southwest Show, and the American Royal Show, and first place at the North Central States Show and the National Barrow Show.


Iowa State’s centennial was celebrated.

The bookstore moved into the Memorial Union.

Home Economics Hall was named for Catherine J. MacKay and became MacKay Hall.

Street signs were installed on campus.

The first Residence Hall Week took place. Held in the spring of each year, the event celebrates living on campus with many activities and culminates in Carnival De Cyclone.

The Iowa State College Foundation was formed, with the express goal of raising funds for what would become the Iowa State Center (C.Y. Stephens Auditorium, the Scheman Center, Fisher Theater, and Hilton Coliseum).


The Hub, a vending area for students, staff and faculty, was built in a portion of the area formerly occupied by the College Book Store in the Post Office Building.

On July 4, 1959, the Iowa State College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts became Iowa State University of Science and Technology.

Class Gifts

Funds given by the Class of 1950 were used for one-year Alumni Association memberships.
On its 50th anniversary, the class supported the renovation of the Alumni Room in Parks Library.

The Class of 1951 gift helped pay for an organ for the Little Chapel in the Memorial Union.
On its 50th anniversary, the class funded the restoration of Christian Petersen’s Marriage Ring sculpture.

Funds given by the Class of 1952 were used toward the Oak-Elm sculpture, Conversations, by Christian Petersen.
On its 50th anniversary, the class funded construction of the entrance bridge to Reiman Gardens.

The Class of 1953 also helped pay for an organ for the Little Chapel in the Memorial Union.
On its 50th anniversary, the class made a gift toward the establishment of the Christian Petersen Art Museum in Morrill Hall.

The Class of 1954 established a fund to move the Victory Bell from Beardshear Hall to Clyde Williams Field (now Jack Trice Stadium) and also funded a scholarship plaque in Beardshear.
On its 50th anniversary, the class raised funds to support the renovation of Morrill Hall.

The Class of 1955 created an $859 scholarship in memory of Dean M.D. Helser, given in 1961.
On its 50th anniversary, the class of 1955 reunion committee chose to provide funding for the Hillside Garden at Reiman Gardens. Money was used for landscaping and building a path.

The Class of 1956 made a $750 gift to the Iowa State Center for furnishings.
On its 50th anniversary, the class reunion committee chose to provide funding for Transformations, a sculpture by Albert Paley for the newly renovated Morrill Hall.

The Class of 1957 provided $750 for plaques at Beardshear and Curtiss Halls.
On its 50th anniversary, the class established a scholarship fund that rotates between all colleges on an annual basis.

Iowa State’s centennial graduation Class of 1958 created a time capsule and donated a granite bench with a bronze plaque in front of Beardshear Hall. The time capsule was opened during the university’s sesquicentennial celebration in 2008, and will be opened again in 2058. The class also funded brass name plates on MacKay and Marston Halls.
On its 50th anniversary, the class also supported the 50 year reunion scholarship fund.

The Class of 1959 gave $1,000 to purchase a new art piece for Pearson Hall and $5,000 to restore the Grant Wood murals in Parks Library.
On its 50th anniversary, the class supported the exterior grand staircase at the ISU Alumni Center.