Entrance to campus, VEISHEA 1932

Each year, thousands of Iowa State University students work diligently preparing for the largest student run celebration in the United States. Led by the VEISHEA Central Committee, the students spend months planning and managing every detail to ensure the event is a success. For these students, VEISHEA is not just another activity, rather it is their chance to put Iowa State University on display. This rite of spring allows them to show the citizens of Iowa and the world the rich heritage and extraordinary future of ISU.

For over 80 years, the only constant in the celebration has been change. Each year the celebration evolves to meet the concerns of the current students. During World War II, VEISHEA was scaled back and many events such as the parade and Stars Over VEISHEA were cancelled to preserve resources for the war effort. The 1970 VEISHEA Central Committee also had to adjust the celebration to fit the campus climate. Scheduled to take place on what turned out to be the weekend following the tragedy at Kent State, organizers met with students leading the campus war protests and decided to continue with the event, but banned all weapons from the parade, included a "March of Concern" open to all, and added a venue for 24-hour discussion of current events. These are but two examples of the myriad ways VEISHEA has adapted to meet challenges and continued to shine as Iowa State's greatest tradition.

VEISHEA was first celebrated in 1922.    Professor Frank "Shorty" Paine gave the event its name. Originally from Burt, Iowa, Paine received a Bachelor of Science degree  in electrical engineering from Iowa State in 1909. He joined the faculty at Iowa State in 1912 and remained there until his death in 1942. Paine served as advisor to the VEISHEA Central Committee from.  

Frank "Shorty" Paine, n.d.

 

Parade entry, 1936

 

VEISHEA is an acronym for five divisions of Iowa State in 1922:

Veterinary Medicine,

Engineering,

Industrial

Science,

Home

Economics, and

Agriculture

 

   

Prior to VEISHEA, divisions of the college held their own individual celebrations each spring. The celebrations diverted a great deal of time away from the student's coursework and the administration sought a way to focus students back to their studies without sacrificing tradition.

 

The main incentive for VEISHEA was to combine all of the divisional celebrations into one all-school celebration that would be less disruptive to the classroom. It would also be a larger and therefore a more effective advertisement for the school while providing students the opportunity to coordinate a major event. To satisfy the administration's goal of making VEISHEA a high profile exposition for the college, organizers included exhibits and open houses from the beginning and this tradition continues to be at the core of VEISHEA's mission.  

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