Lincoln University's Homecoming Parade on Saturday brought out many years' worth of LU students and alumni from across the country.
Jackie Newsom, an LU class of 1969 alumna, rode in a top-down convertible at the front of the parade in honor of her class's golden 50th anniversary.
Newsom said she came to LU from Atlanta, Georgia, and had been in an LU parade before when she was a student — as an "Alpha sweetheart" for a fraternity.
She now lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, and being back allowed her to reflect on how many years have gone while also reminiscing on the great memories and seeing old friends and classmates.
"It's a gift to be still around here, healthy," Newsom said.
Fellow class of 1969 alum Joseph James, also in the convertible with Newsom, said he came to LU from St. Louis to study business, economics and military science.
"It was a good place for me to land from high school," James said, adding he used to work at the U.S. Post Office in downtown Jefferson City. He now lives in Houston.
He's been back for other parades but had never been in one, he said.
James said about 30 of his classmates were around Saturday, and it's been great to see LU continue improvements and contributions over the years.
At the other end of the generational spectrum and further down the literal line of Saturday's parade, LU freshman Nathaniel Branch, of St. Louis, said it was his first parade.Gallery: Lincoln University Homecoming 2019
Branch, who studies marketing, said it was his hope to make at least 10 people smile Saturday, and while he was not a member of the International Student Association, he had been invited by the group to be in the parade with them.
Miss International Sephora Koubou, a sophomore biology major who wants to be an OB-GYN, was in the parade last year as a dancer, and she said she enjoys the excitement of the festivities.
Joseph Turner, who also looked regal on Saturday, concurred in his excitement to be a part of something. Turner said he's an ex-king, having been the Missouri Institute on Minority Aging's statewide king at least three times.
He's from St. Louis and added while he's not an LU graduate, he does go to an LU extension center.
The Missouri Institute on Minority Aging "has provided public and private agency personnel and caregivers with a forum to express and share ideas about delivering services and improving health care for minority elderly people" since 1995, according to LU. The Lincoln University Cooperative Extension administers the annual forum.
LU freshman Yolanda Martin and junior Kimberly Wilbers, who were on the LU Ag Club float in Saturday's parade, enjoyed seeing the excitement of the people who come to the parade — "especially the kids," Wilbers said.
Marvin O. Teer Jr., who is president of LU's Board of Curators, said he was honing his candy-giving skills for children along the parade route — hand out candy, don't throw it, was Teer's advice.
For much of the parade's route through downtown Jefferson City, Teer kept up walking alongside an SUV. "I'm getting my 10,000 steps," he said.
The theme of this year's homecoming was "Celebrating the Dream." LU has been celebrating homecoming since the 1924-25 academic year, though official events were canceled during the Great Depression and World War II, according to LU's history of its celebrations.
After the parade, LU's Blue Tigers were set to face off against the Northeastern State University Riverhawks.