Lighting of the B ceremony

September 8, 2017

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The ceremonial lighting of the Bradley “B” is a homecoming tradition that began in 1928.  The “B” was placed on what was then called the Bradley Polytechnic Institute Tower – or as we know it, the top of Bradley Hall.  It was used as a beacon to welcome all to campus for the homecoming festivities.  

The original “B” was eight feet tall and composed of more than 200 lights.   It could be seen from quite a distance and was the first sign of campus that many saw as they arrived—at that time, the top of Bradley Hall was the highest visible point on campus.

In 1932, Bradley President Frederic Hamilton noted that from afar, it looks like one large light, but in reality it’s made up of hundreds of little ones.  The first burns for the first student who enrolled at Bradley in 1897.  The last in memory of alumni lost.  In between there is a light for all current and former Bradley students.  Hamilton declared that the B is lighted by those who are here…for those who used to be here.

Over the years as the university changed and homecoming festivities changed with it, the tradition of lighting the “B” to welcome all to campus was lost.

Then, in 2003, when the homecoming celebration was moved back to the fall semester, the “B” was returned to its place atop Bradley Hall.  Starting September 12, the “B” will once again light the way for all students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends gathering together to celebrate the university.  It will shine throughout the homecoming festivities as a reminder of who we are and the possibilities that the future holds for the university. For the Homecoming schedule see