Alumni Insider
October 2008  
Olympian Selected Homecoming Grand Marshal
Article related photo.
Olympic gold medal winner and former Nittany Lion track star Horace Ashenfelter III ’49, ’55g will serve as the 2008 Homecoming Grand Marshal, Oct. 1719.

Ashenfelter gained Olympic fame when he won his gold medal in 1952 at the Helsinki games—just three years after earning his bachelor’s degree from Penn State. He was the surprise winner of the 3000-meter steeplechase in world record time, beating the Russian runner who was favored to win. The story of Ashenfelter—by then an FBI agent—beating a Russian in the Olympics during the beginning of the Cold War caused quite a sensation. Later that same year, Ashenfelter was named the United States’ top amateur athlete and given the James Edward Sullivan Award.

Ashenfelter went on to compete in the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne, Australia, but did not medal. To date, Ashenfelter is one of only two American men to win gold in the 3000-meter steeplechase.

Before making the U.S. Olympic teams, Ashenfelter was a Nittany Lion track star. At Penn State in the 1940s, Ashenfelter received All-America honors four times and was the NCAA two-mile champion in 1949 and finished second in the event at the 1947 NCAA cross-country championships. He was inducted into the National Track and Field Hall of Fame in 1975.

Article related photo.
Serving as Grand Marshal is not the first honor from Penn State for Ashenfelter. He received the Distinguished Alumni Award in 1977 and, in 2001, the Horace Ashenfelter III Indoor Track at Penn State’s Multi-Sport Facility was dedicated in his honor. Ashenfelter’s Olympic gold medal is on display at Penn State’s All-Sports Museum at Beaver Stadium.

As Grand Marshal, Ashenfelter will be at the Homecoming Student-Alumni Ice Cream Social at 1:30 p.m., Friday, Oct. 17, at the Hintz Family Alumni Center. Later in the day, Ashenfelter will ride in the Homecoming Parade and will be recognized on the field during halftime of the Penn State–Michigan game in Beaver Stadium.

To learn more about all Homecoming 2008 events, visit:

(Photo by Wayne Baker)

Stories this Issue
Olympian Selected Homecoming Grand Marshal
Outstanding Penn Staters Designated Alumni Fellows
Pep Rally Revs Up Fans at Syracuse
Blue Band Embodies Penn State Pride
Penn State Passion Pays
Penn State Alumni Career Services
Travel Ties
Northern New Jersey Chapter
The World Comes to Centre County
Marching Through History: The Penn State Blue Band
Penn State News
President unveils 2008 State of the University Address
Penn State completes Federal Direct Loan Program implementation
University Police debuts electric motorcycles
Penn Stater turns old headboards into recycling stations
Researchers study how pistachios may improve heart health
Still Life: Paternoville
Sports News
Penn State-Purdue contest to air on ESPN or ESPN2
No. 1 Women's Volleyball To "Dig Pink" Saturday For The Fight Against Breast Cancer's 'Penn State All-Access' launches new media player
Men's, women's basketball single game tickets on sale
Penn State's Molly Crispell Named a Finalist for NCAA Woman of the Year
Helpful Links
Penn State Alumni Association
Affiliate Groups
Penn State University
Penn State Live
The Alumni Store @ Penn State

Published by Penn State Alumni Association
Copyright 2008 Penn State Alumni Association. All rights reserved.
Powered by IMN