Class of 2025 relishes time together at Hey Day

An iconic tradition at Penn, third-year students were promoted to senior status.

students walking over 38th street bridge during hey day

Hundreds of third-year students gathered on Thursday, May 2, for Hey Day, a Penn classic now in its 108th year. Sunny skies were overhead as the soon-to-be fourth-year students—holding bamboo canes and wearing custom red T-shirts and mock skimmer hats—gathered mid-morning for a picnic at High Rise Field and marched on Locust Walk to the Annenberg Center Plaza to meet Interim President J. Larry Jameson and Vice Provost for University Life Karu Kozuma.

interim president jameson holds up the hey day hat

As tradition has it, Jameson administered a light, three-question “exam” to students, with their correct answers resulting in their promotion to senior status. Class of 2024 President Toyosi Abu passed the symbolic senior class gavel to rising senior class president Amaan Omer, who shouted into the mic, pumping up his peers: “If you are ready to rock senior year, let me hear you scream!”

Sri Pinnamareddy, who served as junior class president for the Class of 2025, noted from the podium, “Convocation, U-Night, and now Hey Day: These are rare but precious opportunities where we come together across our different schools, identities, extracurriculars, and passions and unite as one class, one Penn to celebrate. During our three years at Penn we have struggled and strived, but through it all we have persevered, making lifelong friendships and lasting memories along the way. We should all be so proud of our accomplishments.”

Students danced together to Penn Band tunes, sung “The Red and Blue,” and signed each other’s hats, T-shirts, and even canes with Sharpies. Omer noted the autographs were “really nostalgic.”

“It feels like a high school yearbook signing, at the end of the year when everyone is like, ‘have a great summer, good luck in college,’” he said, “but the wonderful thing about this is we know we have one more year together.” 

students get hey day gear at the highrise field
students sign hats at hey day
students on high rise field during hey day
two students celebrating on high rise field during hey day

Omer, from Toledo, Ohio, who is studying health care management at the Wharton School and neuroscience at the College of Arts and Sciences, described the day’s weather as “beautiful” and said he “couldn’t have asked for a better day.” He also noted the interesting design, by classmate Joyce He, of the front and back of the T-shirts this year: They depict a playing card with an illustration of Penn founder Benjamin Franklin with a Hey Day cane.

“It’s great seeing everyone come out and celebrate, especially with finals coming up and current events going on,” Omer said, referring, for one, to the encampment on College Green, which caused the usual location for Hey Day to move. “It’s a really meaningful experience to see people connect and socialize. It’s the first time in a long time that I’ve seen so many students in our class come together. It’s a nice way to end junior year and start anew for senior year.”

student pose in front of the covenant statue on locust walk
signing hats at hey day
penn class leaders at hey day ceremony
hey day student group

Cheryl Lim, an electrical engineering major in the School of Engineering and Applied Science from Kuching, Malaysia, was hanging out on Thursday with friends she met three years ago, when they lived on the same floor of Kings Court English House. Lim noted how it feels like just yesterday she was watching the current fourth-years celebrate their Hey Day. “Time flies so fast,” she said, before snapping a photo with friends. “It just feels really unexpected that it has reached this point.”

Roommates Sarahbelle Kim, a politics, philosophy, and economics major in the College from Manhasset, New York, and Tina Zhang, a Wharton student from Seattle, were seeking shade under some trees, when they described the day as “surreal” and “awesome,” respectively. 

students climb the love statue during hey day

“I think it’s a big accomplishment to make it to senior year,” said Zhang, before cheerful friends pulled the duo away for more catching up.

Leonardo Bacheschi, who studies finance and management, and Mario Paez, who studies diversity, equity, and inclusion and decision processes, both at Wharton, agreed that Hey Day is an opportunity to reflect on, as well as be appreciative for, their time at Penn.

“Without this day I think I would’ve just went into senior year and not really thought of everything I’ve gone through the past three years and all the experiences I’ve had with all the people in my class, who mean a lot to me,” said Bacheschi, originally from Greenville, South Carolina. “Being able to relive that, and talk to people, some who I haven’t talked to since freshman or sophomore year, has been great.”

interim president jameson with student crowd
students celebrate during hey day

When asked what their quota for hat signatures is, Paez, from Laredo, Texas, quipped: “I am getting all 2,500 of us, that’s my goal.”

Bacheschi said he’s opting for around 50. 

As for their plans for the rest of the day? In unison, and without hesitation, the ambitious students said: “Probably studying.” 

Omer answered similarly, noting his four finals coming up. 

“But that’s OK, it’s been a nice break,” Omer said. “That’s the life of a student.”