Now, 75 years later, the approximately 80-pound cannon resides in the office of Jason Schiffer, assistant vice president of campus safety and chief of police. But it has had quite the journey since that 1948 pep rally.
Initially, the cannon was a staple at home Lehigh football games and, as intended, fired each time the team scored. It was cared for by the cheerleaders until the late 1970s, when the Kappa Alpha Society (KA) took over.
On March 18, 1979, the cannon disappeared, according to a Letter to the Editor written by John Felegi ’81 in the May 4, 1979, edition of The Brown and White. Felegi wrote, “Because of the importance of this cannon to the alumni and to the athletic department, in addition to its value in creating spirit at the football games, any information regarding its disappearance would be greatly appreciated.”
It was eventually found but again went missing at the end of a football season about 20 years ago, according to Allen Biddinger, associate athletics director for athletic facilities and events, and a police report was filed. The Marching 97 obtained a smaller replacement.
A decade passed before the cannon was found in the basement of a local residence and returned to the Goodman Stadium Operations Office. Since the Marching 97 had a replacement, the cannon remained with the athletics department, Biddinger says, until he assumed his current position. He didn’t feel comfortable being responsible for it and, five years ago, asked the Lehigh University Police Department (LUPD) to take possession of the cannon.