Jim and Jane Henson Commemorated at Homecoming 1990

Without Jim Henson, there would be no Muppets, no Fraggle Rock, and the magical world of Sesame Street would be quite different. As a pioneer in his industry, Henson’s unique style brought a brand new element to television. His accomplishments at the University of Maryland and beyond make him one of the university’s most distinguished alumni.

Following his death in May of 1990, the University of Maryland commemorated the life of Jim Henson during the Homecoming football game on October 13, 1990. Henson’s wife, Jane, accepted a painted drum head on his behalf and also served as the Homecoming grand marshal, an honor bestowed on her husband 11 years prior. 27,000 spectators were on-hand in Byrd Stadium to witness the event.

Jane Henson, William Kirwan, and Kermit the Frog
Jane Henson, William Kirwan, and Kermit the Frog, 1990.

The focus of that special weekend was reviving a little bit of Henson’s magic and remembering his best work. With the help of Jim Henson Productions, the event featured life sized versions of some of Henson’s most popular characters, including Kermit, Miss Piggy, and the Cookie Monster, dancing to familiar Sesame Street tunes.

Kermit and Miss Piggy
Kermit and Miss Piggy at the Henson Commemoration, 1990.

Mrs. Henson, who was delighted with the turnout and response to the event, explained, “The campus has always been very responsive to Jim and his work…They’ve always considered him an alumnus to be proud of.” When asked about her late husband’s legacy, Jane added, “He touched so many people’s lives that I think the real loss will be felt by his audiences.”

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