CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — The University of Illinois announced on Monday that this year’s Homecoming parade will feature Gene Honda as its grand marshal.
Honda is a U of I alumnus who is best known for being the public address announcer for several Chicago sports teams and events. That includes the Chicago White Sox and Blackhawks, DePaul Blue Demons men’s basketball, the Big Ten men’s basketball tournament and the Final Four.
But Honda said a special favorite of his PA career is Fighting Illini football.
“When I showed up on campus in 1972, I wanted to be an engineer,” Honda said in 2019. “That was the year of my best GPAs, but it didn’t feel right. Not good enough at math. I switched to finance before finding my way to WPGU, the University’s radio station, and going down the rabbit hole to my future.”
Honda graduated in 1978 and is a member of the Triangle fraternity. He is also a recipient of the 2022 Lou Liay Spirit Award, which is presented to those who have consistently demonstrated extraordinary spirit and pride in support of the university, Alumni Association and related organizations.
The Homecoming Parade will start at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct, 14. Unlike past years where the parade has gone across campus, this year’s parade is centered around Memorial Stadium to resemble an upside-down letter U. The parade still start at the intersection of Kirby Avenue and Fourth Street, make its way north to Gregory Drive, west to First Street and south to Grange Grove.