Homecoming kicks off

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UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS (WCIA) — Illinois Homecoming is kicking off with new events, a new parade route and former University of Illinois President Stanley O. Ikenberry serving as the parade grand marshal.

The parade will begin at the corner of Fourth Street and Kirby Avenue, turn at Pennsylvania Avenue for a block and then continue north on Sixth Street to Gregory Drive, where it heads east past the Undergraduate Library and Morrow Plots.

The new route accommodates continuing construction projects. See a map of the new parade route here.

The 14th president who served from 1979 to 1995, Ikenberry was both the university’s youngest president its longest serving. He returned in 2010 for a brief term as acting president.

During his tenure, the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology, the Grainger Engineering Library and the National Center for Supercomputing Applications were created, federal funds for research nearly quadrupled, and the Arboretum and Japan House were established.

He created the President’s Scholars Program, a program that gives scholarships to high-achieving underrepresented students. Ikenberry Commons and Ikenberry Dining Hall both bear his name.

In addition to serving as parade grand marshal, Ikenberry also will receive the Illinois Alumni Association Honorary Alumnus Award and be recognized during the football game.

The Illinois Alumni Association is also naming several other award winners at a gala during Homecoming Week. The Richmond Family Welcome Gallery at Alice Campbell Alumni Center will feature an exhibit on Ikenberry’s presidency.

“President Emeritus Ikenberry’s leadership provided the University of Illinois with the foundation and vision to establish this university as one of the best in the country, by any measure,” said Jennifer Dillavou, the University of Illinois Alumni Alliance president and co-chair of the Homecoming committee.

Homecoming Week begins with the Homecoming 5K running event. This year’s 5K route will begin at Anniversary Plaza on the Main Quad and end at Alice Campbell Alumni Center.

The running event will be followed by a kickoff celebration featuring a free pancake breakfast, the ceremonial dyeing of the fountain orange, live music, inflatables, a kids fun run and pumpkin painting for kids.

New programs were added to encourage families and community members to participate in the celebration.

Additions include a local business-decorating contest, a presence at the Urbana Farmer’s Market and coordination with several local business organizations to provide promotional materials.

Student-focused events also have expanded. The first Global Talent Show will take place in Spurlock Museum on Wednesday.

The event will feature the university’s international students and culturally focused registered student organizations, and will include a post-show reception with free food from 8:30-10 p.m.

“Homecoming has a long tradition of being popular with our students and alumni,” said Jim Hintz, the associate vice chancellor for student success and engagement, and a co-chair of the Homecoming committee. “This year, we are trying a few different activities to further amplify our Illinois spirit throughout the entire Champaign-Urbana community.”

A party for current students kicks off Friday on the Main Quad with a free carnival-themed dinner offering hot dogs, caramel apples, funnel cakes and ice cream floats.

The event includes inflatables, games and entertainment. Access to food and games will require a valid student i-card.

Homecoming Week concludes with the Fighting Illini men’s football game against Wisconsin on Saturday at Memorial Stadium.

View the full list of events, more details and visitor guides on the Homecoming 2019 website.

Homecoming events:

5K running event – Sunday, October 13 at 9 a.m.
Kickoff and pancake breakfast – Sunday, October 13 at 10: 30 a.m.
Party on the Quad – Monday, October 14 at 5 p.m.
Global Talent Show – Wednesday, October 16 at 7 p.m.
Parade – Friday, October 18 at 6 p.m.
Illinois vs. Wisconsin football game – Saturday, October 19 at 11 a.m.

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