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Homecoming theme: "I Spy Illini!"

Jeff Unger, News Bureau
(217) 333-1085


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — The University of Illinois will mark its 92nd annual Homecoming with a weeklong celebration Oct. 20 through 27.

The week’s activities will include a community kickoff event at Hessel Park in Champaign, as well as a block party and parade. In addition, colleges across campus will host pre-game luncheons and tent parties to welcome alumni. This year’s slogan is "I Spy Illini!"

For a complete schedule of activities, visit the Homecoming Web site at or get in touch with Dena Bagger at the Alumni Association, (217) 333-9829;

Event highlights:

Oct. 20 (Sunday)
∑ Homecoming kickoff celebration, 1-3 p.m., Hessel Park. This family-oriented event is geared to members of the community and will feature Illinois athletes, Illini fan competitions – and ice cream.

Oct. 22 (Tuesday)
∑ Lunch on the Quad, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Cost: free for UI residence hall students with ID card; $5.60 for others.
∑ Homecoming Kickoff, Noon to 1 p.m., Anniversary Plaza (south side of Illini Union).

Oct. 23 (Wednesday)
∑ Homecoming volunteer project, noon to 2 p.m., Quad. Volunteers from student organizations will collect donations for the Champaign County United Way.

Oct. 24 (Thursday)
∑ Homecoming block party, 7 to 11 p.m., south Quad. Food, contests, prizes and live entertainment.

Oct. 25 (Friday)
∑ Homecoming parade, begins at 6 p.m. at Sixth Street and Gregory Drive, goes through Campustown and turns south on Mathews Avenue and ends at the Quad.

Oct. 26 (Saturday)
∑ Illinois vs. Indiana football game, 1 p.m., Memorial Stadium. Cost: $31 for main stands and balconies, $15 for horseshoe and field bleacher tickets. For tickets, visit the athletic ticket office; call toll-free (866) 455-4641; or order online at

Oct. 27 (Sunday)
∑ IIllini stride homecoming 5K run/walk. Race starts at 10 a.m.; walk starts at 10:15 a.m. At the Arboretum, which is located along Lincoln Avenue, one block south of Florida Avenue in Urbana. Register online at or on-site at 9 a.m. Online registration deadline is Friday, Oct. 25, 5 p.m. Cost: $12 prior to race; $15 day of race.

Five distinguished alumni will return to campus as participants in Homecoming weekend. The Illini Comeback guests will meet with students from their colleges, participate in the parade and pep rally, attend the football game, and be guests at gatherings hosted by Chancellor Nancy Cantor and President James J. Stukel.

The guests:

o Scott Altman, College of Engineering, 1981

A commander in the U.S. Navy and NASA astronaut, Altman served as a test pilot from 1990 to 1992. He was a strike leader in support of Operation Southern Watch over southern Iraq and has logged more than 4,000 flight hours in more than 40 types of aircraft. He is a veteran of three space flights and has spent more than 38 days in space.

o Temple Grandin, College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences doctorate, 1989

A designer of livestock facilities and an assistant professor of animal science at Colorado State University, Grandin has appeared on television programs such as "20/20" and "48 Hours" and has been featured in People Magazine, Forbes, U.S.News & World Report and The New York Times. Nearly half of the cattle in North America are handled in a system she created for meat plants.

o Laura McInerney Jennings, College of Commerce and Business Administration, 1983

Jennings is a senior principal at Atlas Venture, a top-tier international venture capital firm. Prior to joining the company in 2000, Jennings served for 12 years at Microsoft, where she was vice president of worldwide strategic planning; was a member of the Business Leadership Team, Microsoft’s top executive group; and served as vice president of MSN, where she managed MSN Internet business worldwide, directed the Microsoft acquisitions of Hotmail and LinkExchange and led from its inception to the third most trafficked site on the Web.

o Barbara Baxter Pillinger, College of Applied Life Studies, 1956

A professor and director of the academic honors program at the University of Minnesota, Pillinger was an active student leader while on the Urbana campus, serving as chairwoman of the university’s 1954 Homecoming, and graduating with Bronze Tablet honors. She wrote her master’s thesis on the history of the Illini Union. Pillinger, whose academic research has focused on outstanding female leaders, is a past president of the National Association for Women in Education, the nation’s oldest professional association for female educators.

o Andrew A. Sorensen, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, 1959

Sorensen is the president of the University of South Carolina. He has focused his career on health policy, health services research and epidemiology. His service has included stints on the Public Health Task Force on AIDS for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and as the executive director of the AIDS Institute at The Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. With degrees in history, ethics, public health and medical sociology, Sorensen has also served as president of the University of Alabama and as the provost and vice president for academic affairs at the University of Florida.