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Homecoming at Illinois: 'Now and Forever'

Jeff Unger, News Bureau 217-333-1085


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CHAMPAIGN, Ill.— The University of Illinois will kick-off its 96th annual homecoming celebration with a new volunteer project involving hundreds of U. of I. students assisting dozens of community organizations. “I-Help: A Homecoming Volunteer Project,” is based on the Chicago Cares Serve-a-thon model. The project will get under way at 10 a.m. Sept. 30 (Saturday) at the Alice Campbell Alumni Center, 601 S. Lincoln Ave., Urbana.

The following week’s activities will include a “Homecoming Kickoff and Soccerfest” Oct. 1 (Sunday) at the track and soccer stadium, between Fourth Street and Maryland Drive on Kirby Avenue, Champaign. The celebration takes place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.; the U. of I. women’s soccer team plays Penn State at 1 p.m. During the celebration, the Marching Illini drum line will perform, as will the Fighting Illini cheerleaders. Free food and free admission will be offered.

Lunch on the Quad, also on Oct. 1, takes place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and will feature a cookout, entertainment, U. of I. athletes and the Homecoming Court. Cost: $5 per person or swipe of residence-hall card.

For a complete schedule of events, visit the Homecoming Web site. This year’s theme is “Illinois: Now and Forever.”

Event highlights:

Oct. 4 (Wednesday)

IUB African-American Homecoming Pageant, 7 p.m., Illini Union Courtyard Café. U. of I. students will showcase their talents and their contributions to the campus community. Cost: $4.

Oct. 6 (Friday)

ACES campus tours, 1:30 to 3:30 p.m., starting at the ACES Library, Information and Alumni Center, 1101 S. Goodwin Ave., Urbana. These free, public tours celebrate the 50th anniversary of the ACES Alumni Association and feature tours of ACES buildings.

Writers Come Home, 4 to 6 p.m., Alice Campbell Alumni Center. Five U. of I. alumni authors will offer short talks about their work and sign copies in their free, public event.

Homecoming parade and pep rally, 6 to 8 p.m. The parade runs from 6 to 7 p.m. starting at Sixth Street and Taft Drive in Champaign, traveling through Campustown and turning south on Mathews Avenue to end at the Quad. The rally follows on the Quad and features appearances by the head football coach and football team. Free refreshments will be offered while supplies last.

Immediately after the pep rally, the IUB Homecoming Variety Show will take place in Lincoln Hall, 702 S. Wright St., Urbana. Student performers will vie for prizes in several categories. Tickets are $5 at the door.

Oct. 7 (Saturday)

Illinois vs. Indiana football game, 11 a.m., Memorial Stadium. Tickets are $42 for the main stands, $24 for corners and horseshoe seating. For ticket information, call toll-free 866-ILLINI-1 or order online at

An all-alumni gathering will take place for two hours after the game at the Alice Campbell Alumni Center. The event is free and includes hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar.

Three distinguished alumni will return to campus as participants in Homecoming weekend. The alumni will meet with students, discuss their work experiences and participate in Homecoming activities.

The guests:

C.O. “Doc” Erickson, College of Agriculture (now part of the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences), 1943

A longtime movie producer, Erickson, began in 1944 in the budget department at Paramount Pictures. Over the course of his 50 years in Hollywood, he worked on numerous movies, including “Rear Window,” “The Misfits,” “Cleopatra,” “Chinatown,” “Blade Runner,” “Fast Times at Ridgemont High,” “Popeye,” “Urban Cowboy” and “Groundhog Day.” He worked with Alfred Hitchcock and John Huston as well as Grace Kelly and Jack Nicholson.

Gregory Paw, College of Communications, 1985

The director of the Division of Criminal Justice in New Jersey and former deputy chief counsel of the regime crimes liaison office in Baghdad, Paw worked from May 2004 through March 2005 with a team of U.S. Justice Department lawyers sent to Iraq to help prepare the Iraqi Special Tribunal for the prosecution of Saddam Hussein and other members of the former Iraqi regime. Paw prosecuted federal narcotics and public corruption cases for more than 10 years, beginning in the Justice Department in Washington, D.C., in 1995, and moving to Philadelphia in 1997, where he eventually became the deputy U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Betty Lee Sung, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, 1948

Her 1967 landmark book, “Mountain of Gold: The Story of the Chinese in America,” is among the early published histories of the Chinese in the United States written by a Chinese-American. Sung’s book became part of initial efforts that built the field of Asian-American studies, where it became a standard text for fledgling courses. Disowned by her Chinese-born father when she opted for the University of Illinois instead of an arranged marriage, Sung went on to work for Voice of America. She established the first Asian-American studies program east of California and led the Asian-American studies program at City College of New York. The author of six additional books on Chinese-Americans, Sung also co-founded the Asian American/Asian Research Institute of the City University of New York.