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U. of I. Homecoming celebration offers week of activities

Laura Prusik, News Bureau

Released 10/16/2007

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — “Orange Fever,” the theme of the 97th annual homecoming celebration at the University of Illinois, starts with a Homecoming Kickoff and Soccerfest on Friday (Oct. 19) at the track and soccer stadium, between Fourth Street and Maryland Drive on Kirby Avenue, Champaign.

The celebration takes place from 5:30 to 10 p.m.; the U. of I. women’s soccer team plays Indiana at 7 p.m. Admission, food and beverages will be free. It is a family event, which also will feature activities, games and music

Lunch on the Quad takes place on Oct. 23 (Tuesday) from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and will include a cookout, entertainment, U. of I. officials and athletes and the introduction of the Homecoming Court. The lunch will cost $5 per person or the swipe of a residence-hall card.

For a complete schedule of events, visit the Homecoming Web site.

Event highlights:

Oct. 24 (Wednesday)

Writers Come Home, noon luncheon, 12:30 p.m. lecture, Alice Campbell Alumni Center, 601 S. Lincoln Ave., Urbana. Best-selling author Jacquelyn Mitchard (’71) returns to campus to discuss her latest book and other topics with fellow alumni. Cost: $12 for alumni association members, $15 for non-members. Reservation deadline: Oct. 18.

IUB African-American Homecoming Pageant, 7 p.m., Illini Union Courtyard Café. University students will showcase their talents and search for “Mr. and Ms. Soul of Illinois.” Cost: $4 with U. of I. ID; $5 public. Tickets are available at the door.

Oct. 26 (Friday)

University of Illinois Alumni Association Welcome Open House, 4 to 6 p.m., Alice Campbell Alumni Center. Free public event includes a building tour and light refreshments.

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 performances by U. of I. organizations, appearances by the head football coach and football team and a fireworks finale.

Immediately after the pep rally, the IUB Homecoming Campus Variety Show will take place in Lincoln Hall Theater, 702 S. Wright St., Urbana. The show will feature performances by student dance groups, comedians and solo artists from the U. of I. student population. Tickets are $6 at the door.

Oct. 27 (Saturday)

Illinois vs. Ball State Homecoming football game, 11 a.m., Memorial Stadium. Tickets are $42 for the mainstands, $24 for corners and horseshoe seating. For ticket information, call toll-free 866-455-4641 or order online.

An all-alumni gathering will take place for two hours following the game at the alumni center. The reception is free and includes entertainment, heavy hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar. Illini Comeback guests, a group of distinguished alumni invited back to campus by the Student Alumni Ambassadors, will be recognized.

The guests:

• Col. Lee Archambault, College of Engineering, 1982, M.S. 1984.
An astronaut with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and pilot of the space shuttle Atlantis’ trip in June 2007 to the International Space Station, Archambault flew 22 combat missions in 1990 and 1991 during the first Gulf War and graduated first in his class from the Air Force Test Pilot School in 1995. Selected by NASA to be a pilot in 1998, he has logged 14 days and nearly 6 million miles in space.

• Cathy Larson Koerner, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, 1987, M.S. 1989.
A flight director at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Koerner serves as the shuttle program manager of the Missions Operations Directorate, where she oversees support to NASA’s space shuttle program. Koerner is one of nine women among the 69 flight directors that the space agency has produced in its 48-year history.

• Maj. Matthew C. Shortal, College of Business, 1994.
A former member of the U.S. Navy Blue Angels high-performance flying team and currently the program manager for the U.S. Marine Corps Forward Air Controller Airborne Ground School and flight instructor at San Diego, Shortal joined the Marines in 1994 and has received several military recognitions and honors.

At the event, the alumni association will also be presenting the Lou Liay Spirit Award for Extraordinary Alumni Service. It is being presented to Norman (1958) and Mary Jane Beasley who met and married in Champaign in 1980. They revived a dormant Illini alumni club and were co-presidents for four years. Both remain active participants, have generously donated to the university and return to campus frequently.

In addition to these guests, members of the class of 1957 are invited back to celebrate their college memories on their 50-year reunion.

More than 1,000 students participated Oct.13 in the second year of “I-Help: A Homecoming Volunteer Project” that matched them to service opportunities at more than 40 sites in the Champaign-Urbana community.