College events celebrate 95th homecoming

College events celebrate 95th homecoming

URBANA – The University of Illinois will celebrate its 95th homecoming with events all week long, beginning Sunday. The theme for Homecoming this year is "Ignite My Illini."

The following is a schedule of events this week. In addition to those listed, many UI colleges and departments are hosting receptions. For information, go to the UI's homecoming Web site at

– Sunday: Illini Stride 5k Run/Walk and Kids' Fun Run. Race is 11 a.m. and fun run is at 12:30 p.m. at Hessel Park. Cost is $15. The event benefits the Champaign school district's Warm-A-Kid program.

– Sunday: Homecoming Kickoff Celebration. Noon to 2 p.m. at Hessel Park. Free. Family event will feature UI athletes, cheerleaders, the Marching Illini drum line, games, a petting zoo, and free hot dogs or hamburgers to the first 500 people.

– Monday: Homecoming Volunteer Project. 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the Anniversary Plaza south of the Illini Union. Students will create a mural that will be displayed on the south side of the Illini Union all week. Student organizations can pay $50 and individuals can pay $1 to paint a portion of the mural. Proceeds will go to AmerenIP's Warm a Neighbor program.

– Tuesday: Lunch on the Quad. 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Cost is $5 or use of residence hall dining card. The cookout will include entertainment and introduction of the Homecoming Court.

– Tuesday: African-American Homecoming Pageant. 7 p.m. at the Illini Union Courtyard Cafe. Cost is $4.

– Wednesday: Build for Habitat for Humanity. All day between Everitt Laboratory and Engineering Hall. Volunteers are building a storage shed that will be used on a Homecoming float, then donated to a Habitat for Humanity site.

– Friday: Homecoming parade and pep rally. The parade will be from 6 to 8 p.m. starting at Sixth Street and Taft Drive, traveling through Campustown, and turning south on Mathews Avenue to end at the Quad. It will be followed with a pep rally on the Quad, with performances by student organizations, an appearance by the football team and fireworks.

– Friday: Homecoming Variety Show. Immediately following the pep rally until 10 p.m. at Lincoln Hall. Cost is $5. Features student performers.

– Friday: African-American Homecoming Fashion Show. Doors open at 8 p.m. at Foellinger Auditorium. Cost is $8 with a UI student ID or $10 without.

– Friday: Illini Union "Bowling Through the Decades" event. 7 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. in the Rec Room at the Illini Union. Cost is $4 per game. Features cosmic bowling to music from various decades.

– Saturday: Illinois-Penn State football game. 6 p.m. at Memorial Stadium. Cost is $37 for seats in the main stands and balconies and $19 for horseshoe tickets.

– African-American Homecoming Comedy Show. 8 p.m. at Foellinger Auditorium. Doors open at 7 p.m. Cost is $10 with a UI ID, $12 for the general public if purchased before the event or $15 at the door.

– African-American Afterparty. 11 p.m. at the Intramural Physical Education Building. A disc jockey will play hip-hop and R&B music. Cost is $8 with a UI ID and $10 without if purchased before the event, or $10 with a UI ID and $12 without at the door.

Outstanding alumni to be honored by UI

The University of Illinois Alumni Association recognizes outstanding UI graduates each year during Homecoming week with its Illini Comeback program.

This year, the Comeback Guests are a reporter, a mystery writer and a business executive:

– Andrea Darlas, a 1994 communications graduate.

Darlas is a reporter and evening news anchor on WGN-AM radio in Chicago. She also contributes to the ABC Radio Network, Chicagoland Television, "Metromix, the TV Show," WGN-TV and She has covered Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, the 1996 and 2000 Olympics and an execution.

Darlas has won awards from The Associated Press, two Edward R. Murrow awards and the Illinois Broadcasters Association's Silver Dome Award for "Best Newscast" in the state.

– Stuart Kaminsky, a 1957 communications graduate and a 1960 LAS graduate.

Kaminsky is a writer of mystery novels and former professor of screenwriting and film production. He is author of nearly four dozen short stories and more than 60 books, including biographies and textbooks. He also has screenwriting credits for four films and has written novels based on the characters from the "CSI: New York" and "Rockford Files" TV shows.

Kaminsky has been nominated for the Edgar Allan Poe Award six times, winning for best novel in 1989. He taught at Northwestern University for 16 years, founding its Program in Creative Writing for the Media, and he headed the Graduate Conservatory in Film and Television Production at Florida State University for six years.

– Ann Davenport McBrien, a 1982 business graduate.

McBrien is chief operating officer of OT OverTime LLC, which developed the first line of grooming products for teen boys. Previously, McBrien was at Procter & Gamble for 19 years, moving from sales representative to the first female vice president of sales in the company's history to global vice president of sales health care.

As a UI student, McBrien started the Illini Comeback program in 1979 and was a founding member of the booster group Illini Pride. She helped turn the Student Alumni Association (now Student Alumni Ambassadors) into a major student organization on the UI campus.

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