Homecoming 2006

Homecoming 2006

By Riley Roberts

Chancellor Richard Herman spoke with The Daily Illini after his brief remarks at the Homecoming pep rally.

“Homecoming is a celebration of those who came before us at this great University. It’s an opportunity to welcome alumni back so they can remember what campus was like and see how it is today.”

Nick Nava, sophomore in chemical engineering, marched in the parade as part of the Air Force ROTC Color Guard.

“Every year we march in formation with the rest of ROTC. I tried out for the Color Guard as a freshman, and I really love it. Marching in the parade every year is definitely an honor – we’re proud that we get to do it.”

Head Football Coach Ron Zook spent a few moments with The Daily Illini after he made an appearance with the team’s seniors at the pep rally.

“We’re fortunate to be a part of the show. Obviously it’s really for the people that have already been here. It’s a chance to come back and show their pride, and for the students to do the same thing. It’s also an opportunity for the seniors on this (football) team to see what the weekend is like for everyone else – the alumni and the students, because they don’t get to be a part of that every weekend.”

Alumnus Mandi Patrick, who earned both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree from the University, was the featured twirler with the Marching Illini.

“It’s great to be back – you miss it so much when you’re gone. Just enjoy it while you’re here. This is a great University.”

Illini Club Tae Kwan Do was represented by Kate Slemer, senior in ACES, and other members of the group.

“The Homecoming Parade is a lot of fun. I get to see a lot of people I know, and it’s a great way for the club to get new members. Homecoming is really a great weekend. There’s a lot of school spirit.”

Jake Smallhorn, mascot of the College Democrats and a senior in LAS, has marched in the parade for four years in a row. He has only worn the donkey costume for the last three.

“I love Homecoming, It connects us with a lot of the younger people on campus. It’s really hot in (this costume), though.”

Kerri Kristich, senior in LAS, and Meredith Minoff, graduate student, have been participating in Homecoming activities as members of the Illini Dance Team for their entire college careers. This year they marched as co-captains of the team.

“Homecoming is one of the best performances of the year,” Kristich said. “Everybody seems excited to see us, and we’re excited to dance for them.”

“We don’t have much of a chance to do things with the community,” added Minoff. “It’s really nice to be able to do the parade and everything.”

Alumnus Karl Scherer, class of 1997, returned to campus with his family to watch the Homecoming parade.

“I’m bringing my kids to see the parade,” he said. “It feels good to be back – I’m excited to see everybody. My wife and mom are also U of I alums.”

Scherer added that there is a good chance his children will be applying to the University in the future, and that the display of school spirit at Homecoming is a great time to show them what the University is all about.

Drew Sullivan, senior in ACES and LAS, has been participating in the parade as a member of the Cheerleading Team for all four years.

“We’re here to promote school spirit. In the parade, the pep rally, and the big game. These events get everything going.”