NU commemorates 20th anniversary of Rose Bowl appearance with annual Homecoming parade


Daniel Tian/ Daily Senior Staffer

Members of the Homecoming Court wave to onlookers on Sheridan Road during the annual Homecoming parade on Friday. Weinberg seniors Danny Callison and Iheoma Nkemere were elected Homecoming king and queen.

Dan Waldman, Reporter

Northwestern students and alumni lined Sheridan Road on Friday for the University’s Homecoming parade, part of the celebration surrounding the 20th anniversary of the Wildcats’ appearance in the Rose Bowl.

The Northwestern Alumni Association helped organize the parade, which included 39 registered floats, University President Morton Schapiro and Grand Marshal Darnell Autry, who was a running back on the 1995 Rose Bowl team.

Chris de Kok, associate director of student engagement for the Alumni Association, said the parade took about a year to organize, and it took the student organizations months to plan their floats.

“We do a bunch of stuff with the city,” de Kok said. “We talk to the police and the fire department to close the roads down. The different students’ organizations start thinking a few months ahead of time about what they want to do. But it usually all comes together in the end.”

The Northwestern University Marching Band led the parade and marched in front of Autry, who rode shotgun in a white Nissan. The parade also included the NUMBALUMS. Former spirit leader and trombonist, B.J. Mitchell (Weinberg ‘81), said he enjoys playing with other alums and showing his purple pride.

“It helps continue tradition,” Mitchell said. “So for example, Northwestern has had a very small number of directors of bands so I met the old ones. It’s nice to have the tradition and to come back and see some of the old professors without necessarily wanting something or being scared.”

Along with the different student organizations, several NU football players joined the parade in a float of their own. Freshman Alonzo Mayo said he was excited for his first Homecoming parade.

“It’s pretty great out here to see all the people that came out and support us for Homecoming,” Mayo said. “I’m most excited for the camaraderie around the team and how it is going to echo out into the community.”

After the parade, students and alumni gathered at Deering Meadow to watch NUMB perform “The Time Warp” from “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” as well as Mark Ronson’s “Uptown Funk.” The NU spirit squad also performed on the stage set up in front of Deering Library, which was illuminated purple for the event.

Schapiro then spoke to the enthusiastic crowd. He told them to get excited for Saturday’s game against Iowa and about how he enjoyed having all of the alumni back at the University.

“It’s great to have so many thousands of alums come back and renew friendships and make new ones,” Schapiro told The Daily. “It’s inspiring. They love this place so much and it makes me want to work hard to make it even better.”

Schapiro then turned the microphone over to Autry, who said it has been incredible watching the team this season.

“It’s interesting because when I was here as a player, I never got a chance to participate in the Homecoming parade,” Autry told The Daily. “So now that I’ve been the grand marshal a couple of times, it’s nice to be able to participate and see how enthusiastic people are. It’s nice to share our experience with the community.”

After pumping the students and alumni up about the football team, Autry announced the Homecoming king and queen — Weinberg seniors Danny Callison and Iheoma Nkemere.

“It feels great,” Callison said. “You know I campaigned hard. I had a lot of help from my friends. But I think it’s awesome. I’m very confused, but I will take it.”

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