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Release: Immediate

UI School of Social Work remembers Bill Sackter with weekend celebration Nov. 13-14

(Editors note: Interviews with Barry Morrow, Tom Walz, and Wild Bill's Coffee Shop staff members can be arranged by contacting Walz at 319/335-1273.)

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Once again, the University of Iowa School of Social Work will celebrate the life and spirit of Bill Sackter, a former Iowa City resident and founder of Wild Bill's Coffee Shop in North Hall, with Bill Sackter Days, Nov. 13-14. All events are free and open to the public.

Sackter came to Iowa City after spending more than 40 years of his life in a Minneapolis institution for the mentally impaired. With the help of the faculty at the UI School of Social Work, and Barry Morrow, a former School of Social Work employee, Sackter began working in the school, serving coffee and snacks. This operation later grew into the full snack shop it is today, serving fresh sandwiches, cookies, bagels and donuts along with coffee, tea, and other beverages. Wild Bill's Coffee Shop provides work opportunities for Iowa City's disabled population and educational opportunities for UI students.

The Bill Sackter Days celebration will include a free showing of the award-winning movie "Bill," which Morrow wrote and directed and which aired in 1981, making Sackter a local celebrity. The movie will be shown at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 13, in Shambaugh Auditorium in the UI Main Library. Morrow, who went on to write the Oscar-winning movie "Rainman," will be in town for the celebration and will lead a discussion following the movie.

The celebration continues Saturday, Nov. 14 from 7:30-9:30 p.m. with an evening of free music, stories, and gourmet desserts. These events will be in Space Place in North Hall on the UI campus. Morrow will talk about his life and friendship with Bill as well as his work in Hollywood.

This year's celebration is marked by the release of a book about Sackter, "The Unlikely Celebrity: Bill Sackter's Triumph over Disability," written by Tom Walz, a UI professor of social work and published this fall by Southern Illinois University Press. Walz will sign copies of the book at all Bill Sackter Days events. The book costs $20, and all royalties from the book sales will be added to an endowment supporting Wild Bill's Coffee Shop.