Screen readers: Two navigational links to follow.Skip to site navigation.Skip to page content.
The University of Iowa News Services
The University of Iowa News Services Home News Releases UI in the News Subscribe to UI News Contact Us

University of Iowa News Release


July 10, 2008

Celebrate diversity in Chicago with the UI family August 7-8

UI students, alumni, faculty and staff are invited to show their Hawkeye pride and commitment to diversity by marching in Chicago's 80th Annual Bud Billiken Parade at 10 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 8.

In the university's second consecutive entry in the popular event, Herky and other Hawkeyes will support the Windy City, home to a third of the UI student body and more than half of the university's minority student applicants.

The UI community is also invited to a Commitment to Diversity Social preceding the parade from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 7, at the UI's Chicago Center, 22 W. Washington St., 15th Floor, in downtown Chicago.

Registration for both events is available at The deadline to sign up is July 31. There is no cost to participate. Registrants will receive an e-mail the exact meeting time and location the week of the parade.

Since the first Bud Billiken Parade and Picnic in 1929, more than 50 million children and their families have made this event a day of community and celebration of African American togetherness. It draws more than 75,000 participants and 1.5 million persons along the parade route, and 25 million viewers during its national telecast on WGN.

The largest parade of its kind in the United States, it has been graced over the years by celebrities and dignitaries such as President Harry S. Truman, Muhammad Ali, Duke Ellington, Oprah Winfrey, Spike Lee, Michael Jordan, and Barack Obama. The parade is named after Bud Billiken, a fictitious person created by author Willard Motley, who wrote a column for the Chicago Defender.

Because the parade is also a back-to-school celebration, staff at the UI Chicago Center are collecting school supplies including pens, pencils, notepads, folders, t-shirts, key chains and toothbrushes.  These much-needed items will be donated to students at Thomas Chalmers Specialty School, a public school adopted by the Chicago Iowa Club. Materials may be shipped to: UI Chicago Center, 22 W. Washington St., Suite 1500, Chicago, Ill., 60602. To arrange for pickup in Iowa City, e-mail Erin Bloomquist at by Friday, July 31.

The UI Chicago Center ( opened in the heart of the loop in December 2006 to provide Chicagoland residents with first-hand information about the many educational and career opportunities available at the UI and to connect UI alumni with Iowa employers.

For more information about the UI entry in the Bud Billiken Parade or the Commitment to Diversity Social, contact Erin Bloomquist ( at the UI Chicago Center.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACTS: Erin Bloomquist, UI Chicago Center,,; George McCrory, University News Services, 319-384-0012,