Here come the Hawkeyes! This week, Chicago goes black and gold as University of Iowa fans turn out for a historic football opener—a Sept. 1 game pitting Iowa and Northern Illinois University at Soldier Field.
Friday, Aug. 31, is Black and Gold Day, a chance for Chicago-area residents and visitors to greet Hawkeye mascot Herky as he tours the Loop, or to win prizes from Hawk Patrol teams scouting downtown Chicago for Iowa colors. A Hawkeye Huddle at Navy Pier caps the day. The UI Alumni Association offers details on these and other special events.
Saturday’s game is the first Hawkeye football contest in Chicago, but ties between The University of Iowa and the Windy City go way back. Chicago represents the largest concentration of UI alumni outside Iowa—more than 29,000 graduates and contributors live in the area.
About a third of UI students hail from the Chicago area—including 1,197, or 28 percent, of this fall’s first-year students—and more than 150 Chicago employers recruit on campus each year. Last year, the University opened its Chicago Center on Michigan Avenue to build ties with area businesses and to show Chicagoland the education and career opportunities available at Iowa.
Other connections include Project 3000, a collaboration between Chicago Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee, Boston Celtics CEO Wyc Grousbeck, and UI scientists searching for all 3,000 people in the United States with Leber’s congenital amaurosis, a rare eye disease. In honor of the project, the Cubs extend Iowa fans a special invitation to their Aug. 31 game at Wrigley Field.
Iowa-Chicago ties span the worlds of sport, business, and the arts. Former Hawkeyes who chose Chicago to go pro include the Bears’ Mark Bortz, Jay Hilgenberg, and Clinton Solomon, and the Bulls’ Bobby Hansen and B.J. Armstrong.
In Chicago business, notable UI alumni include Michael Maves (MBA ’88), executive vice president and CEO of the American Medical Association; Dan McLean (BA ’70), president and CEO of MCL Companies; John R. Hall (MBA ’66), founder and president of Goose Island Brewery; Matthew Bucksbaum (BA ’49), former chairman of General Growth Properties; and Herbert Nipson (MFA ’48), former executive editor of Ebony magazine.
From the arts scene, the Chicago-based Joffrey Ballet this summer offered free performances across Iowa to mark the company’s 30-year relationship with the University’s Hancher Auditorium. The many Chicago writers with Iowa ties include I Sailed with Magellan author Stuart Dybek, who taught at Iowa’s famed Writers’ Workshop, and Michele Morano, a UI grad named one of the “People to Watch in 2007” by Time Out Chicago.
A three-and-a-half hour drive separates Chicago and Iowa City, but the wealth of connections makes them much closer. This weekend’s football rivalry aside, The University of Iowa, Chicago, and their respective states, remain great neighbors.
UI Alumni Association home page
UI Chicago Center
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