Upper Iowa University will celebrate “Blue Pride Worldwide” during its 100th Homecoming celebration Thursday–Saturday, Oct. 6–8. From the Bonfire Pep Rally and Coronation ceremony on the evening of Oct. 6 to the Hall of Fame Banquet on Oct. 8, a century of Peacock Pride will resonate across the Fayette campus and the entire UIU community.
A longtime educator will serve as the 2016 Homecoming Parade grand marshal. Vince Popolizio ’63 graduated from UIU with a bachelor’s degree in English, speech, drama and music. While attending the University, he served as Alpha Psi Omega president and as Sigma Tau Delta (honorary English fraternity) treasurer. In addition, Popolizio was a member of Pi Kappa Delta, Gamma Mu Sigma and the University Players.
Shortly after achieving his degree, the Schenectady, N.Y. native accepted a teaching position in Aurora, Ill., where he taught middle school speech, drama and English at Franklin Junior High. He moved back to his native New York in 1966, and taught at Burnt Hills/Ballston Lake, where he met his wife, Marcia. The couple married in 1967 and moved back to Illinois in 1968, where the UIU alumnus taught middle school English, speech and ceramics at Washington Middle School. From 1974 until his retirement from education in 1993, Popolizio taught English, speech and drama at West Aurora Senior High School. After he retired, the former teacher was appointed coordinator of student teacher placement at Aurora University.
Vince and Marcia Popolizio have been married for 49 years. The couple, who now reside in Plainfield, Ill., have one child and two grandchildren.
“I couldn’t believe it when I was asked to serve as the Homecoming grand marshal. I was ecstatic and I remain very honored,” said Vince, while noting his favorite Homecoming memory is when he helped build the GE float “Progress Is Our Most Important Product” during his junior year. “I have never forgotten how the entire staff, the professors and community were always there to help.”
In showing his appreciation for how his Upper Iowa education and other campus experiences have benefited him, Popolizio, 76, is among those who have donated funds to the UIU Liberal Arts Dean Fund. The former University Player explained that he donated the funds so that UIU can bring back fine arts education in music and theater.
The UIU Homecoming parade will begin in downtown Fayette at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 8.