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Olympic Medalist Matt Grevers to Lead 2008 Homecoming Parade

October 7, 2008 | by Judy Moore
EVANSTON, Ill. --- Three-time Olympic medalist, Northwestern alumnus and Lake Forest resident Matt Grevers will be the celebrity attraction during Northwestern University's 2008 Homecoming festivities the weekend of Oct. 17 and 18.

Grevers, an alumnus of the School of Communication, will serve as the Grand Marshal for the Friday night (Oct. 17) Homecoming Parade.

The swimmer won two gold medals as a member of USA relay squads and took an individual silver medal in the 100-meter backstroke at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. A specialist in both freestyle and backstroke as an amateur, Grevers focused all of his Olympic training on freestyle, making his accomplishments in backstroke even more remarkable.

During the 2008 Olympics, Grevers was on the 4x100-meter freestyle relay team that broke the world record in the preliminary rounds. Since his parents emigrated from the Netherlands, Grevers' decision to swim for the U.S. team has made him a national hero.

As a teenager, he was named the Chicago Sun-Times Athlete of the Year on the way to leading Lake Forest High School to its first state title. In his senior year, he broke the state record in the 50- and 100-yard freestyle and the 100-yard backstroke, records that still stand today. He is the only high school athlete in Illinois to swim the 50-yard sprint in less than 20 seconds.

Sought after by every top swimming program in the country, Grevers turned down Texas, Arizona and California to swim for Northwestern University, becoming one of the top swimmers in NCAA history.

Northwestern's 2008 Homecoming Parade begins at 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 17, at the intersection of Sheridan Road and Chicago Avenue and proceeds north on Sheridan Road to Lincoln Street. This year, the student-run Homecoming committee has selected "Where in the World Is Willie the Wildcat?" as the parade's international theme. Taking a cue from "Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego," the committee is encouraging student groups to participate in international-themed activities and international themes for their parade floats.

Beginning at 5:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 17, there will be limited access to and from Northwestern's Evanston campus prior to and during Northwestern's Homecoming Parade. Access to all lots and drives east of Sheridan Road will be closed until the parade ends at approximately 9:30 p.m. Lincoln Street will remain open to westbound traffic until the parade reaches the street, after which it will be closed until the parade concludes.

Other Homecoming events on the University's Evanston campus that are open to the public include the Friday night pre-parade Homecoming concert and pep rally and post-parade fireworks display and the Saturday football game.
  • During the 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 17, Northwestern University Marching Band's Homecoming Concert and Pep Rally at Cahn Auditorium, 600 Emerson St., Henry and Leigh Bienen School of Music faculty member Daniel J. Farris will conduct the Wildcat Marching Band in a performance of pre-game, half-time and Ryan Field favorites. The program will also feature appearances by the Northwestern Ladycats dance team, cheerleaders, Color Guard, Willie the mascot and Wildcats football Head Coach Pat Fitzgerald. Admission is free. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.
  • The Homecoming Parade will be followed by a fireworks display along the lakefront which will begin at approximately 9 p.m. on the North Beach adjacent to the Northwestern campus with viewing available anywhere along Evanston's lakefront.
  • The 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 18, Homecoming Game between the Northwestern Wildcats and the Purdue Boilermakers will be held at Ryan Field, 1501 Central St. Tickets for reserved seats in the west and east stands are $50; end-zone tickets are $35 for the general public and $30 for graduate students with IDs. Undergraduate students are free with IDs. Corner seats (section 113) for groups of 50 or more are $25 each. To purchase tickets by phone, call (847) 491-2287 (CATS), online at http://www.nusports.com or visit the Northwestern Athletic Ticket Office at 1501 Central St., Evanston campus. The ticket office is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
For more information about Northwestern University 2008 Homecoming events, visit
http://groups.northwestern.edu/homecoming and the Northwestern Alumni Association (NAA) Web page at http://www.alumni.northwestern.edu.
Topics: Campus Life