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SIU Salukis to celebrate homecoming with 2-time Olympian DeAnna Price as grand marshal

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Tokyo Olympics Athletics

Deanna Price, of the United States, competes in the women's hammer throw final at the 2020 Summer Olympics Tuesday in Tokyo. Battling a fractured foot, Price fouled on three of her six attempts and finished eighth.

Olympian and Southern Illinois University Carbondale alumna DeAnna Price, comedian Chico Bean and exciting football featuring the nationally ranked Salukis once again show that “SIU Is All That” as the university celebrates Homecoming 2021.

“SIU Is All That: A Flashback to the ‘90s” is the theme for the festival, which runs through Oct. 16. It is a time for current students, returning alumni and the community to gather and celebrate Southern-style. The COVID-19 pandemic forced cancellation of the 2020 homecoming.

“We are excited to be able to host SIU Homecoming again this year,” said Carly Holtkamp, Student Center Programs assistant director. “We are looking forward to showcasing Saluki pride on campus and in the community.”

SIU Homecoming Parade

Jim Blair (right) and his saluki dogs greet spectators during a previous SIU Homecoming Parade.

The majority of the events are open to the public and most are free. SIU is committed to protecting the community, so all those attending homecoming events must follow current campus and state pandemic safety protocols and wear masks in shared indoor spaces.  

World champion, Olympian Price is grand marshal

Price, a two-time Olympic athlete and SIU alumna, will preside over the festivities as grand marshal. A native of St. Charles, Missouri, she graduated from SIU in 2016 with an accounting degree.

Price placed eighth in the women’s hammer throw in both the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and the delayed 2020 Olympics held in Tokyo in August. She became the first American woman to win an international medal, taking gold at the World Championships in 2019. Her career also includes numerous other accomplishments, including a pair of national championships in the hammer throw as a Saluki track and field star at SIU.

Price will lead the homecoming parade that starts at 10 a.m. Oct. 16 and be a guest at the Saluki football game later in the day.

Pep rally, block party, concert and other activities set

The homecoming schedule is filled with a diverse selection of activities.

The popular Saluki Block party is back this year and it’s free for students and the public. Activities include games, a rock climbing wall from Touch of Nature Environmental Center, photo booth, a DJ, fun rides and henna tattoos from the SIU Craft Shop. It all happens from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Oct. 14 on Lincoln Drive in front of Pulliam Hall. To ensure public health and safety, no pets, smoking, glass bottles or solicitation are permitted. There will also be food vendors on site featuring a variety of menu options.

The fun continues the following night, Oct. 15, with the “Rock and Rolled Homecoming Concert” in the Alumni Center Courtyard behind Woody Hall. The event, featuring food trucks, a cash bar and music by the Jungle Dogs, begins at 7:30 p.m.

Everyone is welcome at the SIU Alumni Association Event but those planning to attend are asked to RSVP online.

Other homecoming activities that are open to the public include:

  • American Red Cross Blood Drive, 11:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Oct. 13, first floor of the Student Center.
  • Saluki Alumni Plaza ribbon cutting, 4 p.m. Oct. 15, behind Woody Hall.
  • Rocked and Rolled Reception, 4:30-6:50 p.m. Oct. 15, Faner Hall, first floor University Museum, lobby area and auditorium. The University Museum event features the works of Illinois artists and photographers focusing on performers including Aerosmith, The Grateful Dead and James Brown. Light refreshments will be served.
  • Alumni Center naming dedication, 6 p.m., Oct. 15, Alumni Center, Woody Hall.
  • Alpha Phi Alpha Step Show, featuring SIU Greek organizations showcasing their members’ talents via step routines, 7 p.m. Oct. 15, Shryock Auditorium. All are welcome; admission is $10.

Culminates with parade, game

The week’s festivities all lead to Saturday, Oct. 16 with the parade, tailgating, football and more.

The homecoming parade begins at 10 a.m., winding through the streets of Carbondale and wrapping up at the Student Center. There’s still time for floats, bands and other participants to enter and compete for trophies. The entry deadline is Friday, Oct. 8. Applications and all of the details are online at homecoming.siu.edu/homecoming-parade.

After the parade, tailgating fun takes place on Saluki Row outside of Saluki Stadium from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. The SIU Alumni Association is sponsoring the Carbondale in the ‘80s and ‘90s Homecoming Tailgate featuring food and entertainment with alumnus Todd Thomas, the St. Louis Cardinals in-game host, serving as emcee. Get tickets (which include admission to the football game) in advance by Oct. 8 for $20 plus fees for people under age 21 and $30 plus fees for those age 21 and older.  Tickets will be available at the door for a higher cost. 

The Saluki football team faces the North Dakota Fighting Hawks at 2 p.m.  Homecoming royalty will be crowned at halftime.

Saluki sports action continues with the Saluki volleyball team taking on Missouri State at 5 p.m. in Davies Gym. Other Saturday events include a homecoming reunion breakfast, the Miss Eboness Pageant, and Mimosas at the Museum, set for 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the University Museum.

Find the complete schedule of events and additional information about SIU Homecoming 2021 at homecoming.siu.edu

SIU football coach Nick Hill recaps the wild weekend at South Dakota State and looks ahead to this weekend's game against North Dakota and Homecoming.

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