Alderman remembers Homecoming fondly

Second Ward Alderman

Second Ward Alderman

By Brennan Schneider

Bill Finucane, 2nd ward alderman and alumnus, fondly remembers the year he drove former Bear Ron Rivera during a Homecoming parade.

Finucane came to DeKalb in fall 1970, graduated from NIU in 1984 and received his master’s in 1991. Finucane said the Homecoming parades have gotten smaller, even though the hype for the game has grown.

Northern Star: What does Homecoming mean to you?

Bill Finucance: Well, I started working on campus in the fall of 1975 and retired the summer of 2013. It gives me the chance to catch up with old classmates and other faculty members. I have been involved in past Homecoming parades and there is such a different atmosphere on Homecoming game day, more than other game days. Since I worked in transportation I met many people and I enjoy catching up with everyone.

NS: What is a Homecoming memory that sticks out to you the most?

BF: Probably the year I got to drive around the grand marshall, his name was Ron Rivera. I drove him around in the parade. He was a former [Chicago] Bear and now he is the head coach of the Carolina Panthers.

NS: How have past Homecomings been different from when you were a student here?

BF: Well, when I was a student events used to be bigger. Parades were so much bigger in the ’70s. The Athletics Hall of Fame Banquet used to be held the Friday before Homecoming. Now some people don’t even know there is a Homecoming parade. A thousand people used to stand around and watch the parade. The atmosphere right before game time is much bigger than it was back in earlier Homecomings, but during the week events are much smaller and unknown.

NS: What are you looking forward to this year?

BF: I am looking forward to the football game itself and getting the chance to chat with the folks coming back whether they are returning alumni or staff. Living in DeKalb has its advantages. I get to stay connected with the university. I’m excited to see what other folks show up next week.

NS: How do you and your family celebrate Homecoming?

BF: Well, for the football game itself I am part of the game’s management and work up in the operations room with the play clock and my wife and some friends have season tickets so we are always at the football games. But, I’ll definitely make an effort to make it to the parade next week and get a chance to see that and be able to get to the other events.

Hopefully, things will work in my favor with scheduling. I’ll be on campus early on Saturday to catch up with those folks that I don’t get a chance to see very often.