First-time parade participant Dana Niswonger ’19, who will be a biotechnology graduate student this fall, led the Illinois State float waving a 4-foot-long Illinois State Pride flag in the air. “My reaction to the crowd cheering ‘I-S-U’ was to swing the flag around more and hype up the crowd. Seeing so many alumni and students cheering for us also made me feel like I was a part of something bigger, something more, in a way I never quite have before participating in the parade,” she said.
The 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots presented an opportunity for Illinois State to do something special by participating in the parade and to reconnect with alumni from the Chicago area. Illinois State was placed among other universities in Illinois in the parade and marched 66th of 163 floats.