The City of Naperville helped celebrate North Central College’s Sesquicentennial during the annual Last Fling Labor Day Parade.
Grand marshal was Harold R. “Hal” Wilde, North Central College president since 1991. Wilde rode in a convertible with his wife, Benna, near the front of the parade.
This year’s theme was, “A College in Its Community,” celebrating the town-and-gown relationship that Naperville and North Central College have shared since 1870. Many floats and vehicles representing community organizations shared in the fun by featuring North Central College pennants and signs.
Along the parade route, Cardinal red was the order of the day. Many alumni watching the parade wore North Central gear. North Central College students involved in fine arts and women’s soccer walked alongside the College’s float and handed out hundreds of T-shirts to parade-watchers, especially kids. The shirts featured the College’s Sesquicentennial logo, “150 Years: A Promising Start.”
Musical theatre students also entertained the crowd by singing show tunes from aboard the College’s float, and other students also handed out information about upcoming shows.
The salute to North Central College was a highlight of the parade, North Central alumna Mary Gordon of Lisle came with her daughter and son-in-law, Lori and Mike Miller, of Batavia, and Gordon told The Naperville Sun that having the College be a part of the local community “is a great thing for Naperville.”
“I graduated in 1980 as a mid-life college student, and I really think that North Central College and Naperville are a great combination,” she said. “I think the students that come really like to be here, and having the campus so close to downtown adds a lot to the community as well as to the students’ college experience.”