Homecoming parade to include Honorary Grand Marshals

Steven Barnum, Assistant News Editor

Six decades after riding in his first parade, a Western Illinois University grad will serve as the grand marshal in this year’s Homecoming Parade.

George Baughman, 80, has witnessed every Western Homecoming parade since 1958 aside from when he was serving in World War II. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in education, Baughman went on to earn a master’s degree in the same field just a few years later. Post- Western, he was an advisor, administrator, teacher and coach for 37 years. One of the stops on his career path included Spoon River College.

Amy Spelman is the Alumni Programs Director at Western and she is excited to see Baughman participate in the parade.

“He is such a beloved member of our University community, a great alumnus and a true, true friend,” Spelman said. “We are lucky to have the opportunity to honor him in this way for all he has done for his alma mater.”

Even after completing his education at Western, Baughman has been active in helping the community. He was a member of the Western Alumni Council, the Western Illinois Business Teachers Association and Western’s Library Leadership Board. In 2015, Baughman received recognition for his dedication with a Western Alumni Achievement Award. Baughman, who also found time to manage his farm, remains an avid supporter of his former fraternity, Delta Sigma Phi. He was a long-time member of the fraternity’s advisory board, even being named “Greek Advisor of the Year” in 2000. He even served on the alumni corporation board of Gamma Kappa Chapter of Delta Sigma Phi.

Students at Western can thank Baughman for his donations and gifts over the years. The Performing Arts Society, several Alumni programs and the Malpass Library have all benefitted from his generosity. Additionally, he helped create a scholarship in his name for the College of Business and Technology at Western. Now a car enthusiast, Baughman makes his way all around the United States to both spectate and judge antique car shows. He also enjoys adding antique cars to his personal collection. “It’s George’s year of the eights: he celebrated his 80th birthday this year; graduated from WIU 58 years ago; while has been coming to WIU Homecoming since he was a baby, his first WIU Homecoming memory was when he was eight years old; and now it has come full circle as he will serve as our 2018 grand marshal,” Spelman said.

The Homecoming Parade will include another significant presence. Since Rocky (Col. Rock III), Western’s bulldog mascot, is retiring, he will also act as an honorary grand marshal in the parade. Rocky will soon be passing the baton to Ray (Col. Rock IV), Western’s next mascot. Since his retirement, Rocky has been living with his owner, Joe Roselieb. Roselieb is also the director of residential and auxiliary facilities for Student Services at Western.

“This continues to be the year of eights as Rocky retired after eight years as our mascot and turned eight on March 2 this year. We wish him well in retirement and look forward to seeing him during the parade,” Spelman said.

For those looking to see Baughman and Rocky, the Homecoming Parade will begin on the Macomb Square on Saturday, Sept. 29 at 10:30 a.m. The parade will also be making its way by the Alumni House.