NIU Plays in the New Years Day 2013 Orange Bowl
I’ll be there in section 112 row 18.
I’m a little full of myself- Row 18 and all.
Really, I’d like to think of row 18 symbolizing what NIU alumni are feeling- maybe even what the whole student body is experiencing- validation.
My Journey to NIU
My older sister went to Northwestern. She met her husband there, fell in love, and got married. The next brother was sent to Bradley, another private, Illinois school. As the youngest of four, my fate was altered by their degrees. Dad determined that a private school education was no better than a public university’s education and that the later was much better for his retirement. The school in DeKalb, IL looked good to him.
My parents drove me to Northern Illinois University where I met with Dr. Arthur Doederlein. He was NIU’s undergrad, COMS department coordinator. We met and he waived me into some junior level courses as a freshman, so that I was able to fit in all of my teaching degree’s requirements, as well as pursue a career in media. I was off to Illinois’ second largest, public university- an economical choice.
In class, Dr. Doederlein once said, “You kids are the ones who didn’t have the grades for U of I and most you grew up in working class families.” One shoe didn’t fit us all, however that shoe fit many.
NIU at the Orange Bowl is Victory for the Underrated
But the university has evolved. As I wind down my time at Miami Beach’s Fountaine Bleau, I’ve noticed fans cheering “Go Huskies!” Strangers high-five strangers in the Miami sun. Frigid Northerners nod at each other in the elevators. It’s an unusual camaraderie for what was once Chicagoland’s suitcase school.
I’m not sure if the students playing in today’s Orange Bowl realize the depth of what they’re doing for the university. Playing at the Orange Bowl is a victory for underdogs here, there, and everywhere. And, imagine if they win, today. Oh, how sweet that’ll taste. The Herbstreits in our lives will have to bite their toe nails. We are just as smart and capable- no matter what the field and we’re in your face. It’s a new era for the university and the alumni are in. Here’s to Huskie Pride renewed!
In the wee hours of the 2013 New Year, I met a NIU grad who was a tight end in the seventies. He pulled out his photos and proudly showed the day he cracked someone’s ribs. “Now, I’m just a bum working in a factory making $15 per hour, but I was the baddest bad ass on the NIU football field back then.” Today’s football team inspires the old timers – anything is possible. You don’t have to be stuck in life. You CAN make a new name for yourself – a new year for yourself.
NIU’s Social Media Team Rises to the National Challenge
My former mentors in NIU’s media services department have been assigned a big task. They are social media messaging about Northern’s increase in donations, applicants, and spirit wear. They’ve adjusted to 24 hour coverage by the national press. Brad Hoey, Jay Orbik, and Holly Nicholson are just a few of these new media enthusiasts who energize an entire team devoted to monitoring Facebook and Twitter. Messages forward to their phones and they are handling the numerous public appearances. No one wants to blink as they ride this wave to new highs. The retiring NIU president, Dr. John G. Peters, whom I’ve now seen at least a half dozen events this week, has brilliantly guided the university through this era. He just keeps going. Morning and evening he’s mingling with people. He’s chosen good people to drive the various departments of the NIU bus as he quietly works the rooms and media behind the scenes. Not only does the football team deserve to be here. The entire NIU team is posed for sweet success.
Here’s to Miami’s Orange Bowl
Miami, you are a welcoming and generous host city. While walking on the beach, Seminole fans have approached us wanting to know more. Of course Florida thinks it’ll win, but those welcome billboards at the entrances to the city are signs of a great host.
But, it’s NIU’s time. We can feel it.
We’re basking in the thaw of 20 degree temps. Let’s make New Years in Miami a tradition! ~Jean
Update: Just back from the game where the Florida State Seminoles beat the NIU Huskies 31 to 10. Ah, well. Our team heads back to the pound with a bone to gnaw. Hold your heads high, players. This season brought the school together and it sure was fun! Governor Quinn of Illinois even declared the day, Northern Illinois University Huskie Day.