The UM Alumni Association has appointed former Hurricanes football star Jim Kelly as Grand Marshal for the Alumni Weekend and Homecoming Parade, at 7 p.m. on Oct. 31 in Walsh Ave and Merrick and Stanford Drive. The Grand Marshal is responsible for leading the Homecoming Parade, together with President Shalala, Sebastian the Ibis, the Band of the Hour and the Hurricane Cheerleaders.
“The University of Miami has a rich tradition of accomplished and distinguished alumni and we are excited to have Mr. Kelly and his family back on campus,” said Cynthia Cochran, director of Alumni Programs.
Kelly was the Hurricanes’ quarterback from 1979 to 1983 and made the UM Sports Hall of Fame in 1992 after paving the way to make Miami the highest- ranked NCAA Division I-A team in 1983. He was the first to adopt the nickname “Quarterback U” and, during his professional career, he earned a spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2002 for leading the Buffalo Bills to four consecutive Super Bowls, among other accomplishments.
“I’ve been a Canes fan my entire life, so I heard about Jim Kelly when I was a kid,” said Roly Calderin, this year’s homecoming chair. “And the strength and perseverance he’s had to show the past year is very admirable. He’s a great pick.”
Kelly has recently won his one-year battle against cancer, after being diagnosed with the disease in June of last year. He also established a non-profit foundation called Hunter’s Hope after his son, Hunter James Kelly, passed away at the age of eight due to Krabbe disease. His foundation then developed into the Hunter James Kelly Research Institute at the University of Buffalo.
“It’s a powerful statement for the university to bring back someone who’s been so beneficial both while he was here and afterwards,” said O’Shane Elliot, member of the Homecoming King and Queen Committee.
Kelly was also chosen as the Honorary Captain for the Homecoming football game against North Carolina. He will receive recognition for his achievements on the field before kickoff on Nov. 1.