Centennial commemoration of Jack Trice closes with ceremony, posthumous degree

Jack Trice

Jack Trice in 1923, an Iowa State football player, a track and field athlete and a student of animal husbandry. Larger photo. Photo courtesy of the Iowa State University Library Special Collections and University Archives.

AMES, Iowa – Iowa State University’s year-long commemoration of Jack Trice on the 100th anniversary of his death will close on Sunday, Oct. 8, with a central campus ceremony, including the awarding of a posthumous degree to family members.

The closing ceremony begins at noon near the Campanile. (In case of inclement weather, the event will move to the Durham Great Hall of the Memorial Union.) The event is free and open to the public.

The ceremony will feature:

“This ceremony culminates a year of outstanding programs and events that have broadened awareness and appreciation of Jack Trice’s story across Iowa and the nation – but his story doesn’t end here,” Wintersteen said. “Jack’s legacy of courage, commitment and character will remain an enduring source of pride and inspiration for generations to come.”


Remembering Jack Trice

Trice was Iowa State’s first Black athlete, competing on the football and track and field teams. He was a student of animal husbandry. And he aspired to use his education to help Black farmers in the South.

He suffered severe injuries in his second collegiate football game and died in Ames on Oct. 8, 1923. He was 21. He is the namesake of the university’s football stadium, the only stadium at the nation’s major college football schools to be named for a Black man.

George Trice inspects "Breaking Barriers."

George Trice inspects "Breaking Barriers."

Last November, the commemoration of Trice opened with the renaming of the street north of the stadium to “Jack Trice Way.” The university also unveiled the walk-through sculpture “Breaking Barriers” by Ivan Toth Depeña in the Albaugh Family Plaza just outside the stadium.

In August, the university celebrated Trice’s legacy at the Iowa State Fair with an exhibit featuring a replica of the “Breaking Barriers” sculpture and displays of Trice’s “I will” letter and the history of the naming of Jack Trice Stadium.

“The commemoration year has been a journey of remembrance, tradition, sacrifice and deep appreciation for the legacy Jack Trice left at Iowa State,” Younger said. “It has been amazing to learn more about Jack throughout the year and help share his story.” 


Other upcoming commemoration events

Artist talk: Ivan Toth Depeña will discuss the “Breaking Barriers” sculpture and the process of creating public art. The talk is 4:30 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 21, on the second floor of the Scheman Building.

Football game: The Cyclone football team will honor Trice during its game at 7 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 7, against TCU (televised by FOX or FS2) by wearing throwback uniforms featuring the five chevron bars that Trice and his teammates wore in 1923. The uniforms and helmets will also feature “I will” in Trice’s handwriting from the letter he wrote on the eve of his last football game: “The honor of my race, family, and self are at stake. Everyone is expecting me to do big things. I will!”

Lecture: “Moments of Impact: Examining the Legacy of Jack Trice,” by Jaime Schultz, the author of “Moments of Impact: Injury, Racialized Memory, and Reconciliation in College Football.” The book explores Jack Trice’s life and influence on Iowa State through the 1990s. The lecture is 6 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 3, in the Memorial Union’s Sun Room.

Lecture: “Trice 100: The Name, The Legacy,” by George Trice and Jill Wagner. They’ll discuss how students supported naming Jack Trice Stadium and how the Trice family honors Jack with the Trice Legacy Foundation. The lecture is 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 5, in Parks Library.

Exhibit: “Through the Photographic Lens of King Au: Honoring Jack Trice,” 1-4 p.m. special hours, Sunday, Oct. 8, in the Christian Petersen Art Museum.

Iowa Stater story: Iowa Stater magazine’s fall issue features Trice as its cover story, “Honoring Jack Trice: The lasting legacy of ISU’s first African American student-athlete, 100 years later.” The issue is expected to be mailed Oct. 17.

Website: Learn more about Jack Trice and the commemoration events here.