11:50 AM

Spirit Teams Participate in MLK Day Parade

Cheerleaders, Gatorettes Showcased in Annual Celebration


By Mike Emery

On Martin Luther King Jr. Day (Jan. 20), Americans will reflect on the life and memory of the famed civil rights leader. Among the celebrations planned in the Houston community is the 26th annual MLK Grande Parade featuring the University of Houston-Downtown’s spirit ambassadors.

For six years, UHD's Cheerleaders and Gatorettes Dance Team have participated in this procession, which is the third largest parade in the U.S. with approximately 300,000 spectators and more than 4 million television/online viewers. This year, they continue the tradition of celebrating this special day alongside community leaders and other dignitaries.

The parade begins at 10 a.m., Jan. 20 and will run through Midtown from the intersection of San Jacinto and Elgin streets to Webster Street. More details on the route and the parade are available on the MLK Grande Parade website.

The Cheerleaders and Gatorettes are based within UHD’s Sports & Fitness department. Both clubs perform at events on campus and in the community. In addition to the MLK Grande Parade, UHD's spirit teams regularly participate in the annual Thanksgiving Day Parade and Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo Parade. They also compete at regional competitions, including the National Cheerleading Association Spring Classic and the American Dance/Drill Team Collegiate Nationals.

"It is important for our student groups to actively participate in community activities such as the MLK Grande Parade," said Richard Sebastiani, director of Sports & Fitness. "These events are perfect opportunities to provide UHD with enhanced visibility in the community and to showcase our school spirit. They also are excellent opportunities for our students to develop leadership, networking, communication and planning skills through a collaborative effort. It is my hope that our club teams continue to lead the way with building and strengthening these traditions with their participation in these wonderful parades."

About the University of Houston-Downtown

The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) – the second-largest university in Houston – has served the educational needs of the nation’s fourth-largest city since 1974.

As one of four distinct public universities in the University of Houston System, UHD is a comprehensive four-year university led by President Loren J. Blanchard. Annually, UHD educates more than 15,000 students; boasts more than 61,000 alumni and offers 45 bachelor’s, nine master’s degree programs and 16 fully online programs within five colleges (Marilyn Davies College of Business; Humanities & Social Sciences; Public Service; Sciences & Technology; and University College).

For the fourth consecutive year, U.S. News & World Report ranks UHD among universities across the nation for Best Online Criminal Justice Programs (No. 27 and No. 15 for Veterans) and Best Online Bachelor’s Programs.

UHD has the most affordable tuition among four-year universities in Houston and one of the lowest in Texas. U.S. News ranked the University among Top Performers on Social Mobility and awarded UHD a No. 1 ranking as the most diverse institution of higher education in the southern region of the U.S. The University is noted nationally as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, Minority-Serving Institution and Military Friendly School. For more on the University of Houston-Downtown, visit www.uhd.edu.