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."
The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) is the second-largest university in Houston and 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 approximately 14,000 students, boasts more than 66,000 alumni, and offers 45 bachelor’s degrees, 12 master’s degrees, and 19 online programs within four colleges: Marilyn Davies College of Business, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, College of Public Service, and College of Sciences and Technology. UHD has one of the lowest tuition rates in Texas.
U.S. News and World Report ranked UHD among the nation’s Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Applied Administration and Best Online Master’s Programs in Criminal Justice, as well as a Top Performer in Social Mobility. The Wall Street Journal/College Pulse ranked UHD one of the best colleges in the U.S. for its 2024 rankings, with notable distinctions: No. 1 for diversity (tied) and No. 3 for student experience. The University is designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, a Minority-Serving Institution, and a Military Friendly School. For more information on the University of Houston-Downtown, visit uhd.edu.