University honors Jack Trice with year-long centennial commemoration

Over the next year, Iowa State will commemorate Jack Trice, the university's first Black athlete who aspired to use his education to help Black farmers in the South.

Jack Trice in Iowa State football uniform of 1923

Jack Trice in 1923. Photo courtesy of Special Collections and University Archives.

Trice was an Iowa State student of animal husbandry and a member of the Cyclone football and track and field teams. He suffered severe injuries in his second collegiate football game and died in Ames on Oct. 8, 1923. He was 21.

Trice is the namesake of the university's football stadium, the only one at the nation's major college football schools to be named for a Black man.

There will be major centennial programs and events to honor him, including a new sculpture at Jack Trice Stadium, a new name for the street just north of the stadium, a lecture series, a university museums exhibition, a Cyclone football game featuring Jack Trice-era throwback uniforms and a new website, Additional programs and events will be announced over the coming year and posted to the website.

"Jack Trice's legacy of courage, commitment and character is a source of tremendous pride and inspiration for all Iowa Staters," said President Wendy Wintersteen. "This year-long centennial commemoration is an important way to uplift and share the full breadth of Jack's story with a broad audience across Iowa and the nation. It's also an opportunity to recognize our students and student-athletes who exemplify Jack's 'I Will' spirit every day in the classroom, in competition and all across our campus."

Trice, student and athlete

Toyia Younger, senior vice president for student affairs and chair of the commemoration committee, said the programs and events are an opportunity to learn about Trice as more than an athlete.

"This celebration will honor Iowa State University's first Black athlete, but it will also shine a light on what Jack Trice accomplished when he wasn't in uniform," Younger said. "When most people think of Jack, they think of his contribution to ISU athletics. We are excited for people to understand the depth and breadth of the sacrifices and challenges he made to pave the way for others."

Here are the commemoration's major programs:

Artist rendering of Jack Trice sculpture

Artist's rendering of Jack Trice sculpture.

  • Art installation. A concrete and bronze sculpture, "Breaking Barriers," by Ivan Toth Depeña of Charlotte, North Carolina, will be installed in the Albaugh Family Plaza outside Jack Trice Stadium later this month. University museums commissioned the sculpture with support from its own Joyce Tomlinson Brewer Fund for Art Acquisition, the office of the president, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the athletics department. University museums shared additional details, including artist renderings.
  • Jack Trice Way. The section of South Fourth Street directly north of Jack Trice Stadium, between Beach Avenue and University Boulevard, will be renamed Jack Trice Way. The change will require city action. That action and the installation of new street signs will be announced later.
  • Lecture series. The university will host a lecture series this academic year. The series is intended to inspire meaningful conversations about race and the legacy of Jack Trice. Details will be announced later.
  • Exhibition, "Honoring Jack Trice." The exhibition will be curated by university museums staff and presented at the Christian Petersen Art Museum's Neva M. Petersen Gallery in Morrill Hall from Jan. 17 to Oct. 10, 2023. Exhibition-related programs and tours, along with additional details, will be announced later.
  • Throwback uniforms. Throwback football uniforms will be featured at a Cyclone home game during the 2023 season.

"It is our responsibility, in partnership with the campus community, to keep Jack's courageous story alive for future generations of Cyclones," said athletics director Jamie Pollard. "The centennial anniversary of this tragedy affords all of us the opportunity to encourage meaningful dialogue about personal character and commitment to always doing one's best, by sharing Jack's story well beyond the Iowa State community."

The committee

Serving with Younger on the commemoration committee are:

  • Vanessa Baker-Latimer, City of Ames (ex-officio)
  • Jordan Brooks, director of equity, inclusion and multicultural student success, College of Design
  • Shamaree Brown, senior associate director, athletics
  • Doug and Karen Jeske, alumni (ex-officio)
  • Jacy Johnson, associate vice president, strategic relations and communications
  • Jeff Johnson, president and CEO, ISU Alumni Association
  • Nick Joos, senior associate director, athletics
  • Tera Jordan, assistant provost for faculty development
  • Liz McAllister, director of development, Iowa State University Foundation
  • Julian Neely, alumnus and past president of student government
  • Sharon Perry-Fantini, vice president for diversity and inclusion
  • Ryan Peterson, ISU Foundation communications
  • Lynette Pohlman, director, University Museums
  • George Trice, alumnus and relative of Jack Trice (ex-officio)
  • Jill Wagner, alumna and past president of student government
  • Leesha Arunsiripate Zimmerman, director, trademark licensing