Ponce, a junior from St. Charles majoring in general engineering, was announced as the 37th Chief Illiniwek on a rainy Monday morning in front of the Alma Mater statue on campus. UI sophomore Rob Zaldivar of Palatine was announced as assistant Chief Illiniwek.
The two were selected this past weekend by the Council of Chiefs, a group of former chiefs, following a weekend audition in Gibson City.
The UI officially retired the Chief in 2007.
For more on the subject, see Team Names and Mascots and The Big Chief.