CONTACT: MARY GERAGHTY
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0011; fax (319) 384-0024
UI School of Social Work remembers Bill Sackter with weekend celebration
(Editors note: Interviews with Barry Morrow, Tom Walz, and Wild Bill's
Coffee Shop staff members can be arranged by contacting Walz at 319/335-1273.)
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Once again, the University of Iowa School of Social
Work will celebrate the life and spirit of Bill Sackter, a former Iowa
City resident and founder of Wild Bill's Coffee Shop in North Hall, with
Bill Sackter Days, Nov. 13-14. All events are free and open to the public.
Sackter came to Iowa City after spending more than 40 years of his life
in a Minneapolis institution for the mentally impaired. With the help of
the faculty at the UI School of Social Work, and Barry Morrow, a former
School of Social Work employee, Sackter began working in the school, serving
coffee and snacks. This operation later grew into the full snack shop it
is today, serving fresh sandwiches, cookies, bagels and donuts along with
coffee, tea, and other beverages. Wild Bill's Coffee Shop provides work
opportunities for Iowa City's disabled population and educational opportunities
for UI students.
The Bill Sackter Days celebration will include a free showing of the
award-winning movie "Bill," which Morrow wrote and directed and
which aired in 1981, making Sackter a local celebrity. The movie will be
shown at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 13, in Shambaugh Auditorium in the UI Main
Library. Morrow, who went on to write the Oscar-winning movie "Rainman,"
will be in town for the celebration and will lead a discussion following
The celebration continues Saturday, Nov. 14 from 7:30-9:30 p.m. with
an evening of free music, stories, and gourmet desserts. These events will
be in Space Place in North Hall on the UI campus. Morrow will talk about
his life and friendship with Bill as well as his work in Hollywood.
This year's celebration is marked by the release of a book about Sackter,
"The Unlikely Celebrity: Bill Sackter's Triumph over Disability,"
written by Tom Walz, a UI professor of social work and published this fall
by Southern Illinois University Press. Walz will sign copies of the book
at all Bill Sackter Days events. The book costs $20, and all royalties
from the book sales will be added to an endowment supporting Wild Bill's