Iowa Board of Regents approves request to name Kinnick Stadium field after Duke Slater

The Iowa Board of Regents approved a request from the University of Iowa on Wednesday to name the football field at Kinnick Stadium after the Hawkeyes' trailblazing star of the 1920s who later became the second Black judge in Chicago history. 

With the board's approval, the field is now Duke Slater Field at Kinnick Stadium. 

Slater's name will be permanently added to the field later this summer on the 25-yard lines in gold lettering. Additionally, a recognition of Slater and late Hawkeye great Alex Karras, also a member of the 2020 Class of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, is planned during Iowa’s game against Penn State on Saturday, Oct 9. 

“We are proud and honored to name the Kinnick Stadium playing field as Duke Slater Field,” Iowa athletic director Gary Barta said in a school release. “Much has been written about Duke’s incredible history and the boundaries he broke.

With the addition of the relief statue as part of the north endzone project and his recent induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, this was a proper capstone to honor a remarkable Hawkeye. As the description on the relief statue states ‘His life in football and beyond was defined by triumph and relentless breaking of boundaries.'"

Duke Slater was a star player for Iowa from 1918-1921. After his college career, Slater became the NFL's first Black lineman and is a Pro Football Hall of Fame member. During his 10-year career he was a two-way starter at tackle and the longest-tenured black player in the NFL. 

The Associated Press reported last week that the university planned to name the Kinnick Stadium field after Slater. There is a Slater Residence Hall, a dormitory located on the west side of the UI campus named in his honor already. A sculpture of Slater throwing a key block in Iowa’s 1921 win over Notre Dame is featured outside the north end zone of Kinnick Stadium.

Slater played offensive line for Iowa and was a 1921 All-American and member of the 1921 national championship team that went undefeated. He is also a member of the College Football Hall of Fame. 

He died in 1966 at the age of 67.