Five Favorites: University of Illinois

Five Favorites: University of Illinois

Gavin and I went back to the University of Illinois this weekend for homecoming. We met tailgating our senior year so heading back to the fields and parking lots south of Memorial Stadium always makes me feel warmly nostalgic.  Here are five of my (many) favorite things about our great university!

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1. Homecoming! The University of Illinois has the first collegiate homecoming experience, starting in 1910. They skipped homecoming in 1918, so it’s not the longest running homecoming, but it is the oldest official college homecoming.

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2. The Morrow Plots. How can you not love the first experimental field in the US, located right on the main quad? It’s now a National Historic Landmark and the university built the neighboring undergraduate library underground, so as to not cast a shadow on the corn.

3. The Altgeld Bells. I would think this bell tower above our main math building (slash castle) is awesome even if Gavin hadn’t taken me there on our first date and subsequently proposed to me there. If you’re on campus, take a tour!

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4. Libraries. The University of Illinois has the fifth-largest library in the US and the second-largest academic library in the US. There are tons of library buildings, plus the huge stacks. Gavin and I went into the stacks as part of our senior year bucket list and I was in awe of the sheer number of items.

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5. Illinois Loyalty. While I like all of the songs, this one is my absolute favorite. It was written in 1906 and was eventually replaced with a more appropriate fight song, but the lyrics are amazing, especially the last few lines.

We’re loyal to you, Illinois,
We’re “Orange and Blue,” Illinois,
We’ll back you to stand ‘gainst the best in the land,
For we know you have sand, Illinois, Rah! Rah!
So crack out that ball, Illinois,
We’re backing you all, Illinois,
Our team is our fame protector,
On! boys, for we expect a victory from you, Illinois!
Che-he! Che-ha! Che-ha-ha-ha! Go Illini, Go!
Che-he! Che-ha! Che-ha-ha-ha! Go Illini, Go!
Illinois! Illinois! Illinois!
Fling out that dear old flag of Orange and Blue,
Lead on our sons and daughters fighting for you;
Like men of old, on giants placing reliance, shouting defiance,
Oskee-Wow-Wow!
Amid the broad green fields that nourish our land,
For honest Labor and for Learning we stand,
And unto thee we pledge our heart and hand,
Dear Alma Mater, Illinois!

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