Saturday, October 15, 2005

University of Illinois 9-17-2005

Last month, I returned to my Alma Mater, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, to give a seminar and visit my old stomping grounds. The campus looks much better than when I left it -- but that was during the horrible drought of 1988, which caused trees to drop their leaves and turned grass the color of straw. The first picture shows the Illini Union building from the southeast.

Up until the 1950s, the quadrangle walkways were lined by majestic Dutch Elms, but they succumbed to disease. Their replacements are finally filling out. The latter picture isn't very good; I need to learn how to handle an overly bright sky.

Here is Altgeld Hall and its belltower, situated on the northwest side of the quadrangle. That's where my math classes were, and I used to study in the library.

The Alma Mater, situated between the Illini Union and Altgeld, welcomes students and visitors to campus; its inscription reads: "To thy happy children of the future, those of the past send greetings." When I was on campus, the legend was the woman with the outstretched arms would seat herself in the chair behind her should a virgin walk by. The statue proved fodder for practical jokers; in one memorable incident during my freshman year, some wag placed a beer can and a frisbee into her hands. Another creative person turned the figures into the Coneheads, a staple of Saturday Night Live at the time.

Finally, the apartment in which my wife and I used to live. Her vegetable garden is gone, replaced with grass.


At 10:17 AM, Anonymous Ellen said...

As I went through your site, enjoying all the photos, I came across the U of IL post. I'm living in Urbana. All 3 of my daughters have gone through U of I in some form, 2-BS 1-PHD. For those who don't know about the flower of the Epi-ox....Night blooming cerus, mine was bigger than my whole large hand! Beautiful! I will send photos in e-mail of flower taken on my birthday 1988. You who grow the plant in warm outdoor weather year round have it made. Trying to grow this plant indoors is a challange. But worth it!


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