UIHistories Project: A History of the University of Illinois by Kalev Leetaru
        G I F T S & M E M O R I A L S

A Tale Who's End We Tell: Gifts & Memorials


The Sophograph of March 1882 memorialized the unsung of the past with the poetic words:

Our knowledge of the great peoples of the past is clouded by the mists of obscurity. Their deeds lie forgotten in the unwritten annals of history, and their once glory sleeps in perfect oblivion.

In the Universitys 136 year history, countless lives and deeds have transpired, perhaps noted in their day, perhaps obscure, perhaps shaping the future of the world, perhaps meaningless in the grand scheme of the universe, but all eventually fading to oblivion. There are those, however, whose lives and deeds are marked by forever monuments, those buildings, trees, and stones which adorn our campus. Although their siren song may cry unheard to most, they yet keep the memory of their master alive.

In some cases these memorials were dedicated by a class, to keep alive the memory of their members and their accomplishments and to provide a place for remembrance by their children. In others, friends and family chose to remember the life of a dearly departed, or an organization chose to perpetuate its memory. Although there is no metric by which one can say one memorial means more than another, we shall focus only on the ones which have a more storied past in the Universitys history.

While these monuments have stood still, the world around them has not, and campus development has left some of them to bide their days tucked away in oblivious isolation, whilst others have been plucked from their perfect perches and planted them in out-of-the-way places. In 1913, it was suggested that campus establish a Reunion Field, where all campus memorials and gifts might spend their days in glory, [1] to allow one to literally walk down the paths of ages. [2]

The University's class gift program took a break through the late 1990's, but has been restarted by the College of Business, now in its second year.

List of Gifts and Memorials

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