University of Illinois: Virtual Campus Tour
A UIHistories Project by Kalev Leetaru   

About - by Kalev Leetaru

   For my undergraduate senior thesis, I wrote the first complete history of the University's buildings, memorials, and landmarks, those monuments from the past that have stood the test of time. Each day they reach out with their siren songs, calling to us with glimpses of a past gone by. They tell a tale of a past gone by, of a glorious beginning to an end we are still writing. For those who stop to listen to the tale they tell, the path less traveled is a challenging one, fraught with obstacles to the truth. The destination is as the end of a rainbow, forever unreachable, for there is always a beginning to every tale whose end we tell and there is always a new tale spawned from each tale who's end we witness.

   As an independent project over the last two years, I have photographed every square inch of the University, every building, space, and structure on the entire campus. This collection of more than 80,000 images stands as a photographic time capsule recording the here and now for future generations.

   Looking back upon these two projects, I wanted to find a way to make them more accessible to the University community, to meld them into a form that would pique people's interest and make them reflect for a moment about the campus they call home. Towards this end, I made available free desktop wallpapers and printable wall calendars. Thinking back on all of these projects, I realized that the final piece that would tie them together would be a campus tours site that combined these visual and textual histories of campus to create a unique looking glass onto campus. Towards that end, at 11PM on Thursday, June 2nd, 2005, I present the this UITours Virtual Tour site in the hopes that it becomes a valuable resource to campus while at the same time serving as that introspective looking glass that perhaps might spawn another to join us on our quest to preserve and promote this incredible institution. Won't you join us?

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