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Our University, Our Students, Our Alumni

Since 1867, the University of Illinois has been a leader in academics, research and innovation, with our students and alumni accomplishing outstanding feats in diverse fields (including 26 Pulitzer Prize winners and 23 Nobel Laureates). And in 2020, that dedication to learning and progress has been more valuable than ever, helping our university set the standard for COVID-19 testing and preparedness across the country. Below, you’ll hear favorite Illini memories, chat with Lead COVID-19 Strategist Dr. Martin Burke, and meet our latest inspiring Alumni Award winners, who have helped make U of I what it is today. As Alma says, “to thy happy children of the future, those of the past send greetings.”

We Asked: “What Does Homecoming Mean to You?”

Everyone has a favorite Homecoming memory—whether it’s a come-from-behind win on game day or a particularly memorable reunion with friends on campus. So we asked some current students and alumni to share their favorite moments and why Homecoming is special to them. We’d love to hear from you as well—share your Homecoming memories with the hashtag #IllinoisHomecomingatHome for a chance to be featured on our social channels.

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2020 Virtual Alumni Awards and Interviews

Each year during Homecoming, we honor outstanding members of our Illini community with the Alumni Achievement and Distinguished Service awards. This year we interviewed the winners as they shared their personal stories of inspiration and success. Plus, we give a special tribute to legendary U of I coach Lou Henson and his wife Mary Henson, and reveal the winner of the inaugural Diversity & Inclusion Award.

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This Year’s Winners

  • Our 2020 Alumni Achievement Awards go to Joseph Glas, for his decades of work including helping eliminate CFCs, resulting in millions of alternative, environmentally safe products. We also honor Angela Sinickas Shiromani for her decades of work advancing the field of organizational communications.
  • The Lou Liay Spirt Award goes to Bob Lumsden, for exemplifying extraordinary spirit and pride in supporting the university.
  • Illini Comeback Award winners honor Alumni who have achieved extraordinary things in their time after graduation. This year’s winners include Dr. Mary Mason, and John Graf.
  • The Honorary Alumnus and Alumna Award goes to recognize individuals for their positive impact on the University and our surrounding community. This year’s special tribute includes Lou and Mary Henson.
  • We honor Markita Landry, this year’s Young Alumni Award, given to those who are already demonstrating outstanding leadership in their young professional lives.
  • Wrapping up this year is the inaugural Diversity and Inclusion Award, which goes to Safiya Noble for her outstanding efforts and achievements in promoting equality across the internet.

Leading the Charge in COVID-19 Testing: An Interview with Lead Strategist Dr. Martin Burke

Our priority for the Fall 2020 semester was keeping our students, faculty and staff safe in this uncertain time. We’ve been able to conduct up to 10,000 COVID-19 tests per day, thanks to our researchers who created their own saliva-based COVID-19 test in just six weeks. We sat down with lead strategist Dr. Martin Burke, the May and Ving Lee Professor for Chemical Innovation, to discuss our coordinated response to the pandemic.

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News & Updates From the Colleges

University of Illinois has long been one of the nation’s premier public universities, and each of our colleges contributes to our rich and rigorous academic fabric. Visit each college’s page for the latest news below, or virtually browse our 2020-2021 University Guide below, where we’ve compiled the latest news and statistics from each of our colleges.

2020 ACES Alumni Association Career Achievement and Young Alumni Award Ceremony

Join us in celebrating our 2020 Young Alumni and Career Achievement recipients from the College of Agricultural, Consumer & Environmental Sciences (ACES).

Tomorrow, join us as we look at the larger University of Illinois community, both on campus and off!