The wood detailing hasn't lost its luster and the cupola reflects the sunlight as brightly as the day it opened on February 8, 1941. Since its inception, the Illini Union has been a resource to the entire campus community. Even before he was officially inducted as president in 1934, A. C. Willard publicly supported the development of a headquarters for students, faculty and staff to use for both social and professional purposes.
THE CENTER OF THE CAMPUS COMMUNITY
- From 1919 to 1921, the main floor of the YMCA (now the Illini Hall) was the Illini Union headquarters
- Construction plans began in 1939 by architects Howard Lovewell and John Calvin Leavell
- The building was designed in the shape of an "I" to honor the university
- The cupola was chosen as the building's focal point due to the Colonial Williamsburg-inspired decor
- Eleanor Roosevelt dedicated the building in 1941
- An addition was built in 1963 to accommodate the additional services offered to the growing enrollment
To this day, the Illini Union staff makes it a priority to offer a home rich in the University’s historical traditions. Attention to the preservation of the building has been a significant responsibility over the years, and the staff of the Illini Union works to provide guidance, support and encouragement to all who utilize it. The Illini Union continues to thrive as a reflection of the vibrant student body here at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.