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.


  • From 1919 to 1921, the main floor of the YMCA (now 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 1942
  • 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 Urbana-Champaign.


The Illini Union is a part of Student Affairs at the University of Illinois. From outside the classroom learning experiences, to physical and emotional wellness, leadership opportunities, global awareness, safety, fun, and career preparation, Student Affairs supports all aspects of student life at Illinois. 


The Illini Union enriches students’ academic experience by building an inclusive community and providing growth and developmental opportunities through engaging programs, outstanding services, and purposeful employment.


The Illini Union will be the premiere college union.


Community, Student Centeredness and Learning, Leadership, Excellence, Diversity and Inclusion, Integrity, Traditions, and Collaboration

Illini Union History and Renovation Feasibility

The Illini Union celebrated 80 years in 2021. This microsite celebrates its history. It also details the exploration of the feasibility of an Illini Union renovation and expansion project.

Click here for site.


Illini Union Assessments

Results from Illini Union led assessment initiatives, telling the story of the Illini Union to the university community. We hope this section helps inform students, faculty, staff, and the public about the work we do at the Illini Union, what people receive from being involved with the Illini Union, and help add to the transparency of the university.

Illini Union Customer Satisfaction 2016-17 Report (SkyFactor survey)

Illini Union Satisfaction Analysis 2013-2016 (results from national EBI survey)

Student Involvement 2016

Welcome Week 2016

2016 IUB Involvement 

2016-17 OVP Impact Report

Annual Reports

2021-2022 Annual Report