Campus Features

Who lived here before you?

Arissa Moore
1/24/2014  8:00 am

With every graduating class, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign sends thousands of highly educated young men and women out to make their mark in the world. Notable alumni have gone on to create companies like YouTube and PayPal, star in primetime television shows, and become sports legends. From Pulitzer Prize recipients to rock stars, these accomplished individuals each got their start at Illinois. They sat in the same lectures, lived in the same residence halls, and even slept in the same beds as some of today’s Illini students.

 image of door plaque indicating actor nick offerman lived in this room

University Housing is highlighting these notable alumni by documenting what rooms these individuals lived in during their time here. The doors of these rooms bear gold plaques indicating the name of the alumni and how they earned their fame. Kirsten Ruby, Associate Director of Housing for Communications and Marketing, says that by highlighting these alumni, they hope to encourage current students to consider their own futures and the legacies they might leave for future generations of Illini.

“We are very proud of all our alumni, and we take pride in highlighting some who have truly excelled in their fields,” says Ruby. “These plaques serve as a small piece of inspiration to current students and a reminder of the greatness that comes from this university.”

image of wall plaque indicating actor alan ruck lived in this room 

Ruby says when selecting which alumni to feature, University Housing staff tried to choose people that appealed to typical undergraduate students. As it turns out, sometimes this plan works too well. Nick Offerman, actor on the NBC situation comedy, Parks and Recreation, and Dick Butkus, NFL football Hall of Famer, are two alumni whose plaques regularly go missing. “Offerman and Butkus are two famous Illinois graduates that the students in the halls are familiar with and – as we’ve seen – are particularly fond of,” says Ruby.

While they may be tempting souvenirs to a few each year, for most of the students living in the campus residence halls, these little gold plates serve as a reminder that Illinois really is a place where legends are born.

door plaque for dick butkus

A Current List of Alumni Plaques and Their Locations:

380 Scott Hall
Nick Offerman

459 Snyder Hall and 217 Townsend Hall
Marc Andreessen
Co-Author of First Web Browser

1021 Wardall Hall
Iris Chang

door plaque for author iris chang

360 Weston Hall
William Wegman

225 Oglesby Hall
Paul Ingrassia
Pulitzer Prize Winner

222 Trelease Hall
Suze Orman
Financial Expert

 image of plaque indicating financial expert suze orman lived in this room

250 Townsend Hall
Neal Doughty
REO Speedwagon Band

252 Townsend Hall
Alan Gratzer
REO Speedwagon Band

249 Townsend Hall
Joseph Matt
REO Speedwagon Band

436 Scott Hall
Dick Butkus
NFL Football Hall of Fame

227 Taft Hall
Alan Ruck

423 Blaisdell Hall
Max Levchin
Co-Founder of PayPal

474 Allen Hall
Karim Jawed
Co-Founder of YouTube

366 Townsend Hall
Steve Chen
Co-Founder of YouTube

image of plaque indicating innovator steve chen lived in this room

Retired Locations (Garner and Forbes Halls have been replaced):

440 Garner Hall
Rev. Jesse Jackson
Civil Rights Activist

110 Garner Hall
Dale Gardner
NASA Astronaut

276 Garner Hall
Mannie Jackson
Basketball Legend

Garner 108
Jean Driscoll
Olympic Medal Winner

474 Forbes Hall
Steven Nagel
NASA Astronaut

392 Forbes Hall
Joseph Tanner
NASA Astronaut

Campus Features is provided by Public Affairs to showcase various endeavors by our diverse campus community.