Physicist Nick Holonyak, Jr. is called the godfather of light-emitting diodes, or LEDs. We interact with Holonyak's inventions every day. The technology in visible LEDs, household dimmer switches, lasers that run CD and DVD players and fiber-optic communication networks can all be traced back to his laboratory at the University of Illinois. Holonyak is the son of immigrants and was raised in southern Illinois. He left back-breaking work on the Illinois Central Railroad to become the first in his family to attend school. Holonyak, who is now in his 80s, is still inventing and performing research in his lab at the College of Engineering. He is currently working on a "transistor laser," which is the first device that simultaneously outputs electrical current and light.
Ollie Watts Davis is Professor of Voice in the School of Music at the University of Illinois, as well as leader of the Black Chorus In 2008 she was named a University Scholar, one of the highest honors the University bestows on its faculty. Other honors include national honorary membership in Sigma Alpha Iota, honorary membership in the National Arts and Letters Society, and membership in the Phi Kappa Phi Honorary Society.
Raymond Martin is a member of the Class of 2016, and can count himself among the elite having won four gold medals in track and field at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London. He gold-earning events were the 100m, 200m (personal record), 400m and 800m distances.
Coach Lou Henson is the winningest men's basketball coach in school history, amassing 423 victories during his 21 seasons in Champaign from 1976-96. He ranks fourth in Big Ten history in overall wins and in conference wins as well with 214. Henson led the Illini to 12 NCAA appearances, including the 1989 Final Four when the Flyin' Illini won 31 games. Henson's Illini also won a Big Ten title in 1984.
Timothy J. Nugent, born January 10, 1923, founded the first comprehensive program of higher education for individuals with disabilities in 1948. He served as Professor of Rehabilitation Education and Director of the Rehabilitation Education Center and the Division of Rehabilitation Education Services at the University of Illinois, retiring in 1985. He founded the National Wheelchair Basketball Association in 1949 and served as Commissioner for the first 25 years. He has been an international lecturer and consultant, as well as an advocate, publisher, and researcher on behalf of people with disabilities, leading the development of architectural accessibility standards, public transportation, adaptive equipment, and recreation activities for people with disabilities.
Formerly Illinois Prosthetic Technology, BUMP is an innovative nonprofit founded by UI Engineering students that combines engineering, business, and design thinking to create products that improve the lives of people around the world. Their focus is deploying a highly affordable and off-the-shelf prosthetic arm for below-elbow amputees living in developing nations. Open Socket Technology incorporates different sizes along with adjustability in length, diameter, and contour in order to fit almost any amputee's residual limb. BUMP is a non-profit organization developing and implementing a simple, innovative, and affordable prosthetic arm for amputees in developing countries.
Our great-grandparents knew it in 1967. We understand it today. Rashid, Mariska and Olivia will learn it in 2031. When you're an Illini, you'll never stand alone. We dream big, we work hard and we make our own way. But past, present and future, we share a common bond - the unwavering support of out Illinois family.
This billboard appeared on I-57 at mile marker 283 near Gilman, Illinois. It was posted for the four weeks prior to Homecoming.