UI Alumni Association President Loren R. Taylor: Connected Through History

UI Alumni Association President and CEO Loren Taylor (Photo by Larry Kanfer)
History is the witness that testifies to the passing of time; it illumines reality, vitalizes memory, provides guidance in daily life, and brings us tidings of antiquity.—Marcus Tullius Cicero, Roman Philosopher.

Whenever I meet with alumni, the conversation is almost sure to include a story or two recalling their student days at Illinois.

Whether it was going to the midnight movies with your roommates at the Co-Ed Theatre on Green Street in the heart of Campustown, or playing Frisbee and Hacky Sack on the Quad on that first warm day of spring, or rubbing Abe Lincoln’s nose for luck just before an exam in historic Lincoln Hall—these are the moments and the stories of our lives. And it’s fun to reminisce about those shared experiences that link us together forever.

But these experiences also help tell the story and the history of the University of Illinois itself. In this issue, I invite you to read “Our Stories: History and Traditions” (see pg. 35 of the spring 2014 issue of Illinois Alumni)—a new initiative of your University of Illinois Alumni Association to broaden the awareness of our rich background and encourage alumni to feel more connected with each other.

The History and Traditions project offers a dynamic Web portal, with a series of exhibits and other learning opportunities planned. The stories shared will deepen our understanding and appreciation of the University’s origin and evolution, and the many contributions it has made to the world. We think this is an important service the UI Alumni Association can provide to the institution and to the whole U of I Family.

Special thanks go to the dedicated alumni serving on the History and Traditions Committee who are guiding this effort with a focus on research, technology, publications, exhibits and scholarship. They represent all three UI campuses, but they are united in their interest and regard for the University of Illinois legacy.

This project can also be a useful resource for administrators and faculty members who are new to the U of I. And, of course, alumni can enjoy sharing their own stories and recalling what, for many, was one of the most transformational times in their lives.

Nostalgia isn’t only for looking back; it also boosts our optimism for the future. Traditions are important to any culture. They help us build our identity. Each of you has helped shape the University of Illinois identity, and you can continue to do so through your ongoing participation and involvement.

I hope you will—because the University can be as much a part of your life today as it was when you were attending classes. New stories await you.

Loren R. Taylor
President and CEO