Community event kicks off university’s multibillion-dollar campaign
The campaign, titled With Illinois, was introduced to donors, alumni, faculty and staff, students and local community members Friday evening at a campaign inaugural event at the State Farm Center. The highly stylized theatrical production featured distinguished faculty and students, extraordinary alumni and major benefactors through live performance, video, storytelling and inspiring speakers.
The historic effort to raise $2.25 billion in support of students, faculty, research and infrastructure comes on the heels of the University’s sesquicentennial celebration. The campaign will run through 2022.
“Illinois was founded to actively imagine and engage with the world around us to deliver a better future,” said Chancellor Robert Jones. “We are not the same university we were 150 years ago: We are bigger, we are better and now we are setting out to redefine the land-grant mission for the 21st century.”
The University has already raised $1.01 billion, or approximately 45 percent of the goal. Among the notable early phase donations was a $25 million lead gift to establish the Siebel Center for Design, donated by the Thomas and Stacey Siebel Foundation toward a new two-story building that will serve as a campus-wide hub for student-focused design thinking and learning. The remainder of the funding for the $48 million project will come from institutional funds.
“An important part of our ability to implement our vision comes from private support,” said Barry Benson, the Urbana campus’s vice chancellor for advancement and the senior vice president of the University of Illinois foundation. “It comes from the generous gifts of our alumni, our faculty, our students and our local community members.”
The fourth capital campaign in the University System’s history, With Illinois is the first campus-specific campaign. The most recent campaign, Brilliant Futures, from 2005-2012, began with a goal of $1.5 billion and raised $1.7 billion.
“At Illinois we give the next generation the skills and knowledge to make sense of the world around us, preserve the lessons of the past and move humanity forward,” Jones said.
More information on the campaign is available at with.illinois.edu.