Student Life at Illinois: 1990-1999

Aerial of Memorial Stadium Restoration, circa 1993
Aerial of Memorial Stadium Restoration, circa 1993.



  • Illinois defeated Virginia in the Citrus Bowl, 31-21, ending a 26-year bowl victory drought.
  • Students for the Chief formed.
  • Trustees voted 7-1 to retain Chief Illiniwek as the symbol of the University of Illinois.
  • Students filed 19 complaints of harassment after police attempted to break up a rally of mostly African-American students.
  • Catalyst, an international student environmental conference, held on campus, attracted more than 7,000.
  • Committee against the War in the Gulf organized.
  • African-American students stood up in classrooms to protest University in wake of recent racial incidents.


  • Illinois played in the Hall of Fame Bowl, lost to Clemson 30-0.
  • Students and residents marched from downtown Champaign to the Quad in opposition to Gulf War.
  • U-C Senate approved resolution stating University military-science classes open to all regardless of sexual orientation.
  • The NCAA sanctioned the men’s basketball team for recruiting violations.
  • University announced that Chief Illiniwek would no longer appear in Homecoming parades or pep rallies.
  • Fire on fourth floor of the Natural History Building caused over $2 million in damages.
  • Farmhouse fraternity banned the possession and consumption of alcohol on its property.
  • An $18 million renovation of Memorial Stadium began.
  • Student Government Association voted to end all support of Chief Illiniwek.
  • A $1 billion fund-raising drive called Campaign Illinois began.
  • Plant and Animal Biotechnology Laboratory dedicated. Building re-dedicated as Madigan Laboratory in 1995.
  • Illinois played in John Hancock Bowl, lost to UCLA 6-3.


  • Latino students and their supporters occupied the Office of Minority Student Affairs and Administration Building. The students called for a new director of La Casa Cultural Latina and greater funding and autonomy for the cultural center.
  • National Coalition on Racism in Sports and the Media formed.
  • University vaccinated 18,000 students in the Armory for meningitis.
  • Computer and Systems Research Laboratory dedicated.
  • Illinois played in Holiday Bowl, lost to Hawaii 27-17.


  • The Asian American Alumni Association was founded.
  • The men’s swimming and fencing programs were eliminated.
  • Undergrad Library underwent renovation.
Illini Union Bookstore, circa 1994
Illini Union Bookstore, circa 1994


  • January 18th saw temperatures of 20 degrees below zero, with wind chills estimated at 62 below. McKinley Health Center treated 13 students for frostbite in a two-day period.
  • University President Stanley Ikenberry announced his retirement.
  • Krannert Center vandalized.
  • Courtyard Café opened in Illini Union.
  • A plane crashed after leaving Willard Airport, killing two alumni.
  • Graduate Employees Organization (GEO) issued bill of rights.
  • The Grainger Engineering Library and the new Illini Union Bookstore opened.
  • Illinois defeated East Carolina in the Liberty Bowl 30-0.


  • James J. Stukel became the 15th president of the University.
  • Uof I Direct, a new online registration system, took effect, eliminating the on-campus registration at the Armory.
  • Temple Hoyne Buell Hall dedicated.
Block I committee, 1995
Block I committee, 1995


  • Trustees appointed by the governor instead of elected by a statewide vote.
  • Sangamon State University became the University of Illinois at Springfield.
  • Illinois Student Government (ISG) succeeded the Student Government Association (SGA).
  • Chemistry and Life Sciences Building opened.
  • Green Street repaved from Wright to Neil streets.
  • Men’s basketball coach Lou Henson retired, replaced by Lon Kruger.
  • Grade point rule changed from five to four points. Grade of ‘E’ became an ‘F.’
  • New Office of Admissions and Records Building dedicated.
  • Campus Recreation Outdoor Center and Multiplex Fields opened.
  • Racial incidents led to proclamation of “Month of Mourning.”
  • GEO members rallied on the Quad.


  • Freshman killed in shooting incident.
  • Asian-American studies program created.
  • Women’s basketball team reached the Sweet Sixteen.
  • Governor Jim Edgar vetoed a bill that would have given student trustees a binding vote.
  • Jay Rosenstein’s In Whose Honor?, a documentary critical of Chief Illiniwek, aired.
  • Alumni Against Racist Mascots formed.
  • Illini Homecoming king and queen made statements critical of Chief Illiniwek. The following year, the University ended its practice of crowning a Homecoming king and queen.
  • Daily Illini became a free newspaper.
  • Muslim students held a public demonstration during Islamic Awareness Week.


  • President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore spoke at Assembly Hall.
  • Faculty-Student Senate approved resolution asking Board of Trustees to replace Chief Illiniwek with a new symbol in a 97-29 vote.
  • Students for Chief Illiniwek and Chief Illiniwek Educational Foundation formed.
  • University professor Stephen Kaufman filed grievances against University administrators, arguing Chief Illiniwek violates the University’s anti-discrimination policies.
  • Women’s basketball team reached the Sweet Sixteen for second year in a row. Media named Theresa Grentz Big Ten Coach of Year for the second year in a row.
  • Men’s basketball team shared Big Ten title.
  • Bill giving student trustees a binding vote passed into law.
  • Week-long symposium held to commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King’s civil rights efforts.
  • New student athletic fee went into effect.
  • Graduate student died following an incident at a Champaign bar.
  • William and Claris Spurlock donated $8.5 million for new World Heritage Museum.
  • Illini baseball team won Big Ten championship.
  • Japan House opened.
  • Hallene Gateway Plaza dedicated.
  • Richard T. Ubben Basketball Complex opened.
  • Senior died of gunshot wounds during Homecoming weekend.
  • Women’s basketball team began to play at Assembly Hall, moving from Huff Gym.
WPGU Staff, Shamrock Stagger, 1995
WPGU Staff, Shamrock Stagger, 1995


  • Student shot at White Horse Inn.
  • Two campus bars sponsored Pre-St. Patrick’s Day Party, the precursor to Unofficial St. Patrick’s Day.
  • First Roger Ebert’s Overlooked Film Festival held.
  • Two students hospitalized after ingesting drug known as Liquid G.
  • Football team came from behind to defeat Michigan at Ann Arbor.
  • Illinois defeated Virginia in Micron PC.Com Bowl, 63-21.

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