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Kickoff for this year’s Fighting Illini Football Season on September 1st might still seem like a long ways off for us in Champaign/Urbana but you can start gearing up for your hometown team next week!

 

 

Training camp for Illinois Football begins on Monday, July 31st. All practices are open to the public and FREE to attend. Head on down to the Campus Rec Fields to see this year’s team get in shape for the upcoming season. Click HERE for the full schedule.


 

Want to get to know the team better? Come to Movie Night at Memorial Stadium, hosted by Illini Athletics. Enjoy an evening with friends and family on Sunday, July 30th, on the field of Memorial Stadium (1402 South 1st Street). Get your favorite players’ autographs starting at 5:15 pm. Then find the perfect spot on the field or in the stands to enjoy a showing of Disney’s Moana on the stadium’s big screen at 6:15 pm. Admission this fun community event is FREE! Fans are encouraged to bring their own blanket and pack a picnic dinner for the event. There will be food and beverages available for purchase. The doors at Gate 24 will open at 5:00 pm for the event.

 

Don your best Fighting Illini gear and get in the spirit for the upcoming season with your favorite team!

 

Image Credit: Illini Athletics

Celebrate Labor Day Weekend at the Fighting Illini Season Opener!

by Rose Price

Kick off Labor Day weekend with our hometown favorites, the Fighting Illini! On Saturday, September 3rd, don your best blue and orange and head down to Memorial Stadium for the season opener. The University of Illinois will be taking on the Murray State Racers at 2:30 pm.

You can make a whole day of it by tailgating at Grange Grove before the game. Enjoy food trucks, live music, and lots of games. And, be sure to check out the Illini Walk at noon, in order to give support to your team as they head to the stadium.

 

Can’t make it to the stadium for the game? Host a party at home with the other Illini fans in your family and catch the game on BTN.

 

Saturday’s season opener for the Fighting Illini marks the 127th year of football at the University. We are incredibly proud of this tradition in our Champaign/Urbana community.

 

There are so many exciting things to look forward to this football season for UI from the coaches to the players. It is the debut of Lovie Smith as the head coach. He brings years of college and professional experience to the team and leads a dedicated coaching staff. We are also keeping our eye out for several key players. As it is his last season in orange, quarterback Wes Lunt is sure to lead his team to victory. Defensive end Dawuane Smoot will be making big plays on the field this Saturday and in the future games to come. He is a preseason All-American and was named by Pro-Football focus as one of the top 20 best college football players in the country! With this winning combination, we are certain that the Fighting Illini will have their 19th consecutive win in a home season opener!

 

Whether you are catching the game or enjoying the last weekend of summer celebrating with friends and family, we wish you a very safe and fun Labor Day Weekend! 

Illinois Fighting Illini Football is Back!

by Rose Price

Our beloved University of Illinois Fighting Illini Football season kicks off on September 3rd at Memorial Stadium (1402 South 1st Street, Champaign)! Cheer our team on as the take on Murray State at the season opener. Games will be every Saturday through December 3rd, with a bye-week on Saturday, September 24th. Here is the 2016 Fighting Illini Football Schedule! Whether you make it down to the stadium or are watching from the comfort of your home, it's time to support our boys in orange!

 

Coach Lovie Smith and the rest of the UI coaching staff have developed an impressive team for the 2016 season. Here are 5 of the top players to keep your eye out for on the field:

 

1. Hardy Nickerson, Middle Linebacker: A senior transfer student from California, Nickerson is expected to make big plays this season. A master of tackling and for causing turnovers, he will help strengthen the Illini's defensive line.

2. Wes Lunt, Quarterback: The backbone of the team, this quarterback is an excellent passer. As a senior, Lunt has much experience behind him and is ready to lead the team to victory on the field.

3. Ke’Shawn Vaughn, Running Back: Getting a team high of 6 rushing touchdowns last season, Vaughn is expected to make big plays once again. Now that the team also has a fullback, this player will have any more opportunities to run the ball.

4. Dawuane Smoot, Defensive End: An opposing quarterback's nightmare, Smoot is excellent at getting the sack. With a coaching team dedicated to the defensive line, we expect this player to improve from his impressive season last year.

5. Desmond Cain, Wide Receiver: This young player is expected to continue to be a favorite target for Lunt. His ability to get open on the field for passes will help lead the team to success in the end zone.

 

 

We wish the Fighting Illini much success in this upcoming football season!!!

Champaign IL Univeristy of Illinois Homecoming 2015!

by Rose Price

Yes, it's underway.  It's the University of Illinois Homecoming 2015!  A week dedicated to welcoming back Alumni from our wonderful school.  This fantastic tradition includes tons of fun activities for both current students and Alumni.  For a full schedule visit University Of Illinois.  

Here are the highlights this year!

Homecoming Court

Every year 20 Senior students are selected (based on academic achievement, leadership, and community involvement) to serve as role models for their peers as well as represent the University of Illinois Student body.  For a full list of this years court, visit Homecoming Court.  Congratulations new court members!

Grange Grove

The much anticipated Grange Grove is now ready for game day!  The lot formerly known as Lot 36 has been dramatically transformed into a high-energy tailgating area, for students and the public of all ages.  The lot will open at 7 am on game days and will follow the standard street closure policies of the area.  There will be live music, and children's areas.  The lot will close around 10pm, or an hour after the game ends.  Along with free tailgating for the public, attendees also have the option to purchase packages that include tents, tables, chairs and other essential tailgating gear. These packages can be purchased through: Tailgateconcierge.com  

Dormancy Of Dusk

One of the more creatively exciting events is going on right now; The Dormancy Of Dusk, an exhibit featuring the work of U of I faculty member Bryan Warsaw.  The exhibit features photography and poetry by the artist exploring ideas of dusk, the mysterious time between day and night when the natural world goes dormant.

Dormancy Of Dusk: Illini Union Art Gallery, 1401 W. Green St. Urbana

 

Lou Liay Spirit Award

Every year, the University of Illinois Alumni Association bestows the Lou Liay Spirit Award upon a UI alumnus or alumna who has consistently demonstrated extraordinary loyalty, commitment, dedication and service to the UI Alumni Association and related groups. The award, established in 1997, is named after Lou Liay, EDM '62, executive director of the UI Alumni Association from 1983 to 1998.​

This year the honor has been awarded to Gayl Pyatt LAS ’64. A retired attorney and former member of the Illinois Board of Higher Education, the Pinckneyville resident was the first female president (now called chair) of the UI Foundation.  Get the rest of the story here.

Special Guests this year:

Lyle Orwig whose maintained a passion for agriculture, marketing communications, reputation management and corporate social responsibility, continues to garner recognition and awards for his work. Read more about him here.

James E. Sparks, current leader of The Sparks Group, a communications and branding firm he founded in 2012 to help companies propel growth and navigate the challenges that come with business cycles and expansion​.  Read more about his passion and work with the homeless here.

Parade Marshall:

Bill Geist, noted columnist, author, correspondent and proud graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, will serve as grand marshal of this year’s homecoming parade.  Read about his successes here.  

Get the Parade Route Here!

The parade is going to be incredible again this year! Getting your prime location picked out ahead of time is going to be important....so click on the parade route above and select your location today!

Still need tickets for the Big Game on Saturday? I don't want you to miss out on this phenomenal game between our beloved Fighting Illini & the Wisconsin Badgers...so click on the ticket link below and grab those tickets NOW!   Get your TICKETS HERE!

This is such an exciting week for all our U of I students, alumni and the Champaign/Urbana community! Don't get left behind. There are so many great events taking place for individuals and families all over our city. Just click on the links above, select and event and go have some fun! I'll see you at the game!

#ORANGE&BLUE  #FIGHTINGILLINI #UNIVERSITYOFILLINOIS  #CHAMPAIGNIL #CHAMPAIGNROSE

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