A “storyography” is the collection of stories people tell about a place, an experience, or time that has touched their lives. These stories become part of their personal and institutional sagas and, in a very real way, define who they are.
Share your “I’ll never forget” moments from your years at Illinois. Your story may cut across generations and record joys, sorrows, and triumphs—big and small. The topic is up to you. So is the medium—send us audio, video, photos, or something your’ve written. Together, our stories will capture what U of I has meant to our lives.
Love and Commencement in the 1940s
One of the last things Robert Kallal (BS ’43, MS ’46, chemical engineering) passed on to his nephew was a silent movie shot on the University of Illinois campus in the 1940s.
Decision of a Lifetime
“In the first week of September in 1952, my mother woke me up at 6 a.m. and said we were going to Champaign. I asked her why. She said, ‘You are going to college.’”
—Raymond Dieter, Jr., (BS ’94, chemistry) describes the lifelong impact of a sudden decision to go to college.
“We could go out for an hour and gather derelicts like old tires, trophies belonging to clubs from the 1970s, theater props or costumes, misshapen hunks of wood, ancient cassette tapes, and any other strange relics of the past we could find in the basement, attic, or wherever else in the building. We’d then wrap the gift, invent a story, and give them to each other in the room as jokes.”
“The least we could do was to organize protests and to show the powers that be that we cared about this country and that we were going to question authority. Sometimes it got ugly. The Dow Chemical protest was about as ugly as it got.”
Carolyn Sharp Kelley (AB ’71, English education; AM ’72, teaching of English) compares her experience as a student protester during the Vietnam War era to that of her father, who attended the U of I in the 1930s.
Katherine Amato (graduate student, Program in Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation Biology) discusses the nitty-gritty of research in Mexico with friend and financial supporter Roslyn Snow (AB ’58, philosophy; AM ’59, English).
Brian Kung (AB ’11, East Asian languages and cultures) describes to his friend, Sarah Farrukh (senior, journalism), his decision to live part of a school year in a car.
Hinojosa-Smith (PhD ’69, Spanish), discusses a late start, living with dignity, and “the luckiest thing I’ve ever done in my life.”