‘With Illinois’ campaign raises almost half of $2.25 billion goal

By Jacob Singleton, Managing Editor for Online

The University launched what it calls the “largest, most ambitious philanthropic campaign” today through a daylong celebration.

The “With Illinois” campaign, spearheaded by the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Institutional Advancement, is an effort to raise funds for the University. It’s the fifth campaign of this magnitude in the University’s 150 years.

Students, alumni and community members celebrated on the Main Quad Friday afternoon during “Celebrating the Heart of Illinois.” The event included academic and Registered Student Organization showcase booths. There were also musical performances, food vendors and, most noticeably, a Ferris wheel.

The festivities culminated in an evening celebration at the State Farm Center, which featured presentations by faculty, students, alumni and donors.

“From the day we were founded, we insisted the world redefine the impossible,” said Chancellor Robert Jones. “Illinois was founded to actively imagine and engage with the world around us to deliver a better future.”

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    Jones said private investment is essential to the maintaining and improving the University.

    The University has raised nearly 45 percent of its $2.25 billion “With Illinois” campaign goal, according to the campaign’s website. Donors come from all 50 states and more than 100 countries worldwide.

    The Thomas and Stacey Siebel Foundation donated $25 million to the campaign. The donation will go toward the world-class, two-story Siebel Center for Design.

    Dr. King Li, dean of the Carle Illinois College of Medicine, took the stage to discuss the college’s upcoming Fall 2018 launch.

    “Every student will be required to come up with an idea to improve healthcare delivery,” Li said.

    Jill Smart, board of trustees member and retired chief of human resources at Accenture, also spoke, emphasizing the community’s role in inspiring the next 150 years of success at Illinois.

    “We need to tell it, (and) we need the media to tell it,” Smart said.

    Lillian Barkley, current Editor-in-Chief of The Daily Illini, also spoke during a segment of the event.

    “We are a University at the heart of Illinois that humbly produces the extraordinary,” Barkley said.

    The marching band and cheerleaders led the crowd in a finale to the performance.

    The event can be summarized by a line on the campaign’s website: “Whether we wear our Illini pride on our jersey or bring it to the office with us every day, the orange and blue are never hard to find.”

    Watch the campaign’s video below.

    Correction: The headline incorrectly stated the fundraiser had raised more than half of its $2.25 billion goal. The University has raised 45 percent, according to the campaign’s website. The Daily Illini regrets this error.