Top 10 visitors to the University this year

1. Bernie Sanders

Like most college students, many Illini have been ‘feeling the Bern’ all year long, so it’s no wonder that Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders visited the University in March ahead of the state primary. Thousands of students waited in line for hours to see the Vermont senator speak, and Sanders, the only Democrat or Republican candidate to visit the University this year, made sure to have his message heard. “If you want to vote for me great, if you don’t want to vote for me that’s OK,” Sanders said. “But you don’t have the right to buy elections because you’re a billionaire.

2. Sonia Sotomayor

Sonia Sotomayor, the first Hispanic justice to serve on the United States Supreme Court, paid a visit to the University in March to facilitate a mock court case from the College of Law. She also presented a lecture to the public at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, where she spoke about her career and growing up in the Bronx. “If you live thinking about the negative, there will never be any positive,” Sotomayor said.

3. Arne Duncan

The University’s wheelchair basketball team had a guest in September: U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. Duncan praised the University’s Disability Resources and Educational Services (DRES) program, as well as the University’s wheelchair basketball teams. “Again, the University of Illinois is an absolute model,” Duncan said. “It is an absolute model for the nation to be looking at.”

4. Opal Tometi

Opal Tometi, a co-founder of the Black Lives Matter movement, stopped in Urbana-Champaign in February to host a conversation with faculty and students in Allen Hall. She spoke about what made her decide to start the movement: the acquittal of George Zimmerman that started the movement. “It broke my heart. I felt like I got punched in the gut,” Tometi said.

5. Guillermo del Toro

The annual Ebertfest brings in many famous movie personalities, and 2016 was no exception. World famous director Guillermo del Toro presented his film Crimson Peak at the festival. After the screening, he participated in a Q&A with film lovers, talking about everything from first dates to his growth as a director to why he makes films. “I don’t do movies for demographics. I make them for myself. I don’t give a movie two, three years of my life if I don’t absolutely adore it.”

6. Bob Woodward

Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward, known for breaking the Watergate corruption story in 1972, spoke at the University in January as part of the College of Law’s lecture series about Abraham Lincoln. Woodward also sat down for a short interview with the Daily Illini, talking about things like the 2016 presidential race. “Whoever becomes president is going to have to be someone who can deal with the convulsions in the world,” said Woodward. “There are many things going on domestically and abroad that are very serious. The leadership that is required is going to be large.”

7. Father John Misty

Indie music fans rejoiced when RSO Star Course announced that Josh Tillman, better known as Father John Misty, would be performing at Foellinger in April. The singer-songwriter’s 2015 record “I Love You, Honeybear,” received widespread critical acclaim from music outlets like Consequence of Sound and Pitchfork. A thousand people were in attendance for Father John’s performance, which was by far Star Course’s biggest production of the year.

8. Bruce Rauner

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner paid a visit to the University this past April. However, his visit prompted a minor backlash from the campus community, as a group of about 50 students greeted him with chants mocking his role in the state budget crisis, including “they say cut back, we say fight back” and “Rauner go home.”

9. Jill Stein

Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein stopped by the University in March to promote her campaign platform. Stein, the first presidential candidate to visit this election cycle, spoke about her view for the future of the United States. “We need really deep systemic change,” Stein said. “And a different way forward based on democracy, justice and human rights, and a different kind of world that puts people, planet and peace over profit, instead of profit over everything else.”

10. Giorgi Kvirikashvili

Who knew that the University had a prime minister in its’ alumni network? Georgian prime minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili, who received a master’s degree in finances from the University in 1998, returned in April to speak at the College of Business. Kvirikashvili was incredibly excited to be back. “I’m so glad to see you all and I’m really happy to be back on this campus,” Kvirikashvili said. “I’m glad to notice that the work of the student body and the passions of the professors and administration to teach have not changed and is still very strong.”