Do you recall…

By Stephanie Benhart

The past four years have been marked by significant events in Champaign and Urbana, as well as far beyond the twin cities’ limits. Here are some of the biggest stories from the past four years, just in case you missed them.


  • Statue of Liberty – August – For the first time since Sept. 11, the monument reopened to the public.
    • Summer Olympics – August – The 28th summer Olympics were held in Athens, Greece.
    • Evaluation of Darfur conflict – September – The UN Security Council requested a Commission of Inquiry to assess Darfur.
    • Bush reelected – November – George W. Bush was reelected president with 51 percent of the popular vote.
    • Soccer competes in Sweet 16 – November – Women’s soccer makes it to the NCAA quarterfinals.
    • Zook named head coach – December – Ron Zook was named Fighting Illini football head coach.
    • Indian Ocean earthquake – December – An underwater earthquake triggered a massive tsunami, killing more than 225,000 people.


    • Facebook expands – 2005 – Facebook creator, Mark Zuckerberg, purchased the domain “”
    • Darfur response – February – The conflict in Darfur is labelled a crime against humanity, but not genocide.
    • White took office – February – B. Joseph White became the 16th University president.
    • NHL canceled season – February – The NHL 2004-2005 season was officially canceled because of labor disputes.
    • Wrestling wins Big Ten – March – The Illini wrestling team was named Big Ten champions, the first time since 1952.
    • Illini compete in Final Four – April – Men’s basketball competes in the NCAA championship, falling to North Carolina.
    • Men’s gymnastics places third – April – The team is awarded third place in NCAA competition.
    • Pope John Paul II dies – April – After his death, Pope Benedict XVI is installed.
    • Men’s tennis won Big Ten – April – For the ninth consecutive year, men’s tennis was Big Ten champions.
    • Herman named Chancellor – April – Richard Herman was appointed Chancellor.
    • Track and Field won Big Ten – May – Women’s track and field was named Big Ten champions.
    • Final Star Wars movie – May – The last installment, “Revenge of the Sith,” in George Lucas’ series was released.
    • Ken Jennings’ streak ends – May – The 74-time Jeopardy winner ended the streak with more than $2.5 million in winnings.
    • Deep Throat revealed – May – W. Mark Felt revealed himself as the Washington Post informant in the Watergate Scandal.
    • London bombs – July – A series of bombs hit London’s public transportation system during morning rush hour, killing more than 50 people. Al-Qaeda claimed responsibility.
    • New planet? – July – A possible tenth planet was discovered.
    • Hurricane Katrina – August – The fierce storm hit the Gulf Coast, especially New Orleans where levees are destroyed. Almost a month later, Hurricane Rita hit the city.
    • Successful women’s cross country – November – The team places fifth in NCAA play.


    • West Virginia mine – January – In Sago, W. Va. a coal mine explosion left 12 dead and one survivor.
    • Bird flu scare – Jan. and Feb. – Reported cases of bird flu in humans and birds in Europe raised concern.
    • Winter Olympics – February – The 20th Winter Olympic games were held in Turin, Italy.
    • Cheney shot friend – February – Vice President Dick Cheney accidentally shot Harry Whittington while quail hunting.
    • Tornado outbreak – March – More than 100 tornadoes hit the central U.S. in two days.
    • Milosevic died – March – Slobodan Milosevic, former president of Serbia and Yugoslavia accused of war crimes, was found dead in his prison cell.
    • Immigrant march – May – Illegal immigrants across the nation marched in protest of U.S. policies.
    • Israel and Lebanon conflict – July – August – Hezbollah, an organization in Lebanon, and Israeli forces battled along the border.
    • Pluto not a planet – August – After a change in the definition of “planet,” Pluto was no longer the ninth planet.
    • Crocodile Hunter died – September – Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin was killed while filming a stingray segment in the Great Barrier Reef.
    • Soccer placed in Big Ten
    • – October – The Illini women’s soccer team finished second in Big Ten play.
    • “Tacos and Tequila” party – October – A Greek social event spurred inquiries into racial parties at the University.
    • Gordon to Indiana – October – Eric Gordon officially backed out of his verbal agreement to play Illini basketball.
    • Google purchase – October – The giant Google empire purchased YouTube.
    • Kashmir earthquake – October – An earthquake in the Kashmir region of Pakistan resulted in 74,000 deaths.
    • Gymnastics placed at NCAA – November – Men’s gymnastics finished fifth in NCAA competition.
    • Ford honored – December – The nation mourned the death of former President Gerald Ford.
    • Hussein executed – December – After months of trials, Saddam Hussein was hanged.


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    • Snow Days – February – After a blizzard, the University canceled classes for two days in a row.
    • Illiniwek’s last dance – February – The Chief danced for the last time after the University retired the mascot. NCAA bans on hosting home events were lifted.
    • Virginia Tech – April- A gunman killed 32 people and injured many more in the largest school shooting in U.S. history.
    • Law named coach – May – Jolette Law was hired as the women’s basketball head coach.
    • Track and field shared title – May – Women’s track and field shared Big Ten outdoor championship with Michigan.
    • Final Harry Potter book released – July – The finale of the Harry Potter series, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” arrived on shelves.
    • Wiretapping controversy – August – The Protect America Act of 2007 passed, allowing warrant-less surveillance of communication for anyone believed to be involved in terrorism.
    • Minnesota bridge collapse – August – During afternoon rush hour, the I-35W Bridge in Minneapolis collapsed, killing 13.
    • Peru earthquake – August – An earthquake measuring 8.0 on the moment magnitude scale hit the central coast, killing over 500 and injuring over 1,300 people.
    • Troop Withdrawal – November – The first large troop withdrawl from Iraq began with 5,000 troops returning home.
    • Writer’s strike – November – The Writer’s Guild of America went on strike, halting scripted television. The strike ended Feb. 12, 2008.
    • Mitchell Report – December – The published investigation named 89 Major League Baseball players involved with steroids.


    • Rose Bowl – January – The Fighting Illini football team competed in the Rose Bowl, losing to USC.
    • Presidential race – January – Party primaries for the November election began.
    • NIU attack – February – A gunman, later found to be Steve Kazmierczak, a former University graduate student, killed six Northern Illinois students.
    • Raul Castro – February – Raul officially took over rule of Cuba from his ailing brother Fidel.
    • Olympic protests – April – Protests of the Summer Olympics in Beijing occurred during the torch relay.