Whatever happened to: Streaking at the University of Illinois

Whatever happened to: Streaking at the University of Illinois

Today, we update you on people and places from the recent past and decades ago. Here, streaking at the University of Illinois.

Then

For one week 40 years ago, the University of Illinois was No. 1 in the rankings.

The top-ranked UI was actually tied for the lead among the top-10 "streaking colleges," a weekly poll published by the National Collegiate Streakers Association at St. Louis University.

Naked people were literally falling from the sky.

A March 7 nude skydive by four members of the UI parachuting club and a mass streak across the Quad by as many as 500 students the following day launched the school into national notoriety. A streak past the Eiffel Tower by 13 UI students studying in Versailles made it international.

Now

The fame has fizzled. Some students tried to recreate a "Flash Wednesday" event in 1995 — a couple dozen showed up but kept their clothes on when they spotted police on the Quad.

Aside from philanthropic "underwear mile" runs and a "naked bike ride" — which is more of a nearly-naked bike ride — mad dashes au naturel are a less common sighting these days.

The National Collegiate Streakers Association appears to have disbanded. And maybe it's not official, but the Wikipedia page for "streaking at educational institutions" mentions notable nude rituals at 30 colleges and universities. Illinois is not among them.

Tom Bruno says ...

Bruno was a UI sophomore in 1974. He and a college buddy folded up their blue jeans and dashed from Altgeld Hall to what is now Foellinger Auditorium, "wearing nothing but our smiles." The caper seems not to have affected his political career — he's now Champaign's deputy mayor.

"I don't think I was ever more proud of the University of Illinois than in my sophomore year when Walter Cronkite showcased the University of Illinois students studying abroad in Paris streaking underneath the Eiffel Tower," Bruno said. "'And that's the way it is.'"

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