Part 3: On the 'glorious' library, 'iconic' Alma and a life-changing lecture

Part 3: On the 'glorious' library, 'iconic' Alma and a life-changing lecture

With the University of Illinois about to turn the big 1-5-0, we asked A-list alumni about the one Campustown spot that made the biggest impression on them. On Tuesdays throughout 2017, we'll share their memories.

"Iconic" Alma, as JOHN ZEGLIS (Class of '69) will always know her. "The 'happy children' engraving says it all — still," says the Bronze Tablet-winning former president of AT&T. Plus, "Altgeld Hall, immediately behind the statue, is where my father went to law school and kicked off the success-through-education theme that the family still abides by, almost religiously. And I got engaged to Carol Hamm of Alpha Chi Omega on that very spot, knowing that at some point in our 48 years of marriage — so far — someone would ask the question you are asking."

The place you can always find a good book — or 13,158,748. "In all of my travels, I have not found a university library that is more special," says Lincoln Laureate EDNA GREENE MEDFORD, who earned her master's here in 1976 and now chairs the history department at Howard University. How special? "I flew into Willard Airport several years ago on my way to Bloomington, just so I could visit the library. It was glorious."

Lincoln Hall, where eight-time Boston Marathon women's wheelchair winner JEAN DRISCOLL ('93) made an important discovery during freshman anthropology class: "We were studying brain disorders and the professor began listing symptoms for temporal lobe damage. It described someone in my life to a tee and when I spoke to him about it later, he revealed that a CT scan years earlier showed a lesion on his temporal lobe. A light bulb went on and helped me support this person better."

The window-less basement of the Transportation Building — "a great place for a nerd engineer to survive a tornado," says BRUCE GOODWIN (MS '78, PhD '82), who'd go on to head up the nuclear weapons program at California's Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

Bonnie Jean's, the old pizza joint on top of the Illini Inn. For Google senior software engineer JOEL POLONEY ('08), "no night was complete without a stop there on the way home, writing graffiti on the walls while waiting an hour to get up there, and inhaling the slice before you made it back downstairs."

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