Every week, we use STATEside to take a look back at the recent and not-so recent past, using the archives at the Vidette.

If you recall any of the campus happenings referenced in our This Week in Illinois State History feature, feel free to post in the Comments below.

Previous weeks: August 22 | August 27 | September 4 | September 13


U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., stops by then-Downtown Normal to announce that $1.8 million in funding for a new four-story downtown transportation center will be included in an appropriations bill. The project now carries a $32.4 million price tag and is the centerpiece of Normal’s downtown renewal project. Illinois State President Vic Boschini is on hand for Durbin’s press conference and says that the new transportation facility will benefit his campus. “I know it doesn’t cover the entire cost, but it is a pretty good down payment. I know we can move it forward and make certain this is a reality,” Durbin said. Ten years later, in July 2012, the $45 million Uptown Station opens for business on the Uptown Circle.


A move by the Office of Residential Life to set special female-only hours at the South and Central Campus Fitness Center is generating controversy. A letter to the editor in the Vidette calling the special hours discriminatory toward men is met several days later with new letters defending the policy. ORL put the special hours in place after complaints by women about men making lewd comments or staring uncomfortably at them. “I realize that the number of male fitness center users who conduct themselves in such immature ways is small,” one anonymous letter-writer says. “But, as is always the case, the majority must often suffer for the stupidity of a few.”


A push is under way to introduce more students to the Westhoff Theatre Mainstage’s productions this year. The Student Promotion Committee is looking to counteract low student attendance and related funding cutbacks. So theater students are competing in a creative contest to sell the most tickets to draw in more on-campus business. They’re optimistic. “It’s my belief that students who aren’t attending the plays are not attending because they don’t know about what the theater has to offer,” says graduate acting student Peter Garino. This former proscenium stage was renovated in 2002 to create an intimate 175-seat performance space. The Westhoff Experimental Theatre hosts four SecondStage and two MainStage shows every year.


The new Illinois State academic calendar, set to go into effect for the 1973-74 school year, calls for the completion of the first semester before Christmas, instead of in January. Illinois State now joins a growing number of institutions moving toward that plan and away from the traditional academic calendar. The goal is to eliminate the “lame duck” period between the end of Christmas vacation and the start of the second semester. The change has a domino effect, of course, on spring semester, summer courses and the next fall, the Vidette reports.

Ryan Denham can be reached at rmdenha@ilstu.edu.