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: September 19 | September 28 | Homecoming week | October 12


The headline to this article says it all: “Wind farms expected in Illinois soon.” No kidding. Vidette writer James Ford talks to the head of the Illinois Wind Energy group about its teaming up with ComEd and Tomen Power Corp. to build the first commercial wind farm in Illinois, in Bureau County. “Wind power is really coming of age,” says Stephan Noe with Illinois Wind Energy. Today, there are more than 42 wind projects online around Illinois, including several you can spot on Interstate 55 between Chicago and Illinois State. Plus, Illinois State’s Center for Renewable Energy (established in 2008) is a leading provider of research and other resources for the wind energy industry.


It’s October 1992, and the Vidette editorial board is not happy with the administration for cutting back on their vacation time. Specifically, winter 1992-93 will be the first in which the normal four-week winter break is shortened to three weeks. And in fall 1993, the administration plans to eliminate the one-day fall break. “It is often a time students use to catch up on classes and prepare for midterm exams. It is not a time we use for non-educational purposes, such as jaunting off to South Padre Island.” Zingers aside, the editorial has a simple point: Fall break was a much needed opportunity to go home, see friends and family, and play catch up. Today, students get all of Thanksgiving week off.


Gamma Phi Circus President Cecile Dorneden writes a letter to the editor, signed by 48 other members of the historic group, opposing plans to change the names of several Bone Student Center rooms, particularly the Circus Room. Dorneden cites the “traditional and historical influences that circuses have had here in the Normal/Bloomington community.” (Indeed, you can find an entire chunk of Milner Library’s Special Collections unit devoted to Bloomington’s strong circus ties.) She continues: “We feel it is possible to make the Circus Room a more interesting place without disturbing the many different types of functions it is used for throughout the year.” The 3,690-square-foot Circus Room is still there today, with the unique ambiance of an old fashioned 3-ring circus.


Construction of Illinois State Normal University’s $300,000, 120-acre golf course (today Weibring Golf Club) is nearing completion. This next line is why I love the 1960s: “Since many colleges and universities possess their own golf courses, it is understandable that Illinois State should provide its student body with the pleasure of a campus course,” reporter Steve Modzelewski writes matter-of-factly. Upon its opening, financial support for the course will come out of the same student fees by which other athletic facilities and programs are supported. It’s being built under a bond referendum and “is not interfering in the least with the financing of educational facilities,” Modzelewski writes.

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