What a year it’s been at Illinois State.
STATEside, our campus blog, tries to capture unique stories about our students, alumni, and University wherever they exist. This year, those stories took us to Texas, to the movies, to Kankakee, and then back to the Bone. As it turns out, the Illinois State story is … everywhere.
Here are the Top 10 most-read STATEside posts from 2015:
With more than 20,000 students, 3,000+ employees, and nearly 200,000 alumni, there are bound to be some interesting stats when it comes to campus life at Illinois State. For example, did you know that about 2 percent of all female students are named Jessica?
Our April Fools’ Day tradition brought some exciting news to campus: A federal grant will construct a new high-speed monorail system between Watterson Towers and Stevenson Hall, making the already compact campus a little smaller. Not really, but that’d be awesome, right?
This was a fan favorite. Our readers were able to “slide” between a historic photo and its modern-day equivalent, with some help from Illinois State’s Dr. Jo Ann Rayfield Archives. This nostalgic photo feature was so popular it inspired a sequel, with even better before-and-after shots.
Illinois State’s “living room” is about to get an extreme makeover. The University is moving ahead with plans for a $32.9 million renovation of the Bone Student Center, a project that will create an inviting “front door” for visitors and add new dining and hangout spaces for students.
BuzzFeed star Keith Habersberger ’08 hasn’t starred in any blockbuster movies or hit TV shows yet. He hasn’t been on Broadway, or in a big TV commercial, or anything else that’s traditionally made an actor “famous.” Yet the Illinois State alum still gets recognized almost everywhere he goes. And if you’ve ever spent more than 5 minutes on Facebook, you’d recognize him too.
Fifteen years after David Letterman playfully mocked their hometown, high school students taught by an Illinois State alum sent a message right back to the retired late-night host. “We’re taking skills from all over the curriculum and applying them to the real world,” the alum said.
Watterson Towers has been home for thousands of Illinois State students, dating back to the 1960s. As Watterson’s interior has evolved through the years because of renovation, its towering presence on the Illinois State campus has remained unchanged.
The Redbird football team faced North Dakota State in the FCS championship game in January 2015. In order to provide some fodder for Redbird chants at the big game, we offered a (light-hearted) comparison between the two universities. The Bison fans didn’t find it funny.
Illinois State played a key (and tough-to-spot) role in the remake of Poltergeist that opened in May. A family who is tormented by a nasty haunting in their Illinois home turns to a professor in Illinois State’s Department of Paranormal Research to help save their daughter. (No, Illinois State doesn’t actually have a Department of Paranormal Research.)
When Illinois State faced North Dakota State in the FCS title game, every Redbird had a “65” sticker on their helmet, in honor of John Rodgers, father of Eastern Washington offensive lineman Jake Rodgers. The elder Rodgers collapsed during ISU’s playoff game vs. Eastern Washington, and later died. The stickers were a tribute to the Rodgers family.
Ryan Denham can be reached at rmdenha@IllinoisState.edu.