Most campuses like to brag about their Quad, residence halls, or dining centers.

But only Illinois State can say we’re home to the oldest collegiate circus in the U.S.

It’s called Gamma Phi Circus, and it’s one of the most unique things you’ll find on the Illinois State campus. Since the 1920s, the circus has challenged students to develop both physically and mentally through the practice of circus arts. Each year of hard work culminates in Gamma Phi’s spring shows in April.

Math major Thomas Kawalek is one of Gamma Phi’s student leaders. He’s proud to live up to Gamma Phi’s values: Commitment, Integrity, Respect, Courage, Unity, and Service, or CIRCUS.

“I met so many incredible people,” said Kawalek. “There’s just something about the circus. It draws people you wouldn’t expect to see anywhere else. We really try to work together and become a kind of family. It takes a lot of time and practice, but you get to know so many people and become more diverse as a person by being part of it.”

Tickets for the Gamma Phi Circus spring shows are now available for purchase through Ticketmaster and Braden Box Office, located on the first floor of Bone Student Center.

Illinois State University’s Gamma Phi Circus will host its 2016 Spring Shows in Redbird Arena with performances

Gamma Phi Circus spring performances are at 7 p.m. Friday, April 15, and at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday, April 16, in Redbird Arena. Before the 1 p.m. Saturday show, there will be a pre-show children’s carnival that begins at noon with games and activities for all ages.

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Adam Rahn can be reached at