We asked Redbirds to share some of their favorite memories of their time at Illinois State University. With so many stories, the Redbirds Remember series showcases what Redbirds remember most about their alma mater. Whether you graduated five or 50 years ago, ISU was, at one point, your home away from home. The ISU community would not be the same without the Redbirds who have come through and made their mark at the University.

Since ISU’s founding in 1857, the University has housed a countless number of students. Some residence halls have been on campus for more than 50 years, while others have turned from residence halls into academic buildings. Like our students, residence halls have come and gone, but they are all a part of the University’s story and history. Redbirds reflected on their time in the residence halls and their best memories with fellow Redbirds. Here’s what they had to say:

Trevor Hedman at commencement
Trevor Hedman at commencement

“My senior year was in Hamilton-Whitten. One of my favorite memories from there is staying up late to pin insects for my insect collection for the entomology class I was taking. I would have a VH1 classic on my TV in the background.” -Trevor Hedman ’07

“I lived in Colby Hall. I loved the kitchen in the basement. I was an international student and was able to utilize the kitchen to make some ethnic food. They were great times.” -Olubukola Adebowale ’08

Many Redbirds hold fond memories at Watterson Towers, the tallest point between Chicago and St. Louis.

“I lived in Watterson. In 1974, they introduced Dannon yogurt. I don’t think the food service folks quite knew what it was. This was old-fashioned, full fat, fruit on the bottom, 400 calories per cup Dannon yogurt. We fell in love and were eating it morning, noon, and night.” -David Van De Voort ’75

“I lived in Watterson Towers. At that time, in 1977, it had just opened. We had the bragging rights of being the tallest college residence hall in the world.” -Mark Arseneau ’81

“Watterson Towers only stopped on every five floors. I stayed in the summer and there was a TV for us girls to watch Hawaii 5-0 while the boys played Dungeons and Dragons.” -Jami Simon ’83

Redbirds recounted the long-lasting friendships that were formed in the residence halls.

“I lived in 1334 Manchester, and I have so many favorite memories—election night in November 1972 and playing Risk all night long. I met my best friends for life there.” -John Fullerton ’76

Mary Stayner and her best friends at Illinois State
Mary Stayner (front) and her best friends from Illinois State

“I lived in Dunn for two years and made lasting memories as well as friendships. There were seven of us that have remained best friends after over 50 years, and we still get together annually to reminisce about ‘the good ole days.’ These were the best times of my life!” -Mary Stayner ’74, M.S. ’88

If there’s someone in your life who is looking to become a Redbird, don’t forget to tell them about your favorite times in the residence halls or on campus. Tell them what ISU was like and why it is truly a home away from home.