U-of-I Sesquicentennial Celebration: From Then to Now

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Alma Mater Statue

The University of Illinois has grown and evolved over the past 150 years to become one of the most renowned universities in the world.

The University of Illinois started way back, 150 years ago. It started as Illinois Industrial University and with a class of about only 50 students. Over the years the university has made many additions eventually leading to their success and accomplishments of being one of the top universities in the world. Today the school has over 40,000 thousand students and is continuing to grow. It has taken a lot of work to get to this point and it didn't just happen overnight. Through the archives and histories told by people who have been around, the evolution of the university from the past to the present could be better understood.

The university has grown in a multitude of areas over the years. The size of the school and its enrollment has grown. The school now offers an abundance of different areas that people can study. The school has grown in diversity. It has made a variety of strides and improvements.

University of Illinois Students (FEMALE ONLY) (Source: University of Illinois Archives)

One place that hones many of the accomplishments and some of the historical elements is the university archives located in the university library. They have a variety of different photos and other elements dating back from 1867. The most interesting aspect of it all is that they still get things sent to them today, related to the university's past.


University of Illinois Students (MALE ONLY) (Source: University of Illinois Archives)

Bill Maher, is the Director of the University Archives. He has been working with the university archives for over 30 years. He says that there are things in the archives that can interest practically anyone and that they get things that deal with the university's past as well as things that don't.

There are also researchers present from all over the nation who study the archives at the university and their significance. The University Archives is open to the public.' If you are interested in the university and its 150th celebration, check out their website.

The university also has a timeline posted of its major events, throughout the years. The next event celebrating the 150th year celebration takes place Wednesday, March 29th.

View my script here:'Script Full Package.


This assignment was fulfilling and challenging in many different ways. I was able to cover a very cool aspect of the school with its 150th celebratory year. I learned a lot about the university and its history and didn't even know the university had a specific place with archives. I was able to connect with many different individuals who are familiar with many of the events that took place over the years and hear some of their interesting stories.

Unidentified students who attended University of Illinois (Source: University of Illinois Archives)

This assignment presented many challenges in the aspect that there was so much to shoot
and get footage of, but only a limit on what you could include. It made me really think about what shots would fit in the story. It is pretty tough gathering all the shots you need or planned and then actually incorporating them within the video package. It is best to get an early start on gathering your b-roll and scheduling your interviews.

I would say getting the right b-roll needed for the package and figuring out what key questions to ask the people you are interviewing were some of the toughest parts of this assignment. It was pretty hard getting the right background shot and making sure the subject wouldn't move.

Old Student File (Source: University of Illinois Archives)

It was especially hard in the editing stage to get everything lined up in sequence and make sure what you hear is also being seen at the same time. Working on a video package like this really had me think and gave me a lot of appreciation and respect for the newscasters who do this daily.

This assignment helped me develop many skills that can come in handy within the business. It made me realize that this is not as easy as it looks and does take a lot of time and effort to make a good story. I think it was a cool and great learning experience going through this assignment.

If you would like to see a little about the university's 150th celebration, see my work here!


Sources: Past Photos- University of Illinois Urbana Champaign Archives.

-Greg Behle


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One thought on “U-of-I Sesquicentennial Celebration: From Then to Now

  1. Zach! First on your article: I liked your topic and the relevance it has to the campus. The 150 celebration is a big deal and it should be written about. I like the layout of your story- explaining the history. I think you could have explained maybe one event that will being going on in detail, and you could have gone to it and shot it. But overall, the story was fun to read. I also love the photographs you added throughout your blog, they show just how old the university is.
    Your video was GREAT! I love the nat sound in the beginning and in the end- Altgeld Bells! Yes, everyone does know that sound and it felt like I was right in the heart of campus. Great way to start and great way to end! Your cut-aways were really nicely done. You had some nice interviews/soundbites. I loved your interview with Bill Maher and the shot you got with him opening/closing the letter!!! What an amazing shot! I think you could have had a stronger/more exciting voice in your video. It’s the university’s 150 birthday!! I wanted to be able to feel that excitement in your voice.

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