State Farm Center, an architectural and engineering marvel on the University of Illinois campus, celebrated its 50th birthday in a big way in early March 2013. In addition to a Fighting Illini men's basketball win, the festivities commemorated a glorious past while heralding a breathtaking future. That future will become a reality courtesy of full-scale renovation project that will benefit, in important ways, everyone who visits the famous and versatile facility.
Now 50 years old, venerable, distinctive State Farm Center remains much more than a workhorse facility that has been the scene of indelible memories for tens of millions of spectators. The structure is a unifying thread in the fabric of the University of Illinois. As incoming freshmen, U of I students participate in New Student Convocation at the State Farm Center and as seniors they enjoy the fruits of their academic labor through graduation ceremonies there. From start to finish, U of I students, whose support sustains the facility, have called this iconic and historic building their home, and its value and importance extends to and beyond Central Illinois and the State of Illinois. And, reflective of their leadership and deep commitment, students recently approved a referendum on a per-semester fee that will significantly help finance the renovation of State Farm Center.
Illinois Renaissance, estimated at $157 million, will be one of the most ambitious building improvement projects in U of I history, and will benefit everyone - students, alumni and visitors from near and far - for decades to come. The impact on Fighting Illini basketball will be especially profound, reflective of the University's and the Division of Intercollegiate Athletics' commitment to elevate and sustain Illinois at the elite level of NCAA competition. A renovated and rejuvenated State Farm Center will open the door for the University of Illinois to host National Collegiate Athletic Association championship events, bolstering the reputation of the athletics program and serving notice that the Urbana-Champaign campus is a top-notch destination for the highest level of collegiate sports. Through Illinois Renaissance, the University of Illinois will build on its commitment to provide a superior experience for all student athletes, paving the way for them to compete at the highest level for championships in the Big Ten Conference and the NCAA.
Illinois Renaissance is a major and necessary undertaking, one that calls on the support of many for the benefit of all. This sweeping project will involve and better serve University of Illinois students, student athletes, and fans of Fighting Illini athletics and the world-class entertainment that has been a hallmark of State Farm Center. Illinois Renaissance is a clarion call for dedicated and visionary friends to leave their mark, their legacy, on one of the nation's greatest facilities, State Farm Center, while continuing to provide millions of Illinoisans memories that will last a lifetime. Make a difference, join the Illinois Renaissance.