The Big Picture: Illini Union

The Illini Union during a February snow shower. (Image by L. Brian Stauffer)

The Illini Union looms like a mirage through a veil of snow draping the Quad. Designed in the shape of an I”” to honor the University of Illinois, the building was constructed as a Works Project Administration development of President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal program; First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt even arrived to cut the cake celebrating the Union’s first birthday in February 1942. In the ensuing 25 years, the building would nearly double in size, with a major addition in 1963.