Self-Guided Quad Tour
On this 40-minute tour, you’ll see the highlights of the social and academic core of campus. Your journey will start and end with the Admissions and Records Building, located at 901 West Illinois Street in Urbana.
Your first step at Illinois might be meeting with an admissions counselor or student representative to ask about the admission process, requirements, or just general campus and academic life. The Office of Undergraduate Admissions is the place to ask any and all preliminary questions. It’s open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Head west to Gregory Street and then take a right to head north toward Illinois Street. Once you reach Illinois Street, you'll see the Illinois Street Residence Halls in front of you.
Townsend and Wardall make up the Illinois Street Residence Halls (ISR). Both are popular choices for students wanting to live close to Campustown and the Engineering Quad. In fact, a living-learning community for innovative and entrepreneurial spirits is located in Wardall. Want to know more? Check out the other university-owned residence halls on campus.
Head west on Illinois Street, but notice the large complex to the south that takes up a full city block! This is the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, home to the Theatre and Dance Department.
Champaign-Urbana is host to a variety of state-of-the-art facilities, including Krannert Center for the Performing Arts. Taking up a full city block on the Illinois campus, it’s home to more than 350 performances each year and 180 productions. These performances include everything from operas to world-renowned guitar festivals, and you’re offered a student discount to each one.
Continue walking west on Illinois Street, crossing Goodwin Avenue. Then continue straight west between Burrill and Morrill Halls, under the skywalk.
Connected via the skywalk, Burrill and Morrill Halls are home to the advising departments of the Life Sciences. Note the historical marker near the entrance to Burrill Hall. Read the bronze plaque or check out a video clip about this campus scientific advancement.
Proceed west under the skywalk and then cross Mathews Avenue. Continue directly west between the Natural History Building and Noyes Laboratory of Chemistry.
Heading west toward the Quad, the Natural History Building is on your right, toward the north. This is home to the Department of Geology and many of the classrooms and labs for the life sciences, including Integrative and Molecular and Cellular Biology. It’s separated from Noyes Lab by the oldest bus stop on campus.
Noyes Laboratory of Chemistry is on your left, toward the south, and is home to the School of Chemical Sciences, composed of the departments of Physical, Organic, and Analytical Chemistry. It was once the largest building in the country devoted solely to chemical research.
Continue west until you reach the Quad. At that point turn left and head south to begin your loop around the Quad’s perimeter.
From relaxing on the lawn to meeting group project members, the Quad is the central hub on campus. Every year kicks off with Quad Day, an event for all registered student organizations to gather in one place to recruit new members. Between the Illini Union on the north end and Foellinger Auditorium on the south, many of the most notable landmarks on campus can be found. You’re sure to see something different happening every day!
Have you noticed any squirrels on your tour yet? It seems we have former University President Andrew S. Draper to thank for the surplus of these furry creatures. In 1901, Draper asked the university’s Professor of Geology Charles W. Rolfe to look into bringing squirrels to campus to better his students’ university experience. We hope they make your day, too!
Turn left here and head south down the east edge of the Quad. The first building on the corner is Noyes Laboratory of Chemistry. The next building on your left is the Chemistry Annex.
As you head south, the Chemistry Annex will be on your left. The Chemistry Annex houses the Chemistry Learning Center, a Chemistry Help Room and computer lab that has tutors available throughout the day to assist students with homework. Computers here allow you to simulate labs online before attempting them in the classroom.
Continue south on the Quad. The next building on your left is Davenport Hall.
Davenport Hall is home to the departments of Anthropology and Geography. When the building was home to the College of Agriculture (hence the title on the front of the building), the first level was used as a stock pavilion—check out the Illini Super Sweet Corn Historical Marker near the entrance. Don’t worry, though; the smell has since been relocated to the South Farms!
Continue south on the Quad. The next building on your left is the Foreign Language Building.
Built in 1971, the Foreign Language Building is the youngest building on the Quad. You have your choice of 33 languages other than English and 8 language departments. The building also houses the departments of Theology, Linguistics, and Classical Civilizations. Notice the unique structure? The building was originally constructed to collapse away from its center after housing a super computer during the Cold War era.
Step in front of Foellinger Auditorium (the building on the south end of the Quad) before continuing further south.
Foellinger Auditorium, completed in 1907, resembles Thomas Jefferson's rotunda on the University of Virginia campus. It’s home to the largest lectures at Illinois. But it’s not just for academics. Foellinger is also home to major campus lectures and performances, including past guests Ralph Nader, Patch Adams, Bill Gates, Sara Bareilles, Sean Austin, and the Mythbusters.
Foellinger Auditorium has quite a few secrets to discover. For example, did you know that our Quad Cam is positioned on top of the building? What’s more, if you walk onto the lower patio of Foellinger, position yourself on the round medallion, face the building, and whisper, it should echo back to you.
Get back on the east edge sidewalk and continue to head south, behind Foellinger Auditorium. The building just to the east, past the Foreign Language Building, is Smith Memorial Hall.
This building is one of the homes of the School of Music. There are 77 pianos on the top floor (roughly 20 tons of weight!), along with 49 student practice rooms. If you play the piano, make sure to stop in and play a romantic piece for Captain Thomas J. Smith. He dedicated this Beaux-Arts architecture-style building to the memory of the love his life, Tina Weedon Smith, with the hope that it would "in a measure bless mankind."
Continue walking south behind Foellinger Auditorium until you get to the brick patio area.
Have you made it to the brick patio yet? Rest assured, you haven’t missed the Undergraduate Library—it’s just beneath you! One of the most popular places on campus, the library is open until 2:30 a.m. most days. Take a virtual tour of the Undergraduate Library to check it out from home.
Why’s it 2 stories underground, you ask? To avoid casting a shadow on the Morrow Plots, the cornfield you see further off to the east. The longest-running experimental cornfield in the Western Hemisphere, the Morrow Plots was named a National Historical Landmark in 1968.
The only thing better than a cornfield is a great song dedicated to our cornfield. Our premier a cappella group on campus, The Other Guys, perform a Morrow Plot song. If you have a singing talent, play an instrument, compete in a sport, like to jump out of planes, enjoy the month of October, or just like to eat barbeque (the Grillini!) we have over 1,000 student organizations waiting for you!
Before returning to the Quad, step off the brick patio to the west and take note of the Main Library.
The Main Library is the building west of the Undergraduate Library. The university houses more than 14 million volumes, including a copy of the Gutenberg Bible, the first major book printed with a movable type printing press. In total, we have over 20 libraries, creating the largest public academic library system in the world.
Interested in a challenge? Enter the Main Library and find the underground tunnel that connects with the Undergraduate Library. This is where many students choose to study. There's also a coffee shop located here.
Head north back toward the Quad, this time walking along the west edge. The first building on your left is Gregory Hall.
Gregory Hall was named after the first president of the University of Illinois, John Milton Gregory, who’s actually buried outside Altgeld Hall (a building you'll see later on this tour). Gregory Hall houses the departments of History and Philosophy and the College of Media.
Roger Ebert, late film critic and alumnus of the College of Media, attended many of his classes in Gregory Hall. Each year, the College of Media hosts his famed Ebertfest Film Festival in conjunction with the Virginia Theatre.
Continue heading north back toward the Quad. The next building on your left is Lincoln Hall.
Lincoln Hall is the recently renovated building originally built for the anniversary of Lincoln’s birthday. In fact, it reopened as one of the nation's "greenest" and "most wired" classroom buildings. Rumor has it that rubbing Lincoln’s nose before an exam brings good luck. The building now holds the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences administrative offices, as well as the departments of Communication, Political Science, and Sociology.
Continue heading north, but look off to your left in between Lincoln Hall and the English Building for the Eternal Flame sculpture.
The pillar you see between Lincoln Hall and the English Building is the Eternal Flame, a gift from the graduating class of 1912. Formerly an ever-burning oil lamp, the flame promised eternal love after kissing your sweetheart beneath it: "A lover’s kiss will bring eternal bliss." Now the electric light tends to flicker on and off, so students have changed the myth: Lovers who kiss underneath the flame are doomed to an on-again, off-again relationship. Kiss your special someone here and find out!
Continue heading north on the Quad. The next building on your left is the English Building.
The English Building is home to the departments of English, Rhetoric, and Business and Technical Writing. Originally, it was the Women's Building—a self-contained unit with classrooms, dormitories, and a pool in the basement. Legend has it that a woman drowned in the 1940s, and her ghost still haunts the English Building to this day. We'll meet you in the English Building after dark this evening.
Continue heading north. The next building on your left is the Henry Administrative Building.
Upon first glance, you might notice that the ground floor of the Henry Administration Building resembles the Empire State Building. In fact, the Empire State Building was created over 20 years later! The Henry Administration Building contains many administrative departments and offices, as well as various discussion classrooms.
Continue heading north, around the west side of the Illini Union (the large building at the north end of the Quad). The stone building just to the west with the large tower is Altgeld Hall.
Altgeld Hall, now home to the Math and Actuarial Sciences departments, was once home to the pink limestone library and the College of Law. Altgeld also stands as the original bell tower on campus. Automated chimes ring every 15 minutes, in addition to a special lunchtime concert. Due to the size of the tower, 2 notes are missing from the chimes: D# and F were chosen to be left out because they’re not in the university’s fight songs. Need to send a card? A post office is also on the first floor. Just try not to get lost—there are 20 levels in this building!
Head northwest on the sidewalk toward the Alma Mater statue.
The statue north of Altgeld Hall is the Alma Mater; it was sculpted by the world-famous sculptor and University of Illinois alumnus Lorado Taft. It represents the university’s motto, "Learning and Labor," and its inscription reads: "To thy happy children of the future, those of the past send greetings." The Alma Mater is the most photographed place on campus and is also one of the most school-spirited. Alma frequently dresses up for special events like homecoming, big games, snow days, and graduation!
It seems fitting that Illinois is home to the tradition of Homecoming. Since 1910, one of the earliest recorded Homecoming events took place right here on the Illinois campus. In recent years, homecoming has been enhanced by iHelp, a day during homecoming activities when over 1,000 students complete service work in the community to celebrate!
Continue heading northwest on the sidewalk to the intersection of Green and Wright. This is Campustown.
Green Street is the main line of Campustown. It’s one of the best and most convenient areas to grab a bite to eat on campus. Restaurants here offer cuisine from all over the world, and multiple stores sell the textbooks you need and the Illini gear you can’t live without!
Head back toward the Alma Mater statue and then head directly east to go to the north entrance of the Illini Union (the large building behind the statue).
The Illini Union was dedicated as a "building which would be not only a distinguished social center, but also to inspire those who use it with the best traditions." It has definitely accomplished that goal.
The Union is the most popular student hangout on campus. It contains a food court, bowling alley, and billiard room in the basement. It also houses reading rooms, the McKinley Health Resource Center, the Courtyard Café, an art gallery, Registered Student Organization offices, a branch of the University of Illinois Credit Union, and a hotel. With all that, it’s no wonder an average of 20,000 students enter this building each day!
This was the last stop on your tour. You can walk through the Illini Union to get back to the Quad. From there, head back east to return to the Admissions and Records Building.