CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — The University of Illinois is preparing to launch its newest fundraising campaign with an event that one school official calls “one part Ted Talk and one part Cirque de Soleil.”

Barry Benson, vice chancellor for advancement for the Urbana-Champaign campus, also told The News-Gazette that the Friday event in Champaign will feature a Ferris wheel, performances and a talk with alumnus and NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins.

The event, he said, will highlight the university’s achievement and impact.

“It’s going to be unlike anything that this campus or community has ever seen,” Benson said.

The campaign is expected to surpass the $2.43 billion Brilliant Futures campaign that lasted eight years and ended in 2011.

Benson said officials will be announcing four general priorities for the campaign at the event, which is expected to last about an hour.

“Certainly elevating the student experience is one of those,” Benson said.

Benson said each campus has its own fundraising goal. Urbana-Champaign’s goal will be announced at Friday’s event. The Springfield campus will announce its goal on Tuesday, and Chicago’s goal will be made public Oct. 27.


Information from: The News-Gazette, http://www.news-gazette.com

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