CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — The Illinois athletic department will celebrate its inaugural Hall of Fame class Friday night with a gala event at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago. The inauguration ceremony will be in September in Champaign, this weekend’s event is the first celebration for fans. Illini athletic director Josh Whitman says it was important to take the festivities to the Windy City.
“We didn’t feel like Champaign could support two events around essentially one activity, the Hall of Fame,” Whitman said. “So it wasn’t really a question for us really, do we do this in Champaign or Chicago? It was do this in Chicago or do we not do this at all?
“We think it gives different cross sectionals of our fan base different opportunities for us to celebrate what we think is a really significant event,” added Whitman.
The gala starts with a cocktail hour at 6:30, the black tie optional ceremony begins one hour later.