A digital special section of | Subscribe

Celene Peurye

Celene Peurye

Executive director | Hunter Family Foundation

What does the 2013 Chicago Illini of the Year miss most about campus life?

It’s a lengthy list, says philanthropist Celene Peurye (’74):

— “The glass floors in the main library stacks and my own personal locked study carrel. Frankly, I’d love to rent something like this, if it had WiFi, rather than the co-working spaces so plentiful now.”

— “Walking across the beautiful Quad in the fall.”

— “Friday fish sandwiches at DeLuxe. I’ve never found any that can compare.”

— “Pina coladas and egg rolls at Chin’s.”

— “Graduating to the ‘graduate student bar’ — Murphy’s Pub — and naturally, slices of pizza at Garcia’s, because who could afford a whole pizza?”

— “Late-night philosophical discussions at Bubbie and Zadie’s.”

“It’s shocking how many of these are food-related, and sad how many of these places no longer exist — or changed have changed names," Peurye says.

She’s not done yet. Other magic memories:

— “When the Grateful Dead levitated the Assembly Hall.”

— “When Joni Mitchell just wasn’t feeling it at the Assembly Hall, left the stage and came back in a different outfit and was much better, and her response to the perennial request to ‘sing White Rabbit’ — ‘I’m slick, but I’m not that Slick.’”

— “When Stevie Wonder played the Assembly Hall and arrived in a full, nearly floor-length fur coat.”

— “Using Plato for statistics class.”

— “The ‘radical’ professor I had for political science.”

And lastly, one regret: “Never being able to get into the Japanese tea ceremony and flower-arranging class because it was always full.”