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George Sakas

George Sakas

Director of economic development/strategic planning | Chicago Executive Airport | Class of 1991

For George Sakas’ money, there’s no better view in C-U than the one from the top row of the east balcony at Memorial Stadium.

“You can see almost all of campus and the game below you, with Assembly Hall — yes, Assembly Hall — to the south," he says. "On a crisp fall day, it’s the best sight I know.

“I’ve taken my kids there since they were old enough to walk that many steps. It’s had an effect apparently because my daughter just committed to the UI for the fall.”

It's a shame she won’t get to experience a few of the things Pops did on his way to earning a master’s in urban planning in 1991.

Such as:

— The House of Chin volcano, best enjoyed alongside one’s future spouse.

“My wife and I still tell people about having a volcano at Chin’s on Sixth. I’ve yet to find a drink or an experience like that since — ‘throw a $10 bill on the table and grab a long straw! Who’s brave enough to drink the caldera?’

— “American Pie” singalongs at O’Malley’s.

“My favorite bar, dearly departed, remains O’Malley’s. Singing the Pina Colada song (‘at a bar called O’Malley’s!’) and ‘the day the music died’ at midnight. Memories of youth are so sweet.

“After touring many campuses for my daughter, the UI remains the best,” says the director of economic development and planning at Chicago Executive Airport.

“The Quad, Campustown, Altgeld, Illini Union, Foellinger ... it’s a gem.

“My next favorite place will be wherever hers is.”