Among the 20,000 or so trees on the UI campus is a majestic oak on the Union side of the Quad.
For four-degree UI grad Howard Aizenstein, it was home.
“I spent much of my 13 years as an Illini resting, reading, studying and socializing while sitting under that tree,” says the Pitt professor of bioengineering and clinical and translational science, who in 2019 was honored with a pair of alumni achievement awards — from the UI’s College of LAS and Department of Mathematics.
“I distinctly remember meeting there one of my closest lifelong friends, Benny Levi (Horowitz). This was in spring 1986, on the very first day of our MD/Ph.D. (Medical Scholars) program.
“He had a sweet, wide-eyed, 130-pound Rottweiler, which he was bringing to class. I was impressed by Benny’s audacity.
“I have looked up to him ever since.”