From time to time, Joey Scavuzzo comes down with what he calls a “nearly debilitating feeling of heavy nostalgia” when he harkens back to his Illini days.
“Most recently, it was triggered by a UIUC business school alumni donation mailer. Even though they just received $150,000,000 from Larry Gies, the school’s future is uncertain without my $19,” says the LA-based television writer (BS ’08, finance).
“Because of that nostalgia, I find myself walking through Campustown via Google Maps, revisiting campus addresses I frequented and bars where I lived.
“I can say with 100 percent sincerity that my undergrad years were some of the best in my life. I often wish I could return to them, just for a couple days. It’s unhealthy. I know. But so is cake from a supermarket and that’s never stopped me.
“For the most part, everyone who attends UIUC takes similar classes, in the same buildings, reading similar texts, eating at nearly the same restaurants and drinking at the same bars, with the establishment’s name being the only thing that changes over the decades.
“So when you break it down like that, the only unique thing to each person who attends U of I are the friends they make. It’s those people who shape your experience and how you will look back on it. And I can say, with certainty, that the friends I attended with are the best people on the planet — intelligent, hard-working, kind, funny, ambitious, passionate, creative, supportive and all the other superlatives.
“And none of that happens without an institution that attracts those types of people. So thank you, UIUC, for connecting me with the people who have had an immeasurably positive impact on my life and shaped me into the semi-respectable human I am today. Thank you for bringing us together.
“Happiest of birthdays, UIUC. Your $19 is not in the mail.”