An Illini love story, Cosmopolitan Club edition ...
“C-U will always have a special place in my heart,” Laura Fernandez-Alvarez says.
“I graduated from high school, college and law school, learned how to drive, held several jobs, and met my husband.”
Before moving on to her second Big Ten campus, the native Venezuelan and Ohio State assistant law dean earned her bachelor’s in international studies (2002) and law (2005) degrees from Illinois.
“As an international student at U of I, I was always in awe of the whole campus — its size, its beauty, its buildings. I lived at home and commuted to campus and always loved my daily arrival.
“I would religiously check in at the Union, either to the computer lab, or the food court, or just to hang out, read and look at the oval through the large back windows. The whole campus was home.
“I loved the seasons, I loved the various buildings where my classes were held. I loved hearing the bells from Altgeld Hall. Walking through the campus for seven years for undergrad and law school — studying, working, being a teaching assistant, volunteering — it shaped the person that I am today, both personally and professionally.
“The richness of it, for me, was learning about the whole world, meeting people from all over, hearing languages, seeing typical clothes/traying food. The one spot on campus that was our heaven, though, was an international house called the Cosmopolitan Club. It was a very large and old house located on John Street.
“That house was the heart of international life on campus — coffee hours, international dinners, talks, discussions, dances, food from all over the world. I met my husband, who was a resident of the house, in 2000.
“Ivan is from Croatia and was one of the international representatives of the house. We have been together now almost 20 years, have lived in different cities and countries, and our memories always bring us back to U of I. The Cosmopolitan house, the campus.
“We now have four kids and I can’t wait to bring them and walk around campus. U of I will always be in our hearts.”