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Lauren Petty

Lauren Petty

TV reporter | NBC Chicago | Class of 2000

As the daughter of a proud Illini, Lauren Petty knew her way around campus — particularly Memorial Stadium — long before moving into the dorms.

So “it’s no surprise that my three sisters and I all went to the U of I,” says the 2000 journalism grad.

Her future husband did as well, though Petty and Mr. Right didn’t make a love connection until after they’d turned their tassels.

“We didn’t actually meet while in school, although I remember doing a double take the first time I saw him on campus,” says Petty, now a reporter at NBC Chicago. “He remembers it too.

“We laughed about it several years later when we finally did meet when mutual friends got married in 2004. We’ve been together ever since.”

No trip back to her alma mater is complete without a walk on the Quad, which edges the WPGU radio studios for the No. 1 spot on her list of favorite C-U places.

“No matter the season or my class location, I would find a way to walk through the Quad and marvel at all the people,” she says. “Some scurrying to class, others lying in the grass. I loved the energy, the diversity, the idea that we were all in this crazy thing called college together.

“After writing for my high school newspaper, I knew I wanted to study journalism when I started at the U of I. But my passion for print quickly changed when I started working at WPGU 107.1 The Planet, the student-run radio station, and it was my friends there who encouraged me to try television.

“Once I interned at WCIA the summer after my sophomore year, I was hooked. I’m so grateful for the professors and my peers who pushed me to put myself out there to tell stories on TV.”