On Sept. 7, 1986, Mike White’s second-to-last Illini football team kicked off the season with a 23-0 shellacking of Howard Schnellenberger’s Louisville Cardinals.
Recent UI law grads and lovebirds Lori Schaffel and Andy Goldstein, back on campus for a fun weekend with his fraternity brothers, were among the 72,822 on hand at Memorial Stadium to witness the program’s first shutout in three seasons.
But it’s not the part of that unforgettable Saturday night that either remembers best.
Lori Goldstein, as the Chicagoland attorney now goes by, picks it up from here.
“As the game began, a plane flew over the stadium with the message, ‘Lori, will you marry me? Andy.’ I looked at Andy, he pulled a ring out of the binocular case, and I said yes.
“This brought his fraternity brothers to start shouting, ‘She said yes’ and the crowd joined in. Since my parents and my husband and I met each other at U of I, the entire campus will always hold special memories.”
Like her husband, Goldstein is a dual-degree alum — earning her bachelor’s in journalism in 1981 and her law degree three years later. She discovered her career calling while an undergrad enrolled in a favorite professor’s Media Law class.
“Steve Helle was a main reason that I became a lawyer,” she says. “I love to write and followed my PR exec dad’s route to a U of I degree in journalism. I took a few pre-law classes, including Steve’s Media Law class, and fell in love with the law.
“Steve had been a practicing attorney so he shared war stories and real experiences. I decided after his class to apply to law school, had three more wonderful years at U of I, and never looked back.
“Last year, I heard Steve had received an award and I emailed him to congratulate him and tell him that he was a wonderful mentor — 40 years ago — and a key reason I was now an attorney. He emailed right back, thanking me for sharing.
“Lesson: Don’t wait to thank those who helped shape our lives and careers.”