Take it from former Holy Cross Crusader and Champaign Central Maroon Mark Palmer: The perks of being a ’70s and ’80s townie turned ’90s UI student were many.
“Illini sporting events and tailgating. World-class arts and entertainment at Krannert Center. Cruising Campustown for some Taco John’s, a movie at the Co-Ed or Thunderbird, or spend your hard-earned pocket money at Record Service or Space Port.
“And, of course, access to games on PLATO computers,” says the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism’s chief counsel and 2010 Central Illinois Business Magazine Forty Under 40 Man of the Year.
“In the 1980s, access to PLATO computers to play learning games was a hit with kids of all ages in Champaign. Our parents would drop us off by the now-gone tennis courts just north of Talbot Lab, where a windowless room and the soft orange glow of a couple dozen computer screens welcomed us.
"I still remember the login code of ‘yr6’ to get to the game menu, which included hangman; pinball — with math; and pizza shop — learning fractions; to name just a few.
“Fast forward about 10 years to 1994, when I’d find myself a freshman in LAS. I was back on campus and back in front of a computer, only this time it was at the Lincoln Hall computer lab — just at the top of the stairs of the main lecture hall — and in front of a Power Macintosh 6100. I was surfing the web on Mosaic, checking my email with Pine, and chatting online using Telnet with my best friend, who was a freshman at Wake Forest.
“We were cutting edge. The latest edition of The Onion could wait — this was important stuff!
“Now, 25 years later, my wife and I are raising our two daughters in this same micro-urban, university-based community of Champaign-Urbana we love. With the same great resources, technology included, and people who make it all possible. One can only imagine what opportunities await them at the University of Illinois."