The story of where Ross Cavitt found true love is one he never tires of telling.
Just ask any of his children.
“I often told my kids they were in this world because of the Marching Illini,” says the Atlanta TV reporter-turned-Cobb (Ga.) County communications director.
“When I arrived on campus to enroll in 1979, I went to the band building to sign up for a symphonic band. The lady who was at the front desk recognized I came from a high school with a successful marching band. She said the trombone section could use some help and I should audition.
“I told her: As an engineering student, I didn’t think I’d have the time for the Marching Illini. She replied: ‘It really doesn’t take up that much of your time.’
“That was one of the biggest lies ever told to me, but it led to me meeting my wife, leaving engineering for journalism, and pretty much embarking on the life I’ve lived for decades.”
Cavitt, who arrived in C-U as aeronautical engineering major, left four years later with a broadcast journalism degree.
“One memory from my years at UIUC has to do with one of my introductory news writing professors. T. Lee Hughes, an Associated Press veteran, was at UIUC to get an advanced degree and was teaching the intro class.
“Hughes was a print journalist and I had a few years as a radio reporter and thought I knew all there was about broadcast writing. We constantly argued about the difference between the two styles of writing and he dealt with my barbs with humor and class. His stories about covering events with the AP likely solidified my long journey in journalism.
“My wife and I still talk about a long-ago-gone spot called Treno’s on Goodwin Avenue. I was addicted to their mushroom and swiss burgers, and the jazz band I played with frequently held concerts there on the weekends. I ate so much popcorn at Treno's, it’s a wonder I didn’t explode my junior year.
“I still make sandwiches at home trying to match the ham and swiss concoctions of Lox, Stock and Bagel. And I’m sure I’d be a multi-millionaire today if I didn’t spend so much of my early disposable income at Record Service.”