Illinois gave him the unforgettable opportunity of “playing in Memorial Stadium in front of 70,000 fans on perfect October afternoon.”
So, 42 years later, retired Caterpillar group president Stu Levenick returned the favor.
On Feb. 8, it was announced that the former walk-on turned team captain and his wife, Nancy, would donate $5 million toward construction of Illini football's new performance center.
The team’s auditorium will be named the Levenick Auditorium.
Levenick, the Illini’s 1975 offensive MVP and a 1976 forestry graduate, credits much of his success to his time on campus.
“If I think of the experiences that most influenced me later in life, they would be academics — great teachers; and athletics — great coaches,” he said.
“There is nothing like the feeling of relief walking out of Altgeld Hall onto the Quad after successfully completing your integral calculus final.
“Likewise, I’ll never forget the feeling of playing in Memorial Stadium in front of 70,000 fans on perfect October afternoon.”