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Tom Costello

Tom Costello

Longtime MTD executive, communication instructor | Died in April 2020 | Class of 1976

Tom Costello arrived in C-U in 1972 by way of Miami of Ohio, hired to be a teaching assistant in what’s now the Department of Communication.

He stayed for close to a half-century.

“I have taught a class of freshmen nearly every semester since 1972," the longtime former assistant managing director of the Champaign Urbana Mass Transit District told us in 2018, two years before he passed away at age 70.

"Students seemed to be smarter and more prepared for college than I or my contemporaries ever were. Each class’ weaknesses seem offset by a knowledge of things we never knew."

In those early days, Costello remembered fun times at Treno’s and Murphy’s, “where they were still checking my ID at age 30; Chuck Wagon Diner; the Co-Ed and Thunderbird theaters.

"Just think: three theaters within walking distance of campus. It was cinematic heaven compared to the one movie house in Oxford, Ohio.

"I knew I was at the big time when I discovered pinball machines — my academic downfall — and a bowling alley in the Illini Union. All food at the Union was prepared in-house. You could get homemade, fresh breakfast in the basement of the Union and the baked goods were to die for.

"Streaking had become popular in those years and no one who was there will ever forget the night the 'falling Illini' student parachute team took to the dusky heavens for their turn to streak from the sky.

"I have seen great things in the past. I see great things in the future for our university.”

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