Roger Ebert Maintained Ties With U. of Illinois and Student Newspaper

Until his death on Thursday, the acclaimed film critic Roger Ebert was one of the most visible and vocal supporters of his alma mater, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and its student newspaper, The Daily Illini, where he was editor in chief 50 years ago. In 2012, when the paper threatened to fold, Mr. Ebert fought to raise funds to ensure its survival.

“Many, including myself, would say that they owe their careers at least in part to their experience at Illini Media,” Mr. Ebert said in a letter circulated to other alumni. “It’s now time to give back.”

Mr. Ebert also donated heavily to the university and promised to bequeath his papers and other materials to it.

Mr. Ebert had been scheduled to return to Urbana-Champaign this month as host of a film festival known as Ebertfest, The Daily Illini reported. The university, in a statement expressing its sadness over Mr. Ebert’s death, said the festival will go on as scheduled, April 17 to 21.

Last year, he helped the paper raise money as it struggled financially, and worked with students on the guide to the annual film festival he held on campus.

The current Daily Illini editor, junior Darshan Patel, says he and other students are “in shock” over Ebert’s death.

Read more at:

Return to Top