Please join Krannert Center and faculty from the College of Fine and Applied Arts as we recognize the alumni of Project 500 and honor their legacy—then, now, and into the future—with music, dance, and theatre performances by the award-winning UI Black Chorus, Professor Endalyn Taylor, and university students and community members with choreography and direction by Professors Lisa Gaye Dixon and Dr. Kemal Nance.
1968 was a monumental year with events happening locally, nationally, and around the world that shaped and directed the trajectory of American culture and democracy for the next 50 years.
Created from the fire of change and revolutionary possibility, the Student Educational Opportunity Program, known at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign as Project 500, was born. This initiative sought to recruit 500 underrepresented students. It was a foundation for the growth of campus cultural houses, the creation of music programs, and served as a historical antecedent for recent calls for 1,000 more Black students to attend the U of I and the recently announced Illinois Commitment.
In the Fall of 1968, hundreds of students from across the United States converged on the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign campus to test the basic proposition of the promise to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness.
Many others faced discrimination, arrest, and racialized stress as they challenged and proved the university’s and indeed, the nation’s commitment to equitable and accessible higher education.
In this evening of song, dance, and theatre we remember and honor those who made the current future a possibility.