It's proposed as a focal point for social life on campus. The University of Illinois Springfield is hoping to raise enough funds for the project.
The effort got a boost, thanks to Richard and Charlene Osborne of Chicago and Scottsdale, Arizona. They have gifted $1.5 million to building the student union. Richard is a graduate of the school (MBA '73).
He is Senior Managing Director of Madison Industries, a private equity firm in Chicago. Prior to joining Madison, Osborne served as CEO, Chairman and President of Scotsman Industries, Inc.
The student union will include workspaces for students, dining, ballrooms, offices and much more.
"The Osbornes' extraordinary gift for the student union demonstrates their generous spirit and strong confidence in UIS," said Chancellor Susan J. Koch. "Dick attended UIS in the early days of the university, and since his graduation, he has seen the university grow and flourish. With their gift, Dick and Charlene can know they will have a personal and lasting impact on the future of our campus. Their gift is that important."
"When I received my master’s degree from UIS," said Osborne, "the school had just started its migration to the current campus. Since then the school has grown dramatically and is developing into a full scope university. Building a first-class student union is an important and needed step, allowing students to connect and create lifelong relationships. We are very pleased to support the student union project."
Osborne received the University of Illinois Alumni Achievement Award in 2013.
Students approved a referendum in 2012 to pay fees to cover half the price tag for the 50,000 square foot building. Construction is scheduled to begin this spring.