Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Champaign, IL

Following up on Jess's is some info about the town I was born and raised in.

Champaign is a city in Champaign County, Illinois, in the United States. The city is located 135 miles south of Chicago and 124 miles west of Indianapolis, Indiana. Though in many respects Champaign is still a farm community, it is notable for sharing the campus of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with its sibling city of Urbana. Thanks to the university and a number of well known technology startups (see below), Champaign is often referred to as the hub of, or at least a significant landmark of, the Silicon Prairie.
As reported in the 2000 U.S. Census, the city was home to 67,518 people. The city held a special census in 2007 that showed that its population had grown to 75,254.[1] The mayor is Gerald Schweighart, whose term will expire in 2011.
Champaign was founded in 1855, when the Illinois Central Railroad laid its rail track two miles west of downtown Urbana. Originally called "West Urbana," it was renamed Champaign when it acquired a city charter in 1860. Both the city and county name were derived from Champaign County, Ohio.
On September 22, 1985, Champaign hosted the first Farm Aid concert at the University of Illinois' Memorial Stadium. The concert drew a crowd of 80,000 people and raised over $7 million for American family farmers.
In 2005, Champaign-Urbana (specifically the University of Illinois) was the location of the National Science Olympiad Tournament, attracting young scientists from all 50 states. The city also hosts the state Science Olympiad competition every year. The University of Illinois is next expected to host the National competition in 2010.
Famous people from Champaign
Bonnie Blair, olympic gold-medalist speed skater
Bob Richards, olympic gold-medalist pole vaulter
Bill Geist, CBS News correspondent
Matt Herges, major league pitcher
Michael H. Kenyon, nicknamed the "Enema Bandit"
Alison Krauss, bluegrass singer
Ludacris (Christopher Bridges), rapper
Vashti McCollum won a U.S. Supreme Court case against religious teaching in public schools; her son Dannel would later be a mayor for Champaign three terms
Poster Children, rock group
Jerry Sanders Founder and former CEO of Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) W. J. (Jerry) Sanders, graduated from the U of I's Electrical Engineering Department (now Electrical and Computer Engineering Department) in 1958.
Lewis Hastings Sarett, inventor of synthetic cortisone
REO Speedwagon, rock group
James Tobin, laureate of the Nobel prize in economics(1981)
George Will, political columnist
Col. Lee Archambault, Astronaut (University of Illinois)
Commander Scott Altman, Astronaut (University of Illinois)
Jimmy John (Founder of restaurant Jimmy John's)
Starcastle, rock group
Hum, space rock/alternative rock group

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