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IC marks start of major Crispin Hall renovation with groundbreaking


Illinois College trustees, staff and faculty gathered inside the foyer of Crispin Hall on May 6 for a groundbreaking ceremony.

The event marked the start of the second phase renovation of the academic building and recognized the donors who are powering the project through philanthropy. 

President Barbara A. Farley said it was a momentous occasion, brought to fruition by the “diligent and creative work undertaken by so many.”

“When we come back together for the ribbon cutting ceremony in August of 2023, Crispin Hall will be returned to its original purpose as a science-focused building — home to mathematics, computer science, physics and engineering, neuroscience, and psychology,” Farley said. “The transformation of this space will be revolutionary for Illinois College — for our campus, for our students and for our neighborhood in Jacksonville.”

Work on the building began May 16 and it will open for classes in August 2023. The College is partnering with BLDD Architects and O’Shea Builders on the project. 

Robert E. Chipman ’74, chair of the Illinois College board of trustees capital improvements working group, said the project was proposed and selected after significant research and discussion on the needs of the campus. 

“So, it's with great gratitude that I'm able to address you today and to say I'm so excited for the work to begin.” A renovated Crispin Hall will “continue student success into the years ahead,” he added.

The renovation of Crispin Hall is a key priority of Inspiring Achievement: The Campaign for Illinois College, IC’s $50 million comprehensive campaign, and began with a first phase renovation that turned the auditorium into a state-of-the-art learning environment. This second phase renovates the remainder of the building, providing collaborative and contemporary learning spaces that attract, engage and inspire students. The technology rich classrooms and labs will strengthen teaching and learning while making growth and expansion possible. The project also includes an update of the exterior of the building. 

Farley acknowledged Trustee Del Dunham ’72 and his wife Lisa Dunham, who made the first phase renovation possible as lead donors. Farley also thanked the Illinois College Board of Trustees, College leadership and donors for their support, commitment and vision.

“This project is powered by philanthropy, and commitment and dedication to the enduring success of Illinois College, and I am grateful to all of the donors and supporters who are making it possible," she said. “The donors who are investing in this project, and those who will yet invest in this project are changing the trajectory of students’ academic careers.” 

Steven R. Mills ’77, chair of the board of trustees, reflected on how Crispin Hall has served Illinois College students and faculty well over the course of 60 years.

“Many of us have taken classes in Crispin Hall and have many memories — some better than others,” he joked. “But the trustees have determined that it's time to renovate Crispin, so our faculty and our students can have the teaching and learning environments they need to succeed and thrive in the 21st century.”

A ceremonial spade used in groundbreakings over the course of IC’s history was provided for the groundbreaking by the Khalaf Al Habtoor Archives. Mills pointed to its significance as a symbol of the many times IC leadership has stepped up to meet its obligation to students, the institution and to future generations — made even more poignant in the context of the College’s upcoming bicentennial.

“Now it's our turn,” Mills said. “It's our turn as leaders of the College to step up and we really look forward to the completion of this renovated, state-of-the-art building in time for the Fall 2023 term.”

To learn more about the renovation of Crispin Hall and how to be part of the transformation, visit

About Illinois College

Founded in 1829, Illinois College is a residential liberal arts college fostering academic excellence rooted in opportunities for experiential learning while preparing students for lifelong success. The college is located in Jacksonville, Illinois. With an enrollment of more than 1,000 students, the college offers over 50 undergraduate programs. In 1932 the society of Phi Beta Kappa established a chapter at Illinois College, and it remains one of only 11 in the state.

Illinois College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association.

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