The University of Illinois: Cassandra’s Alma Mater

What’s your alma mater?  For Cassandra, the main character in The Rock Star’s Wife series, it’s the University of Illinois.  Her older brothers Chris and Greg both attended the university, so for her it was a no brainer.  It would be her chosen school, too.  Never mind, her parents would rather she attended Western Illinois University with her double cousins Phil and Maroula.

Kelly and I have been talking about U of I since the start of the school year.  I’m sure some of our classmates must be going there, but none of my friends are and neither are any of Kelly’s, so we’ve talked about rooming together.  I think she’s serious.  I hope she’s serious.  The campus is like a city.  It’d be good to have at least one friend since it’ll probably take a while to meet new people.  – Sexual Awakening, Chapter 29

About the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

University of Illinois Library & Auditorium.
University of Illinois Library & Auditorium. This file is made available under the Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication.

Founded in 1867, the university is approximately 140 miles south of Chicago in Chambana, the Champaign–Urbana metropolitan area.  The metro area has a population 222,538 with Champaign being the larger of the two cities with more than 88,000.

The university’s current student population is more than 56,000, studying more than 150 programs in 15 colleges and instructional units.  Of these, 15,666 were graduate students.  University of Illinois ranks 13th nationally for the number of earned doctorates.

There are more than 470,000 living alumni.

Current tuition is $15,868-$20,872 per semester for residents for an undergraduate degree, and $16,910 a year for residents for a graduate degree.

Campus facts:

  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, main campus (Quad) with the Illini Union building in the background.
    University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, main campus (Quad) with the Illini Union building in the background. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

    The University District is 3.6 square miles, but there are 641 buildings located in 9.9 square miles. This includes 470,000 feet of space for the campus recreation and wellness centers.

  • The Illini Union features a food court, an art gallery, a bowling/billiards area, a hotel, a banquet facility, two ballrooms and 24 rooms that can be rented for conferences, meetings, and events
  • There are 24 undergraduate residence halls, 15 private certified housing units, three university-owned apartment complexes for single graduate students or students with families, two residence halls for 720 graduate and upper division students, and 61 frat houses.
  • The university has 10 men’s and 11 women’s NCAA teams.

Undergraduate Degrees

University of Illinois logo“The fundamental promise at Illinois for nearly 150 years has been to provide our undergraduate students with truly transformative educational experiences,” the university’s website says. “Whether these experiences take place in the classroom, in the surrounding community or around the globe, our students leave this campus with the skills, knowledge and the drive to become leaders in their fields and to lead lives of impact in the world. Each year we welcome more than 32,000 undergraduate students across our nine undergraduate divisions – offering nearly 5,000 courses in more than 150 fields of study and awarding about 7,000 new degrees each spring.”

Cassandra studies for a Human Development & Family Studies degree in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences.

“Human Development and Family Studies.  There are three jobs I can get with that degree – well, only three that interest me – human resources specialist, caseworker or family services coordinator.  I really want to work in HR.” – Mr. Right is a Myth, Chapter 19


What was your experience with higher education like?  Leave a comment below.  Comments close after 90 days. For more information on the licenses mentioned on this page, visit


Here’s the 4-1-1

Mr. Right is a Myth by Melina DrugaThis blog is a companion piece to The Rock Star’s Wife, a series about sex, family, and rock & roll.  The series has elements of chick lit, romance and erotica and is best compared to The Vagina Monologues for its frank talk of sex and its consequences.  The series follows Cassandra from her teenage years into her 40s as she navigates relationships (both romantic and platonic) — all with music playing a prominent roll.

Book two, Mr. Right is a Myth, debuts August 2023:  Co-ed Cassandra Economos has a plan.  Earn her degree then move into a Chicago penthouse.  If she can meet a guy who accepts her, high sex drive and all, that’s an added bonus.  But how many frogs must she kiss before she meets a prince?

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