In 1909, the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois approved the establishment of an independent Department of Entomology on the Urbana-Champaign campus. Although entomology as a subject had been taught, primarily under the aegis of the Department of Zoology and Entomology since 1876, the creation of a separate department allowed entomologists on the campus to chart their own course. For the next 99 years, UIUC entomologists have helped to set the standard for the discipline nationwide.

The year 2009 is our 100th birthday and we're having a 100th birthday party - to celebrate, we're hosting a one-day symposium. After the fashion of the Founder's Award at the Entomological Society of America, each session is organized around a distinguished past faculty member who has made a lasting contribution in an area of insect science and will feature an invited alumni speaker who is making a contemporary impact on that area. Each session will be introduced and chaired by a UIUC entomologist, who will present a brief biography of the honoree and then present a brief overview of his or her own work as it relates to the faculty pioneer. We'll also have a profusely illustrated dinner talk recounting one hundred years of entomological humor.

The date, December 11, 2009, was chosen for our symposium because it is the day before the annual meeting of the Entomological Society of America in Indianapolis, IN. Most entomologists attend the annual meeting and it is our hope that, by scheduling our symposium immediately before its start, we can maximize alumni attendance.

Home base for Illinois EntCent 2009 will be the I-Hotel and Conference Center, where a block of rooms has been set aside for attendees. Registration details will follow. Activities for accompanying spouses and families include tours of the new UI Pollinatarium. This symposium is not restricted to alumni; we hope that many entomologists en route to the Entomological Society of America meeting will consider detouring to attend!