Former President Barack Obama was invited to campus to accept an award for Ethics in Government.
He talked about being back in his home state, former presidents, President Trump and the country's progress as a whole.
More than 900 Illini got the opportunity to see former President Barack Obama. Some of them were lined up ready to hear him speak.
"Obama is really very good president I really want to meet him he's like an idol for me for a long time," states student, Huaze Li.
A young entrepreneur and junior at the U of I introduced Mr. Obama.
"When you apply to Illinois they tell you this place is going to open up doors to big opportunities. As a student standing on this stage introducing a former U.S. president I can tell you that is absolutely true," says Amaury Saulsberry, CEO of Nouvo Health.
Once the man of the hour was on the stage, he reminded the crowd what was at stake in November.
"I am here to deliver a simple message, and that is that you need to vote because our democracy depends on it."
For te first time since leaving office, Obama criticized President Trump by name.
"He's just capitalizing on resentments that politicians have been fanning for years. The fear and anger that is rooted in our past and born out of the enormous."
President trump fired back at a fundraising stop in South Dakota saying, "They said what did you think about his speech. I said I did start watching it but sadly I fell asleep."
Some students who wanted to see the speech for themselves, but couldn't get a ticket gathered for a viewing party at Huff Hall.
"It really opened me up to the real possibilities of voting. I actually just registered right now with one of the students walking around, and he really showed me the importance of voting, especially this time and age," says student, Zakir Ujjainwala
Mr. Obama also made his rounds across campus, stopping at the U of I president's house and Caffe Paradiso inspiring more students to head to the polls.
"Even though he's not president he's clearly doing a lot to motivate the young community to vote and that sort of thing, getting people more aware. I'm really honored to be able to see that in person as well as meeting him in person," states student, Nathaniel Zipperich.