News Local/State

U of I To Create Center Honoring Roger Ebert


Efforts are underway to create a center named for late film critic Roger Ebert in the College of Media at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Ebert's wife, Chaz Ebert, and the school made the announcement on Thursday.

The Ebert Center's goal would be to combine the studies of film and ethics to encourage writers and filmmakers to think critically about film.

Ebert was a Pulitzer Prize-winning movie critic for the Chicago Sun-Times who graduated from the University of Illinois.  He died in 2013 after a long battle with cancer.

As part of the center, the U of I has announced three Ebert fellows - College of Media students, who will be mentored by the Chicago Tribune's chief film critic, Michael Phillips.

U of I College of Media Dean Jan Slater said the Ebert Center will take an interdisciplinary approach to encourage students and faculty to think critically about the role of film in society.

"The center is a tribute to Roger, of course, and it is meant to promote his vision of what film can be to humanity as well as society," she said.

It will cost and estimated $5 million to establish a center at the university. 

So far about $2.5 million has been raised, including an endowment from the Eberts.

WILL is a part of the College of Media, which will be working with the Ebert Fellows Program.