Obama speech draws much University of Illinois interest

URBANA, Ill. (AP) _ More than 17 times as many University of Illinois students registered to hear a campus speech by former President Barack Obama as there are seats in the auditorium.

Obama is scheduled to speak Friday at Foellinger Auditorium in Urbana. The News-Gazette reports 22,611 students registered before a ticket lottery portal closed last Friday for the some 1,300 available seats.

The event isn’t open to the public but is expected to be live-streamed online.

University special events director Laura Wilhelm-Barr says Foellinger will be closed part of Thursday and all day Friday ahead of the speech.

Larger campus venues are hosting other events, with concerts scheduled Wednesday and Friday nights at State Farm Center and the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts booked for its 50th anniversary celebration on Friday night.