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Honoring the Legacy of STEM Educator William Patterson

URBANA – The community came together to honor the legacy of William Maurice Patterson, a prominent STEM educator, at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts on Sunday.

Lori Gold Patterson was seen swaying to the music during the service dedicated to her late husband, William Patterson, on April 14, 2024. Mae Antar/IPM News

On April 2, Patterson tragically passed away while on a journey at the age of 58. He is fondly remembered by his wife, Lori, three children, a grandchild, and a sister.

The Foellinger Great Hall was filled to capacity during the initial part of the service.

Reflecting on Patterson’s impact, his cousin Marcus Reid remarked, “He was a towering figure for many and touched the lives of people from diverse backgrounds, all of whom are present here today.”

Patterson was dedicated to promoting STEM education within Black and underprivileged communities.

Utilizing his passion for Hip Hop, he employed innovative teaching methods to engage with these communities.

Describing his influence, Reid stated, “His impact was profound. He not only shared our community’s essence but also brought it to the forefront of the world’s stage, using hip hop as a bridge.”
The Hip Hop Xpress Double Dutch Boom Bus, a project initiated by the late William Patterson, was displayed outside the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts on April 14, 2024. Reginald Hardwick/IPM News
The vibrantly decorated Hip Hop Xpress Double Dutch Boom Bus frequently visited neighborhoods, showcasing various technologies such as remote control cars and drones, along with an onboard studio.

The event was not a somber occasion but rather a commemoration of Patterson’s life and achievements.

The Champaign-Urbana Choir delivered a moving performance at the Foellinger Great Hall in the Krannert Center for Performing Arts during the memorial for William Patterson on April 14th. Mae Antar/IPM News

“It’s a tribute to his journey, his accomplishments, and the profound impact he had. The sheer number of people here today, over a thousand, is a testament to that,” remarked James Pettigrew, a close friend of Patterson.

The service featured more than seven speakers at the Foellinger Great Hall, including children from the Don Moyer Boys and Girls Club in Champaign, where Patterson was involved in the late 1990s.

Eulogies were delivered by notable figures such as Kevin Hamilton, Dean of the University of Illinois College of Fine and Applied Arts; Malaika Mckee-Culpepper, Assistant Professor of Education Policy, Organization, and Leadership at the University of Illinois College of Education; State Representative Carol Ammons (D-Champaign); and Aaron Ammons, Champaign County Clerk and Recorder.

The lobby of the Krannert Center for Performing Arts was abuzz during the post-service gathering in honor of William Patterson on April 14th. Mae Antar/IPM News

The Champaign-Urbana Community Choir also gave a heartfelt performance. William Jordan Patterson, his son, shared memories and played recordings of his father.

The gathering concluded with attendees moving from the hall to the lobby of Krannert for an after-party featuring food and DJ music, reflecting Patterson’s love for Hip Hop.

A recurring theme throughout the service was encapsulated in the phrase, “It don’t stop.”

This phrase, often used by Patterson, signifies the enduring nature of his work, his legacy, and the ongoing celebration of his remarkable life.