"It really hurts knowing she won't be back and I was looking forward to seeing her brown," said Andrew Martin. He's a senior at UI.
For Martin, graduating with Alma is more than just a university tradition, it's a part of his family.
"I have a deep family tradition at UI and I won't be able to graduate with Alma. We kind of skipped it one year. We came and did our family picture on Alma so we had all six of us up there," said Martin.
Martin will now have to skip another.
"It's just such a huge thing and it's the one day you can never get back, so it's really sad," said Alison Jones. She graduated from UI in 2003 with Alma by her side. Something this year's seniors won't get to experience.
In the meantime, the university's art department is creating some Alma Mater replicas that will be placed around campus in time for graduation.
"It's something, I guess it's better than nothing but you can't replace that moment that's for sure," said Jones.
"I don't think it will be the same. Personally I will probably go take a picture with Red Grange or at the Hallene Gateway," said Martin.
The university will post a map showing all the locations of the replicas. The real Alma Mater should be back on campus for the 2014 school year.