is a city in Champaign County, Illinois, in the United States. The city is located south of Chicago, west of Indianapolis, Indiana, and 178 miles (286 km) northeast of St. Louis, Missouri. Though surrounded by farm communities, Champaign is notable for sharing the campus of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with its sibling city of Urbana. Thanks to the university and a number of well known technology startup companies, it is often referred to as the hub of, or at least a significant landmark of the Silicon Prairie. Champaign houses offices for seven Fortune 500 companies, and two more are planned to arrive soon.
As reported in the 2000 U.S. Census, the city was home to 67,518 people. The city held a special census in 2007 that showed that its population had grown to 75,254. The mayor is Gerald Schweighart, whose term will expire in 2011.
Champaign was founded in 1855, when the Illinois Central Railroad laid its rail track two miles west of downtown Urbana. Originally called "West Urbana," it was renamed Champaign when it acquired a city charter in 1860. Both the city and county name were derived from Champaign County, Ohio.
On September 22, 1985, Champaign hosted the first Farm Aid concert at the University of Illinois' Memorial Stadium. The concert drew a crowd of 80,000 people and raised over $7 million for American family farmers.
In 2005, Champaign-Urbana (specifically the University of Illinois) was the location of the National Science Olympiad Tournament, attracting young scientists from all 50 states. The city also hosts the state Science Olympiad competition every year. The University of Illinois is next expected to host the National competition in 2010.