It's official: A $1 billion fund-raising campaign is under way at the UI, with $700 million earmarked for Urbana-Champaign, and $300 million for Chicago. The majority of the $1 billion to be realized through "Campaign Illinois" is designated for endowment in support of endowed chairs and professorships (75 at Urbana-Champaign and 32 at Chicago), as well as endowed student scholarships and fellowships, and academic programs. The UI Foundation, the university's fund-raising arm, announced during last weekend's annual meeting that slightly more than $350 million has been raised, of which about $160 million is earmarked for endowment. The effort has been under way but unannounced since 1991, according to Campaign Director B.A. Nugent, chief executive officer of the foundation. The drive is expected to continue through 1998, and will build on current fund-raising levels, which reached a record of nearly $150 million last year. Among the gifts announced Friday: * $20 million bequest from Maybelle Leland Swanlund to create the Swanlund Endowment. The single largest endowment in the UI, the gift will create 10 Swanlund endowed chairs in colleges and establish the Swanlund Academic Initiatives Endowment, which will support new programs of instruction, research and public service and encourage existing programs. * A $6 million estate gift from Elizabeth Marie Willett of Santa Barbara, Calif., to create an endowment, the Willett Research Initiatives Fund in the College of Engineering, which will be used to fund professorships, undergraduate and graduate student research through scholarships and fellowships, and research activities. * A distribution of about $4 million from the estate of Stephen W. and Alice H. Benedict of Port Townsend, Wash., to support research in the UI College of Medicine. * A $2.9 million gift from the Grainger Foundation to assist in the development of an Engineering Quadrangle on the north side of campus. The latest gift will support landscape elements of the major project. * A $1.9 million gift, via a 228-acre Christian County farm and other assets, from Dudley C. Smith Jr. of Tryon, N.C., to fund research in the College of Agriculture. * A $1.5 million bequest from an Elgin couple to provide academic or athletic scholarships for students attending the UI from Elgin high schools. * A $1.5 million bequest from an Alabama businessman to provide merit scholarships for students in the College of Commerce and Business Administration. * UI alumni George and Sarah Pagels of Chicago have made a $1.3 million commitment to support the UI Library. * A gift of $1 million each from Chicago businessmen Neil Bluhm and Judd Malkin to support the Campaign for Commerce. The gift of Bluhm and Malkin, childhood friends and Commerce graduates, will be used for the building and renovation activities as part of commerce's campaign. * An additional $1 million gift from alumni Gary and Carlotta Bielfeldt of Peoria to support construction of the Bielfeldt Athletic Administration Building. The couple previously committed $5 million for construction of the building on a site near the Assembly Hall. Groundbreaking ceremonies for the building will be held Friday. * $1 million bequest from Alan and Leonarda Laing to provide fellowships to encourage studies in the history and preservation of architecture. Alan Laing is former professor of architecture. * A $500,000 commitment from Ben Jay and Lorelei Rosenthal of Winnetka, Ill., to support construction of the West Addition to the Mechanical Engineering Laboratory. The South Gallery in the West Addition of the Mechanical Engineering Laboratory will house the restored 1878 Tower Clock, a seven-foot timepiece originally located in University Hall. * A $415,000 estate gift from alumna Dorothy Hussemann Strong to fund scholarships in the College of Engineering. * A $350,000 gift from Richard and Barbara Faletti of Clarendon Hills to endow the Richard and Barbara Faletti Gallery of African Cultures in the Spurlock Museum of World Cultures. * A $250,000 pledge from 1945 ceramic engineering alumnus Don Hamer to help support the department of materials science and engineering's Student Instructional Laboratory Center. * A $200,000 commitment from International Paper will establish and endow a lecture series in chemical engineering as part of the Department of Chemical Engineering's Chem E 2000 Campaign. Private gifts to the UI climbed $16.7 million from fiscal year 1993, a 32 percent jump. Gifts of $68.9 million were received through the foundation in FY 94, which ended June 30. The foundation brought in $52.2 million in FY 93, according to Craig Bazzani, vice president for business and finance. Foundation assets reached $290.2 million of which 77 percent or $222.3 million is invested in endowment funds from which earnings help to support university programs.