University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign

"University of Illinois" redirects here. For the university system, see University of Illinois system.
Not to be confused with Urbana University.
University of Illinois
at Urbana-Champaign
Former names
Illinois Industrial University (1867–1885)
University of Illinois (1885–1982)
Motto Learning and Labor
Type Public flagship
Established 1867
Endowment $3.3 billion[1]
Chancellor Robert R. Jones [2]
Provost Edward Feser (interim)[3]
Academic staff
Administrative staff
Students 44,087[4]
Undergraduates 32,878[4]
Postgraduates 11,209[4]
Location Urbana and Champaign, Illinois, U.S.
Campus Urban 4,552 acres (1,842 ha)[5]
Colors      Illinois blue
     Illinois orange[6]
Athletics NCAA Division I FBSBig Ten
Nickname Fighting Illini
Mascot None (2007–present)
Chief Illiniwek (1926–2007)

The University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, also known as U of I, University of Illinois, UIUC (deprecated[7][8]), or simply Illinois, is a public research-intensive university in the U.S. state of Illinois. Founded in 1867 as a Land-grant institution in the twin cities of Champaign and Urbana (together known as Champaign-Urbana), it is the flagship campus of the University of Illinois system and a founding member of the Big Ten Conference.

The University of Illinois is a member of the Association of American Universities and is classified as a RU/VH Research University under the Carnegie Classification system which denotes very high research activities.[9] In fiscal year 2015, total research expedentures at Illinois totaled $640 million.[10] The campus library system possesses the second-largest university library in the United States after Harvard University.[11]

The university comprises 17 colleges that offer more than 150 programs of study. Additionally, the university operates an extension[12] that offers educational programs to more than 1.5 million registrants per year around the state of Illinois and beyond. The university holds 647 buildings on 4,552 acres (1,842 ha)[13] and its annual operating budget in 2016 was over $2 billion.[14] Even though Illinois is a public state university, only about 12% of the budget comes from state taxpayers; the balance is provided mostly by roughly equal parts student tuition and research grants.

University rankings compiled by U.S. News & World Report, Times Higher Education and the Academic Ranking of World Universities rank Illinois among the top 50 universities in the world, and one of the top 5 engineering schools in the world.[15][16][17]


[18] The original University Hall, which stood until 1938, when it was replaced by Gregory hall and the Illini Union. Pieces were used in the erection of Hallene Gateway dedicated in 1998

Between several cities, Urbana was selected in 1867 as the site for the new school.[19][20] From the beginning, Gregory's desire to establish an institution firmly grounded in the liberal arts tradition was at odds with many State residents and lawmakers who wanted the university to offer classes based solely around "industrial education".[21] The University opened for classes on March 2, 1868, and had two faculty members and 77 students.[22] " Gregory is largely credited with establishing the University as it is today. Gregory's grave is on the Urbana campus, between Altgeld Hall and the Henry Administration Building. His headstone (mimicking the epitaph of British architect Christopher Wren) reads, "If you seek his monument, look about you."

John Milton Gregory, the university's first president

The Library, which opened with the school in 1868, started with 1,039 volumes. Subsequently, President Edmund J. James, in a speech to the Board of Trustees in 1912, proposed to create a research library. It is now one of the world's largest public academic collections.[20][23][24] In 1870, the Mumford House was constructed as a model farmhouse for the school's experimental farm. The Mumford House remains the oldest structure on campus.[25] The original University Hall (1871) was the fourth building built; it stood where the Illini Union stands today.[26]

During the Presidency of Edmund J. James (1904–1920), James is credited for building the foundation of the large Chinese international student population on campus.[27] [28][29][30] James established ties with China through the Chinese Minister to the United States Wu Ting-Fang[30] In addition, during James's presidency, class rivalries and Bob Zuppke's winning football teams contributed to campus morale.[20]

On June 11, 1929, the Alma Mater statue was unveiled. The Alma Mater was established by donations by the Alumni Fund and the classes of 1923-1929. The statue stood behind the Auditorium until it was moved to its current location on August 22, 1962[31] Like many Universities, the economic depression slowed construction and expansion on the campus, but the old University Hall began to collapse in 1938. The University replaced the original university hall with Gregory Hall and the Illini Union. After World War II, the university experienced rapid growth. The enrollment doubled and the academic standing improved.[32] This period was also marked by large growth in the Graduate College and increased federal support of scientific and technological research. During the 1950s and ’60s the university experienced the turmoil common on many American campuses. Among these were the water fights of the fifties and sixties.[33]

In 1998, the Hallene Gateway Plaza was dedicated. The Plaza features the original sandstone portal of the New Main University Hall.[26] The state of Illinois supplied roughly two-thirds of the university's budget while the federal government funded 90% of research.[34] In recent years, state support has declined from 4.5% of the state's tax appropriations in 1980 to 2.28% in 2011, a nearly 50% decline.[35] As a result, the university's budget has shifted away from relying on state support with nearly 84% of the budget now coming from other sources.[36] On March 12, 2015, the Board of Trustees approved the creation of a medical school, being the first college created at Urbana-Champaign in over 60 years.[37][38][39]

Statue on campus titled "Alma Mater" by Lorado Taft

Evolution of name

The original name in 1867 was Illinois Industrial University.[40] In 1885, the Illinois Industrial University officially changed its name to the University of Illinois, reflecting its agricultural, mechanical, and liberal arts curriculum.[21] This remained the official name for nearly 100 years, until it was changed to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1982 (using the reverse of the commonly used designation for the local area, "Champaign-Urbana"), ostensibly to establish a separate identity for the campus within the University of Illinois system. However, the institution continues to be known as "the University of Illinois", or just "Illinois" in both the media[41][42] and on many of UIUC's web pages.[43][44][45] Starting in 2008, the university began rebranding itself as "Illinois" rather than UIUC, changing the website and email addresses from to


Green Street in Campustown


The main research and academic facilities are divided almost evenly between the twin cities of Urbana and Champaign. The College of Agriculture, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences' research fields stretch south from Urbana and Champaign into Savoy and Champaign County. The university maintains formal gardens and a conference center in nearby Monticello at Allerton Park. Four main quads compose the center of the university and are arranged from north to south. The Beckman Quadrangle and the John Bardeen Quadrangle occupy the center of the Engineering Campus. Boneyard Creek flows through the John Bardeen Quadrangle, paralleling Green Street. The Beckman Quadrangle is primarily composed of research units and laboratories, and features a large solar calendar consisting of an obelisk and several copper fountains. The Main Quadrangle and South Quadrangle follow immediately after the John Bardeen Quad. The former makes up a large part of the Liberal Arts and Sciences portion of the campus, while the latter comprises many of the buildings of the College of ACES spread across the campus map.[46]

The campus is known for its landscape and architecture, as well as distinctive landmarks.[47] It was identified as one of 50 college or university 'works of art' by T.A. Gaines in his book The Campus as a Work of Art.[48] The campus also has a number of buildings and sites on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places including Harker Hall, Astronomical Observatory, Louise Freer Hall, The Main Library, The Experimental Dairy Farm Historic District, and Morrow Plots. U of I's Willard Airport is one of the few airports owned by an educational institution.[49]

Panorama facing north on UIUC's Main Quad


In October 2011, the Sustainable Endowments Institute gave the campus a grade of B for sustainability in its 2011 College Sustainability Report Card. Strengths noted in the report included the campus's adoption of LEED gold standards for all new construction and major renovations and its public accessibility to endowment investment information. The university makes a list of endowment holdings and its shareholder voting record available to the public. The weaknesses are areas such as student involvement and investment priorities. The Student Sustainability Committee[50] is empowered to allocate funding from a clean energy technology fee and a sustainable campus environment fee, while the university aims to optimize investment return but has not made any public statements about investigating or investing in renewable energy funds or community development loan funds. However, the biggest weakness of the university's sustainability is its shareholder engagement, as the university has not made any public statements about active ownership or a proxy voting policy.[51]

In his remarks on the creation of the Office of Sustainability in September 2008, Chancellor Richard Herman stated, "I want this institution to be the leader in sustainability."[52] In February 2008, he signed the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment, committing the University of Illinois to take steps "in pursuit of climate neutrality."[53]


University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign
Year Founded
Agriculture, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences
Fine and Applied Arts
Library and Information Science
Applied Health Sciences
Liberal Arts and Sciences
Social Work
Labor and Employment Relations
Veterinary Medicine
Carle-Illinois College of Medicine

The University offers more than 150 undergraduate and 100 graduate and professional programs in over 15 academic units. In 2015, the University announced its expansion to include an engineering-based medical program, which would be the first new college created in Urbana-Champaign in over 60 years.[38][39] The university also offers Undergraduate students the opportunity for graduation honors. University Honors is an academic distinction awarded to the highest achieving students. To earn the distinction, students must have a cumulative grade point average of a 3.5/4.0 within the academic year of their graduation and rank within the top 3% of their graduating class. Their names are inscribed on a Bronze Tablet that hangs in the Main Library.

Several scholar opportunities include "James Scholars" where undergraduate students invited to pursue a specialized course of study for no less than two years of their undergraduate course work,[94] "Chancellor's Scholars" where undergraduate students are invited to participate in the Campus Honors Program (only 125 members admitted per year),[95] and "Senior 100 Honorary", which recognizes graduates for achievements in leadership, academics and campus involvement throughout their undergraduate education.

The Leadership Certificate is a multi-semester structured program which aims to develop students' leadership skills through different kinds of curricula and programs.[54]


Admission to UIUC is rated as "more selective" by U.S. News & World Report.[55]

For fall 2014, UIUC received 35,822 freshmen applications; 21,150 were admitted (59.0%) and 6,937 enrolled.[56] For enrolled freshmen, the middle 50% range of SAT scores were 590-690 for critical reading, 700-790 for math, and 600-690 for writing.[56] The middle 50% range of the ACT scores were 26-32 for composite, 26-33 for math, and 26-33 for English.[56] Of the 43% of incoming freshmen who submitted high school class rank, 59% were in the top tenth of their graduating class and 90% were in the top quarter.[56]

For the freshmen who were admitted for the 2016 school year by November 2015, the middle 50% range of the ACT composite was 27-32.[57] The middle 50% range for the SAT was 1320-1470. The middle 50% means that 25% of students are below the range and 25 students are above the range.[57]

Admissions differ between the different colleges/schools in UIUC. The School of Social Work has the lowest ranges with the middle 50% range of the ACT at 24-27, and the middle 50% range of the SAT is 1150-1350 (out of 1600; for critical reading and math only). The middle 50% high school class rank is 74-90%.[57] The College of Education has the middle 50% range for the ACT and SAT (no writing) at 25-29 and 1200-1350 respectively. The high school class rank is 77-93%.[57] For the College of Agricultural, Consumer & Environmental Sciences (ACES), the middle 50% range of the ACT is 25-30 and the middle 50% range of the SAT is 1230-1390. The middle 50% high school class rank is 79-95%.[57] The College of Applied Health Sciences is similar with the middle 50% range of the ACT 25-30 and the middle 50% range of the SAT 1200-1350. The middle 50% high school class rank is 80-95%.[57] The College of Media has the middle 50% range for the ACT at 26-30, SAT (no writing) at 1230-1400 and the high school rank at 80-92%.[57] The Division of General Studies is also in that range with a middle 50% range for the ACT at 25-30, middle 50% range for the SAT (no writing) at 1300-1420, and a high school class rank of 79-94%.[57] The College of Fine and Applied Arts has the middle 50% range for the ACT at 25-30, the SAT score (no writing) middle 50% range is 1200-1390, and a high school class rank of 72-94%.[57] The schools start to make a more significant increase with the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The middle 50% range for the ACT is 27-32, the SAT (no writing) is 1320-1450, and the high school class rank is 85-97%.[57] The middle 50% range for the ACT and SAT (no writing) for the College of Business are 28-32, 1320-1440 and the high school class rank is 88-97%.[57] The most selective college is the College of Engineering. The middle 50% range for the ACT is 31-34, the SAT (no writing) is 1400-1520, and the high school class rank is 92-99%.[57]


University rankings
ARWU[58] 23
Forbes[59] 72
U.S. News & World Report[60] 44
Washington Monthly[61] 33
ARWU[62] 30
QS[63] 66
Times[64] 36
U.S. News & World Report[65] 47

In the 2016 U.S. News & World Report (USNWR) "America's Best Colleges" report, UIUC's undergraduate program was ranked tied for 41st among national universities and tied for 11th among public universities.[66] The graduate program had over 40 disciplines ranked by within the top 25 nationwide by USNWR, including 15 within the top five.[66] U.S. News & World Report ranked the undergraduate and graduate Accounting programs 2nd and 3rd respectively in the United States in their 2016 rankings.[66] The College of Business was ranked 47th nationally; the College of Engineering was ranked tied for 6th at the graduate level, with 9 disciplines ranked within the top ten.[66] Computer Science was ranked 5th in the country; Chemistry and Physics were also ranked within the top ten at the graduate level.[66] The College of Education was ranked by USNWR at 24th overall, with 3 programs ranked within the top ten.[66] The Graduate School of Library and Information Science was ranked 1st in the nation, with six programs ranked within the top ten.[66] The university was also listed as a "Public Ivy" in The Public Ivies: America's Flagship Public Universities (2001) by Howard and Matthew Greene.[67]

"Although there is no formal ranking process for HR/IR programs, employers and students acknowledge that the University of Illinois is one of the top three programs" according to the School of Labor and Employment Relations website.[68]

Kiplinger's Personal Finance rated Illinois 36th in its list of 100 Best Values in Public Colleges,[69] which "measures academic quality, cost and financial aid."

The Princeton Review ranked Illinois 1st in its 2016 list of top party schools.[70]

Internationally, the university was ranked 29th in the world by the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU), with UIUC engineering ranked 4th;[71] it was also ranked 36th by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, and 66th in the world by the QS World University Rankings.

The University of Illinois’ online bachelor's degree in Earth, Society, & Environmental Sustainability was ranked 6th best by "Non Profit Colleges Online."[72]


The Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology is the largest interdisciplinary facility on campus with 313,000 square feet (29,100 m2)

The University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign is often regarded as a world-leading magnet for engineering and sciences (both applied and basic).[73] Having been classified into the category comprehensive doctoral with medical/veterinary and very high research activity,[74] by The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, Illinois offers a wide range of disciplines in undergraduate and postgraduate programs. It is also listed as one of the Top 25 American Research Universities by The Center for Measuring University Performance.[75] Beside annual influx of grants and sponsored projects, the university manages an extensive modern research infrastructure.[76] The university has been a leader in computer based education and hosted the PLATO project, which was a precursor to the internet and resulted in the development of the plasma display. Illinois was a 2nd-generation ARPAnet site in 1971 and was the first institution to license the UNIX operating system from Bell Labs.

Research Park

Located in the southwest part of campus, Research Park opened its first building in 2001 and has grown to encompass 13 buildings. Ninety companies have established roots in research park, employing over 1,400 people. Tenants of the Research Park facilities include prominent Fortune 500 companies Capital One, John Deere, State Farm, Caterpillar, and Yahoo, Inc. Companies also employ about 400 total student interns at any given time throughout the year. The complex is also a center for entrepreneurs, and has over 50 startup companies stationed at its EnterpriseWorks Incubator facility.[77] This facility offers a bridge between the research of the university and the commercialization of technology. It provides services such as counseling, training, and networking events to startups. In 2011, Urbana, Illinois was named number 11 on Popular Mechanics' "14 Best Startup Cities in America" list, in a large part due to the contributions of Research Park's programs.[78] The park has gained recognition from other notable publications, such as and Forbes magazine. For the 2011 fiscal year, Research Park produced an economic output of $169.5M for the state of Illinois.[79]

National Center for Supercomputing Applications

The university hosts the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA), which created Mosaic, the first graphical Web browser, the foundation upon which Mozilla Firefox and Microsoft Internet Explorer are based, the Apache HTTP server, and NCSA Telnet. The Parallel@Illinois program hosts several programs in parallel computing, including the Universal Parallel Computing Research Center. The university contracted with Cray to build the National Science Foundation-funded supercomputer Blue Waters[80][81][82] The system also boasts the largest public online storage system in the world with more than 25 petabytes of usable space.[83] The university celebrated January 12, 1997 as the "birthday" of HAL 9000, the fictional supercomputer from the novel and film 2001: A Space Odyssey; in both works, HAL credits "Urbana, Illinois" as his place of operational origin.

Prairie Research Institute

One of the research fields located on campus. Located off Florida Ave.

The Prairie Research Institute is located on campus and is the home of the Illinois Natural History Survey, Illinois State Geological Survey, Illinois State Water Survey, Illinois Sustainable Technology Center, and the Illinois State Archeological Survey. Researchers at the Prairie Research Institute are engaged in research in agriculture and forestry, biodiversity and ecosystem health, atmospheric resources, climate and associated natural hazards, cultural resources and history of human settlements, disease and public health, emerging pests, fisheries and wildlife, energy and industrial technology, mineral resources, pollution prevention and mitigation, and water resources. The Illinois Natural History Survey collections include crustaceans, reptiles and amphibians, birds, mammals, algae, fungi, and vascular plants, with the insect collection is among the largest in North America. The Illinois State Geological Survey houses the legislatively mandated Illinois Geological Samples Library, a repository for drill-hole samples in Illinois, as well as paleontological collections. ISAS serves as a repository for a large collection of Illinois archaeological artifacts. One of the major collections is from the Cahokia Mounds.[84]

Big Ten Academic Alliance

University of Illinois is a participant in the Big Ten Academic Alliance. The Big Ten Academic Alliance (BTAA) is the academic consortium of the universities in the Big Ten Conference. Engaging in $10 billion in research in 2014-2015, BTAA universities provide powerful insight into important issues in medicine, technology, agriculture, and communities. Students at participating schools are also allowed "in-house" borrowing privileges at other schools' libraries.[85] The BTAA uses collective purchasing and licensing, and has saved member institutions $19 million to date.[86] Course sharing,[87] professional development programs,[88] study abroad and international collaborations,[89] and other initiatives are also part of the BTAA.


In Bill Gates' February 24, 2004 talk as part of his Five Campus Tour (Harvard, MIT, Cornell, Carnegie-Mellon and Illinois)[90] titled "Software Breakthroughs: Solving the Toughest Problems in Computer Science," he mentioned that Microsoft hires more graduates from the University of Illinois than from any other university in the world.[91] Alumnus William M. Holt, a Senior Vice-President of Intel, also mentioned in a campus talk in September 27, 2007 entitled "R&D to Deliver Practical Results: Extending Moore's Law"[92] that Intel hires more PhD graduates from the University of Illinois than from any other university in the country.

In 2007, the university-hosted research Institute for Condensed Matter Theory (ICMT) was launched, with the director Paul Goldbart and the chief scientist Anthony Leggett. ICMT is currently located at the Engineering Science Building on campus.

The University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UPCEA), which recognizes excellence in both individual and institutional achievements, has awarded two awards to U of I.[93]

Discoveries and innovation

NCSA Mosaic 3.0 for Windows.


Student life


As of fall 2015 the university had 44,087 students.[4] Over 10,000 of them were international students, and of them 5,295 were Mainland Chinese.[104] The university also recruits students from over 100 countries[105][106] among its 32,878[4] undergraduate students and 10,245[4] graduate and professional students.[106] The gender breakdown is 55% men, 45% women.[106] UIUC in 2014 enrolled 4,898 students from China, more than any other American university. They comprise the largest group of international students on the campus, followed by South Korea (1,268 in fall 2014) and India (1,167). Graduate enrollment of Chinese students at UIUC has grown from 649 in 2000 to 1,973 in 2014.[107]

Student organizations

The Student Union Building called Illini Union

The University boasts over 1,000 active Registered Student Organizations (RSOs),[108] showcased at the start of each academic year during Illinois's "Quad Day." Registration and support is provided by the Student Programs & Activities Office, an administrative arm established in pursuit of the larger social, intellectual, and educative goals of the Illini Student Union. The Office's mission is to "enhance ... classroom education," "meet the needs and desires of the campus community," and "prepare students to be contributing and humane citizens."[109] Beyond student organizations, the The Daily Illini is a student-run newspaper that has been published for the community of since 1871. The paper is published by Illini Media Company, a not-for-profit which also prints other publications, and operates WPGU 107.1 FM, a student-run commercial radio station. The Varsity Men's Glee Club is an all-male choir at the University of Illinois that was founded in 1886.[110] The Varsity Men's Glee Club[111] is one of the oldest glee clubs in the United States as well as the oldest registered student organisation at the University of Illinois.

Fraternity & Sorority Life

There are 59 fraternities and 38 sororities on campus.[112] Of the approximately 30,366 undergraduates, 3,463 are members of sororities and 3,674 are members of fraternities.[113] The Greek system at the University of Illinois has a system of self-government. While staff advisors and directors manage certain aspects of the Greek community, most of the day-to-day operations of the Greek community are governed by the Interfraternity Council and Panhellenic Council.[114] A smaller minority of fraternities and sororities fall under the jurisdiction of the Black Greek Council and United Greek Council; the Black Greek Council serves "historically black" Greek organizations while the United Greek council comprises other multicultural organizations.[115][116] Many of the fraternity and sorority houses on campus are on the National Register of Historic Places.

Student government

U of I has an extensive history of past student governments. Two years after the university opened in 1868, John Milton Gregory and a group of students created a constitution for a student government. Their governance expanded to the entire university in 1873, having a legislative, executive, and judicial branch. For a period of time, this government had the ability to discipline students. In 1883, however, due to a combination of events from Gregory's resignation to student-faculty infighting, the government formally dissolved itself via plebiscite.[117]

It wasn't until 1934, when the Student Senate, the next university-wide student government, was created. A year before, future U of I Dean of Students, Fred H. Turner and the university's Senate Committee on Student Affairs gave increased power to the Student Council, an organization primarily known for organizing dances. A year after, the Student Council created a constitution and became the Student Senate, under the oversight of the Committee on Student Affairs. This Student Senate would last for 35 years.[118] The Student Senate changed its purpose and name in 1969, when it became the Undergraduate Student Association (UGSA). It no longer was a representational government, instead becoming a collective bargaining agency. It often worked with the Graduate Student Association to work on various projects[119]

In 1967, Bruce A. Morrison and other U of I graduates founded the Graduate Student Association (GSA). GSA would last until 1978, when it merged with the UGSA to form the Champaign-Urbana Student Association (CUSA).[120][121] CUSA lasted for only 2 years when it was replaced by the Student Government Association (SGA) in 1980. SGA lasted for 15 years until it became the Illinois Student Government (ISG) in 1995. ISG lasted until 2004.[121]

The current university student government, created in 2004, is the Illinois Student Senate, a combined undergraduate and graduate student senate with 54 voting members. The student senators are elected by college and represent the students in the Urbana-Champaign Senate (which comprises both faculty and students), as well as on a variety of faculty and administrative committees, and are led by an internally elected executive board of a President, External Vice President, Internal Vice President, and Treasurer. As of 2012, the executive board is supported by an executive staff consisting of a Chief of Staff, Clerk of the Senate, Parliamentarian, Director of Communications, Intern Coordinator, and the Historian of the Senate.[122]


Main article: UIUC Residence Halls
Busey-Evans Residence Halls is one of many buildings on the NRHP

University housing for undergraduates is provided through twenty-four residence halls in both Urbana and Champaign. Incoming freshmen are required to live in student housing (campus or certified) their first year on campus. Graduate housing is usually offered through two graduate residence halls, restricted to students who are sophomores or above, and through three university-owned apartment complexes. Some undergraduates choose to move into apartments or the Greek houses after their second year. There are a number of private dormitories around campus, as well as 15 private, certified residences that partner with the university to offer a variety of different housing options, including ones that are cooperatives, single-gender or religiously-affiliated.[123] The University is known for being one of the first universities to provide accommodations for students with disabilities.[124] Currently, most first-year students with disabilities will live in Nugent Hall, supported by the Beckwith Residential Support Services.[125] In 2015, the University of Illinois announced that they would be naming its newest residence hall after Carlos Montezuma also known as Wassaja. Wassaja is the first Native American graduate and is believed to be one of the first Native Americans to receive a medical degree.[126]

Libraries and museums

Krannert Museum of Art

The campus library system is one of the largest public academic collections in the world.[23] Among universities in North America, only the collections of Harvard are larger.[127] Currently, the University of Illinois' 20+ departmental libraries and divisions hold more than 24 million items, including more than 12 million print volumes.[23] As of 2012, it had also the largest "browsable" university library in the United States, with 5 million volumes directly accessible in stacks in a single location.[128] University of Illinois also has the largest public engineering library (Grainger Engineering Library) in the country.[129]<ref name="illinois2"/[130] In addition to the main library building, which houses nearly 10 subject-oriented libraries, the Isaac Funk Family Library on the South Quad serves the College of Agriculture, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences and the Grainger Engineering Library Information Center serves the College of Engineering on the John Bardeen Quad.

Residence Hall Library System is one of three in the nation.[131][132] The Residence Hall Libraries were created in 1948 to serve the educational, recreational, and cultural information needs of first and second year undergraduate students residing in the residence halls, and the living-learning communities within the residence halls. The collection also serves University Housing staff as well as the larger campus community, including undergraduate and graduate students, and university faculty and staff.[133] The Rare Book & Manuscript Library (RBML) is one of the Special collections units within the University Library.[134] The RBML is one of the largest special collections repositories in the United States.[135][136][137][138]

The University has several museums, galleries, and archives which include Krannert Art Museum, Sousa Archives and Center for American Music and Spurlock Museum. Gallery and exhibit locations include Krannert Center for the Performing Arts and at the School of Art and Design.


Campus Recreation Center - East

The campus has two main recreation facilities, the Activities and Recreation Center (ARC) and the Campus Recreation Center - East (CRCE). Originally known as the Intramural Physical Education Building (IMPE) and opened in 1971, IMPE was renovated in 2006 and reopened in August 2008 as the ARC.[139] The renovations expanded the facility, adding 103,433 square feet to the existing structure and costing $54.9M. This facility is touted by the university as "one of the country's largest on-campus recreation centers." CRCE was originally known as the Satellite Recreation Center, and was opened in 1989. The facility was renovated in 2005 to expand the space and update equipment, officially reopening in March 2005 as CRCE.[140]


The bus system that operates throughout the campus and community is operated by the Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District. The MTD receives a student-approved transportation fee from the university, which provides unlimited access for university students. In addition, the university pays for universal access for all its faculty and staff. As part of this arrangement, the MTD also runs a bus line between Willard Airport and Illinois Terminal, a multi-modal transportation facility which includes Amtrak and Greyhound – making it the focal point of Champaign-Urbana's public transportation systems.

Willard Airport, opened in 1954 and is named for former University of Illinois president Arthur Cutts Willard. The airport is located in Savoy. Willard Airport is home to University research projects and the University's Institute of Aviation, along with flights from American Airlines.


Official Athletics logo

U of I's Division of Intercollegiate Athletics fields teams for ten men's and eleven women's varsity sports. The university participates in the NCAA's Division I. The university's athletic teams are known as the Fighting Illini. The university operates a number of athletic facilities, including Memorial Stadium for football, the State Farm Center for men's and women's basketball, and the Atkins Tennis Center for men's and women's tennis. The men's NCAA basketball team had a dream run in the 2005 season, with Bruce Weber's Fighting Illini tying the record for most victories in a season. Their run ended 37–2 with a loss to the North Carolina Tar Heels in the national championship game. Illinois is a member of the Big Ten Conference. Notable among a number of songs commonly played and sung at various events such as commencement and convocation, and athletic games are: Illinois Loyalty, the school song, Oskee Wow Wow, the fight song, and Hail to the Orange, the alma mater.

Memorial Stadium with the State Farm Center in the background

On October 15, 1910, the Illinois football team defeated the University of Chicago Maroons with a score of 3–0 in a game that Illinois claims was the first homecoming game, though several other schools claim to have held the first homecoming as well.[141][142] On November 10, 2007, the unranked Illinois football team defeated the No. 1 ranked Ohio State football team in Ohio Stadium, the first time that the Illini beat a No. 1 ranked team on the road.

The University of Illinois Ice Arena is home to the university's club college ice hockey team competing at the ACHA Division I level and is also available for recreational use through the Division of Campus Recreation. It was built in 1931 and designed by Chicago architecture firm Holabird and Root, the same firm that designed the University of Illinois Memorial Stadium and Chicago's Soldier Field. It is located on Armory Drive across from the Armory. The structure features 4 rows of bleacher seating in an elevated balcony that runs the length of the ice rink on either side. These bleachers provide seating for roughly 1,200 fans, with standing room and bench seating available underneath. Because of this set-up the team benches are actually directly underneath the stands.[143]

Chief Illiniwek, or 'The Chief', was the university's official athletic symbol from 1926 until February 21, 2007. Use of the Chief garnered criticism for the university from Native Americans and allies as a misappropriation and inaccurate portrayal of indigenous culture. The university officials announced the end of the Chief Illiniwek era on February 16, 2007.

In 2015, the university began Mandarin Chinese broadcasts of its American football games as a service to its Chinese international students.[104]

Faculty and alumni

Hallene Gateway dedicated in 1998 by donations from the Alumni Alan M. and Phyllis Welsh Hallene[26]

As of 2007, 21 alumni and faculty members are Nobel laureates and 20 have won a Pulitzer Prize.[144] In particular, John Bardeen is the only person to have won two Nobel prizes in physics, having done so in 1956 and 1972 while on faculty at the University of Illinois. In 2003, two faculty members won Nobel prizes in different disciplines: Paul C. Lauterbur for physiology or medicine, and Anthony Leggett for physics. Two alumni have been named IEEE Fellows in recognition of their contributions to computer technology.

Fazlur Rahman Khan, considered to be the "Einstein of structural engineering" and the "Greatest Structural Engineer of the 20th century"[145] is an alumnus. Khan had been responsible for the engineering design of many major architectural projects, such as the 100-story John Hancock Center, and the 110-story Willis Tower (formerly known as Sears Tower).[146] Richard Hamming, known for the Hamming code and Hamming distance, is also an alumnus.

Alumni have created companies and products such as Netscape Communications (formerly Mosaic) (Marc Andreessen), AMD (Jerry Sanders), PayPal (Max Levchin), Playboy (Hugh Hefner), National Football League (George Halas), Siebel Systems (Thomas Siebel), Mortal Kombat (Ed Boon), CDW (Michael Krasny), YouTube (Steve Chen and Jawed Karim), THX (Tomlinson Holman), Andreessen Horowitz (Marc Andreessen), Oracle (Larry Ellison and Bob Miner), Lotus (Ray Ozzie), Yelp! (Jeremy Stoppelman and Russel Simmons), Safari (Dave Hyatt), Firefox (Joe Hewitt), W. W. Grainger (William Wallace Grainger), Delta Air Lines (C. E. Woolman), Beckman Instruments (Arnold Beckman), BET (Robert L. Johnson), Jump Trading (Bill DiSomma and Paul Gurinas) and Tesla Motors (Martin Eberhard).

Alumni and faculty have invented the LED and the quantum well laser (Nick Holonyak, B.S. 1950, M.S. 1951, Ph.D. 1954), DSL (John Cioffi, B.S. 1978), JavaScript (Brendan Eich, M.S. 1986), the integrated circuit (Jack Kilby, B.S. 1947), the transistor (John Bardeen, faculty, 1951 - 1991), the pH meter (Arnold Beckman, B.S. 1922, M.S. 1923), MRI (Paul C. Lauterbur), the plasma screen (Donald Bitzer, B.S. 1955, M.S. 1956, Ph.D. 1960), color plasma display (Larry F. Weber B.S. 1968 M.S. 1971 Ph.D. 1975), and are responsible for the structural design of such buildings as the Willis Tower, the John Hancock Center, and the Burj Khalifa.[147]

UIUC alumni have also led several companies, including BitTorrent (Eric Klinker), Renaissance Technologies (Robert Mercer), Ticketmaster, McDonald's, Goldman Sachs, BP, Kodak, Shell, General Motors, Playboy and AT&T.

Alumni have founded many organizations, including the Susan G. Komen for the Cure and Project Gutenberg, and have served in a wide variety of government and public interest roles. Rafael Correa, President of The Republic of Ecuador since January 2006 secured his M.S. and PhD degrees from the University's Economics Department in 1999 and 2001 respectively.[148] Nathan C. Ricker attended U of I and in 1873 was the first person to graduate in the United States with a degree in Architecture. Mary L. Page, the first woman to obtain a degree in architecture, also graduated from U of I.[149]


Over the last twenty years state funding for the university has fallen from 44.5% to 16.4%. Private philanthropy increasingly supplements revenue from tuition and state funding, currently providing about 19% of the annual budget.[36] Notable among significant donors, alumnus entrepreneur Thomas M. Siebel has committed nearly $150 million to the university including $36 million to build the Thomas M. Siebel Center for Computer Science and the Grainger Foundation founded by alumnus W. W. Grainger has contributed nearly $200 million to the university over the last half-century.


Chief Illiniwek

Main article: Chief Illiniwek

Chief Illiniwek, also referred to as "The Chief," was until 2007 the official mascot of the UIUC intercollegiate athletic programs. The mascot was typically portrayed by a student dressed in Sioux regalia. Several groups protested that the use of a Native American figure and indigenous customs in such a manner was inappropriate and promoted ethnic stereotypes. In August 2005 the National Collegiate Athletic Association expressed disapproval of the university's use of a "hostile or abusive" image as its mascot.[150] While initially proposing a consensus approach to the decision about the mascot, the board in 2007 decided that the mascot, its name, image and regalia should be officially retired. Nevertheless, the controversy continues on campus with some students unofficially maintaining the mascot. Complaints continue that indigenous students feel insulted when images of the chief continue to be present on campus.[151]

Clout scandal

A series of investigative reports by the Chicago Tribune noted that between 2005 and 2009 university trustees, president, chancellor, and other administrators pressured admissions officials into admitting under-qualified but politically well-connected applicants into the university.[152][153] Although University officials initially denied,[154] then downplayed the existence of a "clout list",[155] the university later announced it would form a panel of internal and external representatives to review the past admissions process and determine possible changes.[156] The Chicago Tribune took the University to court for summary judgment on its Illinois Freedom of Information Act request for University admission records, which was granted[157] in March 2011. The University appealed, and a number of organizations, including the Electronic Privacy Information Center, filed "friend of the court" briefs[158] on behalf of both parties.

Steven Salaita

The Steven Salaita controversy was the result of a decision by University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Chancellor Phyllis M. Wise to withdraw an offer of a tenured faculty position to English professor Steven Salaita because of a series of controversial tweets he had made in regards to Israel, Zionism and anti-Semitism.[159][160] Wise’s action prompted a national debate about academic freedom.[161][162][163] From the beginning the decision was supported by Wise and by the University's board of trustees.[164][165][166][167][168][169][170][171] Salaita quickly fought the decision declaring infringement on his academic freedom and insisted the university reinstate its offer rather than search for a financial settlement.[172][173][174][175] This began a long process of litigation. In August 2015, Chancellor Phyllis Wise resigned her role after accusations came forth she hiding emails that involved the rescinding of Salaita's job offer.[176] These emails included conversations regarding the Salaita Controversy. Shortly after Wise's resignation, 41 department heads, chairs and directors published an open letter calling "Acting Chancellor Barbara Wilson and President Timothy Killeen should call for the reinstatement of Steven Salaita at the September 2015 board meeting.[177][178][179][180][181][182] The Salaita case received national attention on academic freedom for faculty.[183][184][185][186][187][188][189]

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