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The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (U of I, UIUC, or simply Illinois) is a public research university in the state of Illinoismarker, United Statesmarker. It is the oldest and largest campus in the University of Illinois system.

The university comprises 18 colleges that offer more than 150 programs of study. Additionally, the university operates an extension that serves 2.7 million registrants per year around the state of Illinois and beyond. The campus holds 286 buildings on 1,468 acres (6 km²) in the twin cities of Champaignmarker and Urbanamarker, and has an annual budget of nearly $1.5 billion. As of 30 June 2007, the University of Illinois Foundation—a systemwide endowment—totaled $2.197 billion in holdings. The undergraduate program was ranked 39th among national universities and equal 9th among public universities by U.S. News & World Report in their 2010 rankings. According to the 2009 Academic Ranking of World Universities, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign ranked 25th out of the more than 1000 international institutions recognized. It is home to some of the highest-ranked Engineering and Accounting programs in the United States.

Enrollment in the fall of 2007 was 42,326, which included students from all 50 states and more than 127 nations. Of these, 30,895 were undergraduates and 11,431 were graduate students. As of Fall 2007, Illinois was the tenth largest university by undergraduate enrollment in the United States.


History at a glance
The Illinois Industrial University Established 1867
Opened March 2, 1868
University of Illinois Renamed 1885
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Renamed 1982

Early years: 1867–1880

The grave of John Milton Gregory on the Illinois campus
The Morrill Act of 1862 granted each state in the United States a portion of land on which to establish a major public state university, one which could teach agriculture, mechanic arts, and military training, "without excluding other scientific and classical studies." This phrase would engender controversy over the University's initial academic philosophies, polarizing the relationship between the people of Illinois and the University's first president, John Milton Gregory.

After a fierce bidding war between a number of Illinois cities, Urbanamarker was selected as the site for the new "Illinois Industrial University." in 1867. 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." The University finally opened for classes on March 2, 1868 with only two faculty members and a small group of students. The debate between the liberal arts curriculum and industrial education continued in the University's inaugural address, as Dr. Newton Bateman outlined the various interpretations of the Morrill Act in his speech. Gregory's thirteen year tenure would be marred by this debate. Clashes between Gregory and legislators and lawmakers forced his resignation from his post as president in 1880, saying "[I am] staggering under too heavy a load of cares, and irritated by what has sometimes seemed as needless opposition." Yet only five years later, in 1885, the Illinois Industrial University officially changed its name to the University of Illinois, reflecting its holistic agricultural, mechanical, and liberal arts curricula. Today, Gregory is largely credited with establishing the University and forming it into the major interdisciplinary university it is today. Gregory's grave is still located on the Urbana campus, situated between Altgeld Hall and the Henry Administration Building. His marker (mimickingthe epitaph of British architect Christopher Wren) reads, "If you seek his monument, look about you."

Recent years: Since 1982

The name of the university was changed to The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1982, ostensibly to establish a separate identity for the campus within the University of Illinois system.

Political influence over admissions

A series of investigative reports by the Chicago Tribune revealed 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. Although University officials initially denied, then downplayed the existence of a "clout list", the university later announced it would form a panel of internal and external representatives to review the past admissions process and determine possible changes.

Colleges and schools


A Corner of Main Quadrangle

The campus is known for its landscape and architecture, as well as distinctive landmarks. 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.
The Illini Union
The main research and academic facilities are divided almost exactly between the twin cities of Urbanamarker and Champaignmarker. The College of Agriculture, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences' research fields stretch south from Urbana and Champaign into Savoymarker and Champaign Countymarker. The university maintains formal gardens and a conference center in nearby Monticellomarker at Allerton Parkmarker.

The U of I is one of the few educational institutions to own an airport. Willard Airportmarker, named for former University of Illinois president Arthur Cutts Willard, is located in Savoy. It was completed in 1945 and began service in 1954. Willard Airport is home to University research projects and the University's Institute of Aviation, along with flights from American and Northwest Airlines.

The campus is based on the quadrangle design popular at many universities. 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.


In October, 2008, the Sustainable Endowments Institute gave the campus a grade of B- for sustainability in its 2009 College Sustainability Report Card. Strengths noted in the report included the campus's adoption of LEED silver certification for all building projects costing more than $5 million and its public accessibility to endowment investment information. Weaknesses included the lack of student involvement and shareholder engagement.

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." 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."


The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is often regarded as a world-leading magnet for engineering and sciences (both applied and basic). Having been classified into the category comprehensive doctoral with medical/veterinary and very high research activity, 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. Beside annual influx of grants and sponsored projects, the university manages an extensive modern research infrastructure.

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 is currently collaborating with IBM and the National Science Foundation to build the world's fastest supercomputer. This supercomputer, named "Blue Waters," aims to be capable of performing one quadrillion calculations per second. If completed, this would make Blue Waters three times faster than today's fastest supercomputer. The university whimsically 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.

In 1952, the university built the ILLIAC (Illinois Automatic Computer), the first computer built and owned entirely by an educational institution. U of I is also the site of the Department of Energy's Center for the Simulation of Advanced Rockets, an institute which has employed graduate and faculty researchers in the physical sciences and mathematics. It performs materials science and condensed matter physics research, and is home to Frederick Seitz Materials Research Laboratory as well as the Micro and Nanotechnology Laboratory. Two complexes for research and teaching recently opened, Siebel Center for Computer Science in 2004 and the Institute for Genomic Biology in 2006. The Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technologymarker, however, is still the largest interdisciplinary facility on campus with . Both the Illinois Natural History Survey and Illinois State Geological Survey are located on campus and affiliated with the university. The university also conducts agricultural and horticultural research.

Since 1957 the Illinois Transportation Archaeological Research Program ( ITARP) has conducted archaeological and historical compliance work for the Illinois Department of Transportation. ITARP serves as a repository for a large collection of Illinois archaeological artifacts now numbering over 17,000 boxes. One of the major collections is from the Cahokia Mounds, for which ITARP has over 550 boxes. An on-line database will soon be mounted for the Cahokia collection, funded by a 2008-2010 National Endowment for the Humanities grant.

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

In 2007, the university-hosted research institute 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.

Student life


According to the statistics of the 2008 admitted freshmen, 77% of incoming students had ACT score of 27 or higher, 31% had an SAT combined Math & Critical Reading score above 1400 (excludes Writing), and 59% of the incoming students were top 10% of their high school class. Some of the university's colleges admit students at an even more competitive level. For incoming freshmen in 2008, the College of Engineering reported an ACT score interquartile range of 30-33, the College of Businessmarker reported an ACT score IQR of 28-32, and the College of Media, in 2008, the first year it accepted freshman, reported an ACT IQR of 27-32, higher than the overall campus median (though still lower than that of the college of engineering). Of graduates, Illinois ended up as one of the top 12 (percentage-wise) and top 6 (numerical-wise) feeder state colleges to elite professional schools.


Like many universities, U of I requires all first-year undergraduate students (who do not commute) to stay in either the University Residence Halls or in University Private-Certified Housing. Both programs are administered by the University's housing division. University housing for undergraduates is provided through twenty-two residence halls in both Urbana and Champaign.

All undergraduates within the University housing system are required to purchase some level of meal plan, although they are free to eat elsewhere if they choose. Graduate housing is usually offered through two graduate dormitories, restricted to those over twenty years of age, and through two university-owned apartment complexes. However, the recent record-sized freshman class has forced the housing division to convert one of the graduate dormitories into undergraduate housing. Students with disabilities are provided special housing options to accommodate their needs.

There are a number of private dormitories around campus, as well as a few houses that are outside of the Greek system and offer a more communal living experience. The private dorms tend to be more expensive to live in compared to other housing options. Private, certified residences maintain reciprocity agreements with the University, allowing students to move between the public and private housing systems if they are dissatisfied with their living conditions.

Most undergraduates choose to move into apartments or the Greek houses after their first or second year. The University Tenant Union offers advice on choosing apartments and the process of signing a lease.

Greek life

The university has the largest Greek system in the world by membership. There are currently sixty-nine fraternities and thirty-six sororities on the campus. Of the approximately 31,180 undergraduates, about 3,330 are members of sororities and about 3,370 are members of fraternities. The Greek system at the University of Illinois has a system of self-government. While there are staff advisors and directors in charge of managing certain aspects of the Greek community, most of the day to day operations of the Greek community are governed by the InterFraternity Council and Pan-Hellenic Council. Many of the fraternity and sorority houses on campus are on the National Register of Historic Places.

University Main Library

Student Government

The current university student government, created in 2004, is the Illinois Student Senate, a combined undergraduate and graduate student senate with 50 members. The student senators are elected by college and represent the students on a variety of faculty and administrative committees, and are led by an internally elected Student Body President.


The campus library system is one of the largest public academic collections in the world. Among universities in North America, only the collections of Harvardmarker, Yalemarker, University of California, Berkeleymarker, and the University of Torontomarker are larger. Currently, the University of Illinois' libraries main library and the 40 other departmental libraries and divisions hold more than 22 million items, including more than 11 million volumes. As of 2006, it had also the largest "browsable" university library in the United States, with 7.5 million volumes directly accessible in stacks in a single location. UIUC also has the largest public engineering library (Grainger Engineering Library) in the country.

The online catalog is used by over one million people daily. In addition to the main library building, which houses nearly 20 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.

The University of Illinois Residence Hall Library System is one of three in the nation. 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.

All together there are more than 40 departmental or school libraries on campus.


The Urbana-Champaign campus has a modern recreation infrastructure. Recently, the two main recreation facilities, CRCE and the ARC (formerly known as IMPE), were upgraded. The campus also has more than a thousand clubs and organizations, ranging from cultural and athletic to subject area to philanthropic. Students can create their own Registered Student Organization if the pursuing interest/concern is not addressed by the current entities.


The University bus system is part of the local Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District. The university, through an MTD fee garnered from students, provides substantial funding for the MTD, which in turn provides campus bus service and unlimited access for university students, faculty, and staff. As part of this arrangement, the MTD also runs bus lines between Illinois Terminal and Willard Airportmarker, Amtrak, and Greyhound, making it the focal point of Champaign-Urbana's public transportation systems.

The university maintains an extensive system of bike paths on campus. All students are expected to register their bicycles with the campus public safety department.

Athletics and sports

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 1. The university's athletic teams are known as the Fighting Illini. The university operates a number of athletic facilities, including Memorial Stadiummarker for football, the Assembly Hallmarker 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 also a member of the Big Ten Conference. The Big Ten is the only Division I conference to have all of its member institutions affiliated with the prestigious Association of American Universities, a consortium of 62 major research institutions, and leads all conferences in the total amount of research expenditures.

On October 15, 1910, the Illinois football team defeated the University of Chicagomarker 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.

On November 10, 2007, the unranked Illinois football team defeated the #1 ranked Ohio Statemarker football team in Ohio Stadiummarker, the first time that the Illini beat a #1 ranked team on the road.

The Ice Arena is home to the university's club hockey team and is 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.

Chief Illiniwek, or 'The Chief', was the university's official athletic mascot/symbol from 1926 until February 21, 2007. Use of the Chief garnered criticism for the university starting in the mid-1970s from Native Americans and others as a misappropriation and inaccurate portrayal of indigenous culture. The university officials announced the end of the Chief Illiniwek era on February 16, 2007.

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.

Notable faculty and alumni

As of 2007, 21 alumni and faculty members are Nobel laureates and 20 have won a Pulitzer Prize. 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.Most recently, in 2003, two faculty won Nobel prizes in different disciplines:Paul C. Lauterbur for physiology or medicine, and Anthony Leggett forphysics.

Alumni have created companies and products such as Netscape Communications, AMDmarker, PayPal, Playboy, National Football League, Siebel Systems, Mortal Kombat, CDW, YouTube, THX, Oracle, Lotus, Mosaic, Safari, Firefox, W. W. Grainger, Delta Air Lines, BET.

Alumni and faculty have invented the LED, integrated circuit, quantum well laser, transistor, MRI, and Plasma screen, and are responsible for the structural design of such buildings as the Sears Towermarker, the John Hancock Centermarker, and the Burj Dubaimarker.

Alumni founded the Catholic Worker Movement, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, Project Gutenberg, and have served in a wide variety of government and public interest roles.

Rafael Correa, re-elected President of The Republic of Ecuadormarker in April 2009 and chiefly noted abroad for his economic policy, troubled relations with the press, political/economical links with Iran and Russia and for being part of the new Socialism movement in South America secured his M.S. and Ph.D degrees from the University's Economics Department in 1999 and 2001 respectively.

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. Ricker would go on to design several buildings on the Urbana-Champaign campus, including Altgeld Hall and H. E. Kenney Gymnasium. Mary L. Page, the first woman to obtain a degree in architecture, also graduated from U of I.

Beverly Schmidt Blossom, Professor Emeritus, recently received the 2009 Martha Hill Award for Lifetime Achievement in Dance in New York City.


In its 2010 listings, US News and World Report ranked the undergraduate program 39th overall out of nationally accredited universities and 9th out of nationally accredited public universities (tied with University of Wisconsin - Madisonmarker). The graduate program has 60 disciplines ranked in the top 30 nationwide, including 23 in the top 5 overall. US News and World Report ranked the Undergraduate and Graduate Accounting programs #2 and #4 respectively in the United States in their 2008 rankings; both programs had been ranked #1 at the same time in previous years. The College of Business as a whole was ranked 12th best nationally. The College of Engineering was ranked 4th, with 14 graduate disciplines ranked in the top 10. The College of Education has six programs ranked in the top 10. The Graduate School of Library and Information Science is top 1, with five programs ranked in the top 10. Chemistry and Physics are also in top 10. Many arts programs are in the first quartile, such as Architecture and Fine Arts. However, Civil Engineering, Computer Science, Actuarial Science and Psychology are the university's most visibly distinguished departments among others. The School of Labor and Employment Relations is recognized consistently as top 2 or 3 in the nation, behind only Cornell Universitymarker.

The University of Illinois is also considered a "Public Ivy" and is comprehensively measured as one of the Top 20 major research universities in the United States by a Graham-Diamond Report.

International rankings by The Institute of Higher Education at Shanghai Jiao Tong Universitymarker suggest that Illinois is the 19th best university in North America, and 25th best university in the world. The Academic Ranking of World Universities by Broad Subject Fields from the same research center in 2008 positions Illinois as the 3rd best in Engineering/Technology and Computer Sciences in the world, after MITmarker and Stanfordmarker. It is 19th in Life and Agriculture Sciences, 20th in Natural Sciences and Mathematics, and 51st (tied) in Social Sciences. Notably, the ranking is recognized for its ruthless objectivity and emphasis on research productivity/scholastic achievement.

Illinois was ranked as the 77th best in the world, by The Times Higher Education Supplement's list of the top 200 universities in the world in the latest release. However, Illinois had ranked in the top 30s for a few years past. This ranking is often criticized due to its volatility: It stresses international popularity and ranks may change tens of places from one year to the next. The WSJ ranking of business schools also has this inherited anomaly, attributed to its survey method.

The Institute for Labor and Industrial Relations has been recognized consistently as one of the top three programs for HR and Labor Relations studies in the United States . The Gourman Reports has ranked the program as #2 and #3 in various years.

In the 2008 release of Webometrics Ranking of World Universities by Cybermetrics Lab, which is a research unit of National Research Council of Spain, the University was ranked 9th. In 2006, G-Factor, another academic list trying to measure social network efficacy of universities, has ranked Illinois in the top 8. Gourman Report also ranks Illinois as 17th best university in the nation.

As of 2007, Washington Monthly ranks Illinois as the 11th best university in the nation, and 9th among public universities.The methodology of the ranking includes "how well it performs as an engine of social mobility," "how well it does in fostering scientific and humanistic research," and "how well it promotes an ethic of service to country."

Newsweek International listed Illinois as one of Top 100 Global Universities, which "takes into account openness and diversity, as well as distinction in research." Kiplinger's Personal Finance also listed Illinois in its 100 Best Values in Public Colleges, which "measures academic quality, cost and financial aid."

The Princeton Review has elected Urbana-Champaign campus as one of the 366 best colleges out of nearly 5,000 degree-granting institutions of higher education in the United States. Nonetheless, the university has come under criticism for its use of graduate teaching assistants in teaching undergraduate courses, including upper-level undergraduate courses. For two consecutive years, the Urbana-Champaign campus topped this review's category of "teaching assistants teach too many upper level courses." Yet The Review's ranking itself is attacked with its category lists which are claimed to be lacking accountability, mainly from student random sampling.

Points of interest

Images: Perspective views

Image:UIUC CRCE cropped.jpg|CRCE Recreation CenterImage:UIUC main quad.JPG|Main QuadImage:UIUC chem annex.JPG|Chemistry AnnexImage:UIUC Arch Building.JPG|Architecture BuildingImage:UIUC Observatory.JPG|University ObservatorymarkerImage:Champaign-Urbana area IMG 1137.jpg|Foellinger Auditorium detailImage:UIUC morrow plot.JPG|Morrow Plotsmarker and Institute for Genomic BiologyImage:UIUC engineering.JPG|Engineering CampusImage:UIUC Psychology.JPG|Psychology BuildingImage:UIUC Marching illini.JPG|The Marching Illini at Memorial StadiummarkerImage:UIUC Krannert Art.JPG|Krannert Art MuseumImage:UIUC Krannert Performing.JPG|Krannert Center for the Performing ArtsmarkerImage:UIUC alumni center.JPG|Alice Campbell Alumni CenterImage:UIUC Assembly Hall.JPG|Assembly Hall markerImage:Altgeld Hall in Spring.jpg|Altgeld Hallmarker

See also


External links

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