University of Illinois system

University of Illinois system
University of Illinois
Uillinois wordmark.svg
Established 1867
Type Public university system
Endowment $1.6 Billion [1] systemwide
President Michael J. Hogan
Location Urbana-Champaign

The University of Illinois is a system of public universities in Illinois consisting of three campuses: Urbana-Champaign, Chicago, and Springfield. Across its three campuses, the University of Illinois enrolls about 70,000 students.[1] It had an operating budget of $4.17 billion in 2007.[1]



The University of Illinois system of universities comprises three campuses in the U.S. state of Illinois: Urbana-Champaign, Chicago, and Springfield. The campus at Urbana-Champaign is known as "Illinois", "U of I", or “UIUC”, whereas the Chicago campus is known as “UIC” and the Springfield campus as "UIS".

The system is governed by a Board of Trustees consisting of thirteen members: the governor of Illinois serves as an ex officio member, nine trustees are appointed by the Illinois Governor, and a student trustee elected by referendum represents each of the university's three campuses. One of the three student trustees is designated by the governor to have a vote.


Altgeld Hall on the Urbana campus.
Illini Union on the Urbana campus.

The Urbana-Champaign campus was founded in 1867 as the Illinois Industrial University. It was one of the 37 public land-grant institutions created shortly after Abraham Lincoln signed the Morrill Act in 1862.[2] The university changed its name to University of Illinois in 1885, and then again to University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1982. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is the largest and most prestigious of the three campuses. UIUC, or more commonly U of I, is the flagship state university campus. It is home to 16 colleges and instructional units including the College of Agricultural, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences; College of Applied Health Sciences; Institute of Aviation; College of Business; College of Education; College of Engineering; College of Fine and Applied Arts; Graduate College; Institute of Labor and Industrial Relations; College of Law; College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; Graduate School of Library and Information Science; College of Media; College of Medicine (a branch of the medical school); School of Social Work; and the College of Veterinary Medicine.

It is also home to the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, NCSA, where Marc Andreessen (of Netscape fame) and others helped develop the Mosaic web browser, the first HTML browser capable of rendering images. In addition, in 1987, NCSA created NCSA Telnet, a program which permitted users access to the supercomputer's resources remotely. The petascale Blue Waters to be completed in 2011 is among the world's fastest supercomputers.

UIUC and its alumni are particularly well-known for their contributions to engineering, including inventions such as the LED, plasma screen, and integrated circuit. The library is notable both for being the largest public academic library[3] in the country, with over forty departmental libraries, and for possessing over twelve million volumes.[4] Each year, the library circulates about 1.2 million items and answers about 293,000 reference questions. The University is highly ranked in engineering, law, library and information science, chemistry, computer science, labor and industrial relations, educational psychology, finance, accounting, business administration, communication, and music.[5] Physics professor John Bardeen won the Nobel Physics Prize twice in his lifetime, an honor no other researcher has received. The school's marching band, named the Marching Illini, also enjoys a superb reputation. Until recently, the symbol of the University's athletic teams was a Native American figure, Chief Illiniwek, which had sparked significant controversy. Chief Illiniwek completed his last performance on February 21, 2007 and has since been retired from performing and as the official symbol of the school.

Currently the campus boasts the world's most technologically advanced[citation needed] Computer Science building, Siebel Center, as well as many other world-class research laboratories such as Loomis Laboratory of Physics.


The Chicago Loop as seen from the UIC Campus.

The largest university in the Chicago area, UIC serves approximately 27,000 students within 15 colleges & schools including Applied Health Sciences, Architecture and the Arts, Business Administration, Dentistry, Education, Engineering, Graduate, Honors, Liberal Arts & Sciences, Nursing, Pharmacy, Public Health, Social Work, Urban Planning & Public Affairs, and the College of Medicine (largest branch of four branches of the medical school) which is the nation's largest medical school. With annual research expenditures exceeding $341 million, UIC is one of five doctoral research universities in the State of Illinois. Playing a critical role in Illinois healthcare, UIC operates the state’s major public medical center and serves as the principal educator of Illinois’ physicians, dentists, pharmacists, nurses and other healthcare professionals.

The modern UIC was formed in 1982 by the consolidation of two U. of I. campuses: the Medical Center campus, which dates back to the nineteenth century; and the comprehensive Chicago Circle campus, which in 1965 replaced the two-year undergraduate Navy Pier campus designated to educate returning veterans. This consolidation and expansion is why "UIC" is the preferred shortened name today.

UIC’s student body is recognized as the nation’s eleventh most diverse, and it reflects the global character of Chicago.


The newest campus is University of Illinois at Springfield, formerly Sangamon State University from 1969 until June 30, 1995. It is the smallest in the Illinois system with the lowest student/teacher ratio of all three campuses, and is located in Springfield, Illinois, the state capital of Illinois. The University of Illinois system transitioned Sangamon State University from an upper division university into a full four-year institution with an undergraduate program, and now enrolls approximately 275 freshmen, including 125 honors students each year to the Capital Scholars Honors Program.

UIS serves almost 5,000 students in 20 master's degree, 20 undergraduate programs, and a Doctorate in Public Administration. The academic curriculum of the campus emphasizes a strong liberal arts core, an array of professional programs, extensive opportunities in experiential education, and a broad engagement in public affairs issues in its academic and community service pursuits.

The 2008-2009 sports seasons will be the last for UIS as a member of the NAIA. UIS is becoming an NCAA Division II. The institution received a formal invitation to join the GLVC athletic conference starting in the fall of 2009, provided it has installed a baseball program by 2010 or it will lose its membership.

Global Campus

In January 2008, the University of Illinois launched The Global Campus, the University's newest initiative in online education. The University Board of Trustees established The Global Campus in March 2007 to further the land-grant mission to expand educational opportunities for the Illinois community and beyond with distance education technologies.[6] The University of Illinois Global Campus primarily serves non-traditional and place-bound students, in order that they may gain the academic and career benefits of a University of Illinois education without the barriers of location and scheduled class times.

In May 2009, the Board of Trustees voted to phase out the Global Campus Initiative. The University of Illinois transitioned the programs developed by the Global Campus to academic units on the corresponding residential campuses.


The University of Illinois foundation is the official fundraising and gift agency of the University of Illinois system. Currently, The University aims to raise $2.25 billion for students, faculty, research and the campus environment through the “Brilliant Futures” fundraising campaign. The program is dubbed as "the largest and most ambitious campaign in the history of the University of Illinois".[7]

Alumni Association

Inclusive of all graduates, current and former students of the University of Illinois, the University of Illinois Alumni Association has the largest alumni membership in the world with more than 600,000 members internationally. The UIAA has offices at each UI campus in Urbana-Champaign, Springfield and Chicago, as well as the Alumni Career Center in Chicago’s Loop, which offers comprehensive career services to all UI alumni. In addition to hosting events, awards programs, and regional and special-interest alumni groups, the UIAA publishes a variety of communications vehicles to inform and connect alumni with the University and each other. It also coordinates the Illinois Connection legislative advocacy network and the EXPLORERS alumni travel program.

Notable alumni

Further reading

  • Solberg, Winton U. Reforming Medical Education: The University of Illinois College of Medicine, 1880–1920 (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2009) 309 pp. isbn 978-0-252-03359-9


External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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