History of the Student Life and Culture Archival Program

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Founded in 1989, with monies from the Stewart S. Howe Foundation endowment, the Student Life and Culture Archival Program collects, preserves, and makes available materials documenting student involvement in fraternities, sororities, student government, religious associations, publications, social events, athletics, and other activities that contribute to the total student experience in higher education. Because the intellectual development of students does not occur in a vacuum, documenting student life means going beyond the limits of the classroom.

Illinois alumnus Stewart S. Howe '28 provided the impetus for the development of the SLC Archival Program at the University of Illinois Archives. Howe was founder of the Stewart S. Howe Alumni Service, which provided management, public relations, and fund-raising assistance to fraternities, sororities, and institutions of higher education. He had a life-long interest in higher education and was a dedicated collector of material dealing with fraternal organizations and other areas of college life.

A long-time friend and supporter of the University of Illinois and a frequent user of the Library and the University Archives, Howe willed his collection of material dealing with student life, along with his personal and business papers to the University Archives upon his death in 1973. The Stewart S. Howe Collection contains over 350 cubic feet of material, dating from 1810 to the present, including books, journals, newsletters, clippings, correspondence, and photographs. It includes files on student life at over 300 American colleges and universities and is the world's largest collection of materials dealing with fraternities and sororities. 

The Student Life and Culture Archival Program is dedicated to building and maintaining this unique and outstanding collection.