World War II and the University of Illinois

World War II brought massive change to the University of Illinois. As thousands of male students were drafted, enrollment declined precipitously, and the men-women ratio on campus changed almost overnight from 3-1 to 1-4. Women filled the vacated slots, populating the staffs of the Daily Illini and Illio, taking control of student activities, and working in jobs usually assigned to men. Hundreds of faculty and staff members enlisted in the armed forces or secured positions doing military work, including several physicists who were assigned to the Manhattan Project. In what was perhaps their biggest challenge, the administrators had to make room for a host of new visitors–thousands of Army and Navy men dispatched to the University for specialized training. When the veterans flocked back to the campus after the war, they found a University that had survived the crisis and that had begun to gear up for a new world offering higher education to more and more people.