The First Years of University of Illinois Student Life – March 2, 2017

The First Years of University of Illinois Student Life With Reflections on Today

Thursday, March 2, 2017, University of Illinois Archives, Rm 146 Library, 1408 West Gregory, Urbana, 7pm-8:30pm, Exhibits and refreshments will be provided.

Gregory Behle, Professor, The Master’s University – Educating the Sons of Toil: Students at the Opening of the University of Illinois, March 1868

Slides from Professor Behle’s presentation are available here.

In the spring of 1868, seventy-seven students arrived at the University of Illinois to participate in the first term at the new university. Instituted for the “sons of toil” or the “industrial classes”, the University inaugurated a new type of American higher education for the sons of farmers and mechanics. Utilizing archival sources, this seminar explores where these students came from, what their experience at Illinois was like, and where they went following their time at University.

 Renee Romano, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, University of Illinois – 150 Years Later—Millennials On Campus

Armed with their smart phones and social media, today’s college student appear to be the most knowledgeable and connected in history. A high level of parent involvement adds an additional layer of oversight and advocacy. But evidence points to the fact that limited interpersonal skills, the pressure to succeed and a lack of resiliency are limiting their potential. What’s happening with Millennials on campus and how are University faculty and administrators facing the challenge?


Gregory Behle

Gregory Behle (Ph.D., University of Southern California) focuses his research agenda on historical aspects of student life and culture during the earliest years of the University of Illinois (1868 to 1894). His interest is in access, persistence, and attainments of students in light of the Morrill Act mandate for land-grant universities. He is currently a professor at The Master’s University in Santa Clarita, California.






Renée Romano

Throughout her career in student affairs, Dr. Renée Romano has played an active role in enhancing how the informal and unstructured activities outside the classroom can serve as a dynamic learning environment. A native Illinoisan, Dr. Romano grew up in Springfield and attended Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, and Iowa State University, where she earned her Ph.D. in Higher Education.  In addition to positions at Hollins University and the University of New Hampshire, she has served as the Vice President for Educational and Student Services at the University of Northern Iowa, where she was also an associate professor in the College of Education. She has been a passionate advocate for diversity, creating structures to celebrate and support inclusion on campus. Dr. Romano is currently Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.