University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. School of Life Sciences | University of Illinois Archives

Name: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. School of Life Sciences

Historical Note:

Established in 1959 as a successor of the Division of Biological Sciences (1934-58) and the School of Natural History, the School of Life Sciences includes the Departments of Botany, Entomology, Microbiology, Physiology, and Zoology. The School coordinates activities of member departments within the College, promotes cooperation between those departments and biologists in other colleges of the University, and advances the interest of those departments in relations to agencies outside the University.1 The School replaced an existing major in biology with a general major known as an "Honors Major" in 1964.2

The Natural History Museum was incorporated into the School of Life Sciences in 1960.3 Plans for a Natural History Museum were stated in 1868 and collections for the proposed Museum were solicited between 1868 and 1872.4 The New University Building, which was first occupied in 1874, was equipped with rooms for a Natural History Museum.5 The Zoological collection remained there until 1909 when it was placed in a new Museum room in the Natural History Building.6 Between 1884 and 1909, the Zoological collection was called the Museum of Zoology.7 The Museum received its greatest impetus through the Chicago Columbian Exposition of 1893. The materials assembled for the exhibition by Stephen A. Forbes and others reverted to the Museum.8 A strong emphasis on the functions of the Museum as a direct adjunct to instructional facilities has been evident from its inception. The collections of geological, paleontological and biological materials reflect this emphasis.9

Electron Microscope Laboratory. The University Established an Electron Microscope Laboratory in 1960 with an $86,000 grant from the National Science Foundation and matching funds from the Graduate College.10 The Laboratory was incorporated into the School of Life Sciences in 1963.11

1. Board of Trustees Transactions, 50th Report, June 23, 1959, p. 435

2. Board of Trustees Transactions, 53rd Report, July 22, 1964, p. 10.

3. Board of Trustees Transactions, 50th Report, June 14, 1960, p. 1527.

4. Catalogs and Registers, 1869-70, p. 12; 1873-74, p. 16.

5. Ibid., 1873-74, p. 16.

6. Ibid., 1909-10, p. 17.

7. Ibid., 1884-85, p. 24.

8. Board of Trustees Transactions, 17th Report, December 12, 1893, pp. 197, 304-11.

9. Catalogs and Registers, 1909-10, p. 17.

10. Board of Trustees Transactions, 51st Report, October 19, 1960, p. 165.

11. Board of Trustees Transactions, 52nd Report, Supplement, July 2, 1963, p. 137.

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