When Urbana was chosen as the site of the Illinois Industrial University (now the University of Illinois) in 1867, one of the advantages it had over other potential locations was the Urbana and Champaign Institute, a brand-new, five-story, empty school building that was ready for the University’s immediate use. This building became the University of Illinois in 1867, and was the only campus building until the Mechanical Building and Drill Hall was erected in 1872.
But how did Champaign County happen to have an empty school to donate to the University in the first place? The answer involves God, money, war, and politics. Continue reading “Life and Death Of the Elephant: the Secret History Of the First University Building”
By William J. Maher and Bryan Whitledge
Illinois Industrial University and the Change to the University of Illinois
The University of Illinois began in 1867 as the Illinois Industrial University, a name with roots in the philosophy of higher education that led to the creation of land-grant universities. In an October 4, 1866 statement Jonathan Baldwin Turner, a long-time advocate of providing landgrants to states, for the purpose of raising funds to establish public universities, referred to institutions established under the 1862 Morrill Act as ‘Industrial Universities’ (University of Illinois Archives, Record Series 1/1/802, First Report, 1868, p. vii). Continue reading “History of the University Name”
My first meaty post will be in honor of our founding archivist Maynard Brichford. The text below was written by Maynard in 1970 and was revised on June 1, 1983. The figures cited are valid as of 1983.
The history of the University of Illinois is the history of over 250,000 people who have studied, taught and worked at the University and several million Illinois taxpayers who make annual investments in higher education. Continue reading “Brief History of the University of Illinois”