Since at least 1969, Kuwaiti students have been a part of the University of Illinois. Early Kuwaiti Illini have included athletes, financiers, and politicians too!
Read on to learn more about early Kuwaiti Illini!
Since at least the late 1960s, Kuwaiti students have chosen to study at the University of Illinois. Unfortunately, only a few records have been identified so far; fortunately, a few of those records include undergraduate photographs from the Illio yearbook. After searching the Annual Register and early course catalogs (Record Series 25/3/801), Daily Illini (Record Series 41/8/801), and early student directories (Record Series 26/4/801), the Illio (Record Series 41/8/805) provided information on four of the earliest Kuwaiti Illini.
The first graduate might have been Mr. Sameer Al-Quraini, (B.S., 1975; M.S. 1977), of Al Ahmadi, who also might have been the first Kuwaiti Illini to earn both his undergraduate and graduate degrees at Illinois.
The second graduate might have been Mr. Ahmad Al Sabah, (B.S. Finance, 1976), who lived an exceptional life after graduation. During the 1980s, he worked at the Central Bank of Kuwait. During the 1990s, he worked at private finance institutions. Then, in 1999, he was appointed Minister of Finance. He would also serve as a Minster of Communication, a Minister of Health, and later as a Minister of Oil.
Just a few years later, a third graduate was Mr. Ali Al-Jusain, who was a member of the Illinois Men’s Soccer Club.
While Mr. Hisham El-Amad, of Ahmadi City, might have been the fourth Kuwaiti Illini graduate and the third Kuwaiti Illini to have an Illio yearbook photo too.
Although documentation of Kuwaiti Illini is limited, student enrollment figures document that Kuwaiti Illini enrollment has continued since the 1970s.
Are you a Kuwaiti Illini? Do you know someone who is? We’d like to hear from you! Please send us a message or leave a comment below. We want to include you and your story, as we celebrate the first 150 years of the University of Illinois.
Happy First 150 everyone!
 As always, a special thank you to all students and staff whose tireless work for student life and publications (many of which are available at the University Archives) help preserve the memories of Illini everywhere.