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The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (U of I, Illinois, University of Illinois, or UIUC) is a public land-grant research university in the Champaign–Urbana metropolitan area, Illinois, United States. It is the flagship institution of the University of Illinois system and was established in 1867. With over 53,000 students, the University of Illinois is one of the largest public universities by enrollment in the United States.
|Illinois Industrial University (1867–1885)
University of Illinois (1885–1982)
|"Learning & Labor"
|Public land-grant research university
|1867; 157 years ago (1867)
|University of Illinois System
|$3.82 billion (2021) (system-wide)
|$7.7 billion (2023) (system-wide)
|Robert J. Jones
|Timothy L. Killeen
|56,403 (Fall 2023)
|35,467 (Fall 2023)
|20,936 (Fall 2023)
|Small city, 6,370 acres (2,578 ha)
|The Daily Illini
|Orange and blue
|NCAA Division I FBS – Big Ten
The university contains 16 schools and colleges and offers more than 150 undergraduate and over 100 graduate programs of study. The university holds 651 buildings on 6,370 acres (2,578 ha) and its annual operating budget in 2016 was over $2 billion. The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign also operates a Research Park home to innovation centers for over 90 start-up companies and multinational corporations.
The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign is a member of the Association of American Universities and is classified among "R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity". In fiscal year 2019, research expenditures at Illinois totaled $652 million. The campus library system possesses the fourth-largest university library in the United States by holdings. The university also hosts the National Center for Supercomputing Applications and is home to the fastest supercomputer on a university campus.
Illinois athletic teams compete in Division I of the NCAA and are collectively known as the Fighting Illini. They are members of the Big Ten Conference and have won the second-most conference titles. Illinois Fighting Illini football won the Rose Bowl Game in 1947, 1952, 1964 and a total of five national championships. Illinois athletes have won 29 medals in Olympic events. The alumni, faculty members, or researchers of the university include 30 Nobel laureates, 27 Pulitzer Prize winners, two Fields medalists, and two Turing Award winners.
Illinois Industrial University
The University of Illinois, originally named "Illinois Industrial University", was one of the 37 universities created under the first Morrill Land-Grant Act, which provided public land for the creation of agricultural and industrial colleges and universities across the United States. Among several cities, Urbana was selected in 1867 as the site for the new school. From the beginning, President John Milton Gregory's desire to establish an institution firmly grounded in the liberal arts tradition was at odds with many state residents and lawmakers who wanted the university to offer classes based solely around "industrial education". The university opened for classes on March 2, 1868, and had two faculty members and 77 students.
The Library, which opened with the school in 1868, started with 1,039 volumes. Subsequently, President Edmund J. James, in a speech to the board of trustees in 1912, proposed to create a research library. It is now one of the world's largest public academic collections. In 1870, the Mumford House was constructed as a model farmhouse for the school's experimental farm. The Mumford House remains the oldest structure on campus. The original University Hall (1871) was the fourth building built; it stood where the Illini Union stands today.
University of Illinois
During his presidency, Edmund J. James (1904–1920) set the policy of building a massive research library. He also laid the foundation for the large Chinese international student population on campus. James established ties with China through the Chinese Minister to the United States Wu Ting-Fang. Class rivalries and Bob Zuppke's winning football teams contributed to campus morale.
The Great Depression in the United States slowed construction and expansion on the campus. The university replaced the original university hall with Gregory Hall and the Illini Union. After World War II, the university experienced rapid growth. The enrollment doubled and the academic standing improved. This period was also marked by large growth in the Graduate College and increased federal support of scientific and technological research. During the 1950s and 1960s the university experienced the turmoil common on many American campuses. Among these were the water fights of the fifties and sixties.
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
By 1967, the University of Illinois system consisted of a main campus in Champaign-Urbana and two Chicago campuses, Chicago Circle (UICC) and Medical Center (UIMC), and people began using "Urbana-Champaign" or the reverse to refer to the main campus specifically. The university name officially changed to the "University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign" by 1977. While this was a reversal of the commonly used designation for the metropolitan area (Champaign-Urbana), most of the campus is located in Urbana. The name change established a separate identity for the main campus within the University of Illinois system, which today includes campuses in Springfield (UIS) and Chicago (UIC) (formed by the merger of UICC and UIMC).
In 1998, the Hallene Gateway Plaza was dedicated. The Plaza features the original sandstone portal of University Hall, which was originally the fourth building on campus. In recent years, state support has declined from 4.5% of the state's tax appropriations in 1980 to 2.28% in 2011, a nearly 50% decline. As a result, the university's budget has shifted away from relying on state support with nearly 84% of the budget coming from other sources in 2012.
On March 12, 2015, the Board of Trustees approved the creation of a medical school, the first college created at Urbana-Champaign in 60 years. The Carle Illinois College of Medicine began classes in 2018.
Over the last twenty years state funding for the university has fallen. Private philanthropy increasingly supplements revenue from tuition and state funding, providing about 19% of the annual budget in 2012. Notable among significant donors, alumnus entrepreneur Thomas M. Siebel has committed nearly $150 million to the university, including $36 million to build the Thomas M. Siebel Center for Computer Science and $25 million to build the Siebel Center for Design. Further the Grainger Foundation (founded by alumnus W. W. Grainger) has contributed more than $300 million to the university over the last half-century, including donations for the construction of the Grainger Engineering Library. Larry Gies and his wife Beth donated $150 million in 2017 to the shortly thereafter renamed Gies College of Business.
The main research and academic facilities are divided almost evenly between the twin cities of Urbana and Champaign, which form part of the Champaign–Urbana metropolitan area. Some parts are in Urbana Township.
Four main quads compose the center of the university and are arranged from north to south. The Beckman Quadrangle and the John Bardeen Quadrangle occupy the center of the Engineering Campus. Boneyard Creek flows through the John Bardeen Quadrangle, parallel to Green Street. The Beckman Quadrangle, named after Arnold Orville Beckman, is primarily composed of research units and laboratories, and features a large solar calendar consisting of an obelisk and several copper fountains. The Main Quadrangle and South Quadrangle follow immediately after the John Bardeen Quad. The former makes up a large part of the Liberal Arts and Sciences portion of the campus, while the latter comprises many of the buildings of the College of Agriculture, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences (ACES) spread across the campus map.
Additionally, the research fields of the College of ACES stretch south from Urbana and Champaign into Savoy and Champaign County. The university also maintains formal gardens and a conference center in nearby Monticello at Allerton Park.
The campus is known for its landscape and architecture, as well as distinctive landmarks. It was identified as one of 50 college or university "works of art" by T.A. Gaines in his book The Campus as a Work of Art. The campus also has a number of buildings and sites on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places including Harker Hall, the Astronomical Observatory, Louise Freer Hall, the Main Library, the Experimental Dairy Farm Historic District, and the Morrow Plots. University of Illinois Willard Airport is one of the few airports owned by an educational institution.
In 2008, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign became a signatory of the American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment, binding the campus to the goal of carbon neutrality as soon as possible. In 2010, the first Illinois Climate Action Plan (iCAP) was written to chart a path to this goal. The iCAP is a strategic framework for meeting the university's Climate Leadership Commitments to be carbon-neutral by 2050 or sooner and build resilience with its local community. Since then, the iCAP has been rewritten every five years to track the university's progress.
In December 2013, the University of Illinois launched the Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment (iSEE) on the Urbana-Champaign campus. The institute, under the Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation, leads an interdisciplinary approach to researching solutions for the world's most pressing sustainability, energy, and environmental needs. In addition, iSEE has engaged students, faculty, staff, and campus leadership in the iCAP process — especially in the areas of zero waste and conservation of energy, food, water, land, and natural resources — as well as sustainability outreach and immersive educational programs.
In her remarks on being named Director of iSEE in 2022, Professor of Agricultural and Consumer Economics Madhu Khanna explained: "We aim to position campus to play a transformative role in moving us all to a more sustainable future."
In 2022, new solar and geothermal energy projects, a reduction in water use, and wide-ranging sustainability research helped the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign earn its fifth consecutive gold certification in the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS). Illinois has consistently achieved gold certification since it began reporting data through STARS in 2013, and the 2022 score was one of its highest to date.
Currently, the campus features 27 LEED certified buildings.
The overall first-year admit rate for 2023 is 43.7%, which differ greatly among UIUC colleges — whereas the overall first-choice admit rate is 34.7%, the Grainger College of Engineering has an admit rate of 22.3%. Certain in-demand majors like Computer Science, including Computer Science + X, of which the program being ranked consistently 5th nationwide can be extremely competitive, with an acceptance rate of less than 6.8% in 2022, and average freshman ACT composite score of 33.7.
In 2009, an investigation by The Chicago Tribune reported that some applicants "received special consideration" for acceptance between 2005 and 2009, despite having sub-par qualifications. This incident was known was the University of Illinois clout scandal.
|University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
|Agriculture, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences
|Fine and Applied Arts
|Grainger College of Engineering
|Applied Health Sciences
|Liberal Arts and Sciences
|Gies College of Business
|Labor and Employment Relations
|Carle Illinois College of Medicine
The university offers more than 150 undergraduate and 100 graduate and professional programs in over 15 academic units, among several online specializations such as Digital Marketing and an online MBA program launched in January 2016. In 2015, the university announced its expansion to include an engineering-based medical program, which would be the first new college created in Urbana-Champaign in 60 years. The university also offers undergraduate students the opportunity for graduation honors. University Honors is an academic distinction awarded to the highest achieving students. To earn the distinction, students must have a cumulative grade point average of a 3.5/4.0 within the academic year of their graduation and rank within the top 3% of their graduating class. Their names are inscribed on a Bronze Tablet that hangs in the Main Library.
In addition to the university's Illinois Online platform, in 2015 the university entered into a partnership with the Silicon Valley educational technology company Coursera to offer a series of master's degrees, certifications, and specialization courses, currently including more than 70 joint learning classes. In August 2015, the Master of Business Administration program was launched through the platform. On March 31, 2016, Coursera announced the launch of the Master of Computer Science in Data Science from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. At the time, the university's computer-science graduate program was ranked fifth in the United States by U.S. News & World Report. On March 29, 2017, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign launched their Master's in Accounting (iMSA) program, now called the Master of Science in Accountancy (iMSA) program. The iMSA program is led through live sessions, headed by UIUC faculty.
Similar to the university's on-campus admission policies, the online master's degrees offered by The University of Illinois through Coursera also has admission requirements. All applicants must hold a bachelor's degree, and have earned a 3.0 GPA or higher in the last two years of study. Additionally, all applicants must prove their proficiency in English.
The University of Illinois also offers online courses in partnership with Coursera, such as Marketing in a Digital World, which focuses on how digital tools like internet, smartphone and 3D printers are changing the marketing landscape.
In the 2021 U.S. News & World Report "America's Best Colleges" report, UIUC's undergraduate program was ranked tied for 47th among national universities and tied for 15th among public universities, with its undergraduate engineering program ranked tied for 6th in the U.S. among schools whose highest degree is a doctorate.
Washington Monthly ranked UIUC 18th among 389 national universities in the U.S. for 2020, based on its contribution to the public good as measured by social mobility, research, and promoting public service. Kiplinger's Personal Finance rated Illinois 12th in its 2019 list of 174 Best Values in Public Colleges, which "measures academic quality, cost and financial aid."
The Graduate Program in Urban Planning at the College of Fine and Applied Arts was ranked 3rd nationally by Planetizen in 2015. The university was also listed as a "Public Ivy" in The Public Ivies: America's Flagship Public Universities (2001) by Howard and Matthew Greene. The Princeton Review ranked Illinois 1st in its 2016 list of top party schools.
Internationally, UIUC engineering was ranked 13th in the world in 2016 by the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) and the university 38th in 2019; the university was also ranked 48th globally by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings in 2020 and 75th in the world by the QS World University Rankings for 2020. The Center for World University Rankings (CWUR) has ranked University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign as the 20th best university in the world for 2019–20.
UIUC is also ranked 32nd in the world in Times Higher Education World Reputation Rankings for 2018. Nature Index Archived June 12, 2018, at the Wayback Machine ranks UIUC 33rd among top Academic institutions in the world.
According to the National Science Foundation, the university spent $625 million on research and development in 2018, ranking it 37th in the nation. It is also listed as one of the Top 25 American Research Universities by The Center for Measuring University Performance. Beside annual influx of grants and sponsored projects, the university manages an extensive modern research infrastructure. The university has been a leader in computer based education and hosted the PLATO project, which was a precursor to the internet and resulted in the development of the plasma display. Illinois was a 2nd-generation ARPAnet site in 1971 and was the first institution to license the UNIX operating system from Bell Labs.
Located in the southwest part of campus, Research Park opened its first building in 2001 and has grown to encompass 13 buildings. Ninety companies have established roots in research park, employing over 1,400 people. Tenants of the Research Park facilities include prominent Fortune 500 companies Capital One, John Deere, State Farm, Caterpillar, and Yahoo, Inc. Companies also employ about 400 total student interns at any given time throughout the year. The complex is also a center for entrepreneurs, and has over 50 startup companies stationed at its EnterpriseWorks Incubator facility.
In 2011, Urbana, Illinois was named number 11 on Popular Mechanics' "14 Best Startup Cities in America" list, in a large part due to the contributions of Research Park's programs. The park has gained recognition from other notable publications, such as inc.com and Forbes magazine. For the 2011 fiscal year, Research Park produced an economic output of $169.5M for the state of Illinois.
National Center for Supercomputing Applications
The university hosts the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA), which created Mosaic, the first graphical web browser, the Apache HTTP server, and NCSA Telnet. The Parallel@Illinois program hosts several programs in parallel computing, including the Universal Parallel Computing Research Center. The university contracted with Cray to build the National Science Foundation-funded supercomputer Blue Waters. The system also has the largest public online storage system in the world with more than 25 petabytes of usable space. The university celebrated January 12, 1997, as the "birthday" of HAL 9000, the fictional supercomputer from the novel and film 2001: A Space Odyssey; in both works, HAL credits "Urbana, Illinois" as his place of operational origin.
Prairie Research Institute
The Prairie Research Institute is located on campus and is the home of the Illinois Natural History Survey, Illinois State Geological Survey, Illinois State Water Survey, Illinois Sustainable Technology Center, and the Illinois State Archeological Survey. Researchers at the Prairie Research Institute are engaged in research in agriculture and forestry, biodiversity and ecosystem health, atmospheric resources, climate and associated natural hazards, cultural resources and history of human settlements, disease and public health, emerging pests, fisheries and wildlife, energy and industrial technology, mineral resources, pollution prevention and mitigation, and water resources. The Illinois Natural History Survey collections include crustaceans, reptiles and amphibians, birds, mammals, algae, fungi, and vascular plants, with the insect collection is among the largest in North America. The Illinois State Geological Survey houses the legislatively mandated Illinois Geological Samples Library, a repository for drill-hole samples in Illinois, as well as paleontological collections. ISAS serves as a repository for a large collection of Illinois archaeological artifacts. One of the major collections is from the Cahokia Mounds.
Technology Entrepreneur Center
The Technology Entrepreneur Center at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign is a permanent center established to provide students with resources for their entrepreneurial ideas. The center offers classes, venture and product competitions, and workshops to introduce students to technology innovation and market adoption. Events and programs hosted by the TEC include the Cozad New Venture Challenge, Silicon Valley Entrepreneurship Workshop, Illinois I-Corps, and SocialFuse. The campus-wide Cozad New Venture Challenge has been held annually since 2000. Participants are mentored in the phases of venture creation and attend workshops on idea validation, pitching skills, and customer development. In 2019, teams competed for $250,000 in funding. The Silicon Valley Workshop is a week-long workshop, occurring annually in January. Students visit startups and technology companies in the Silicon Valley and network entrepreneurial alumni from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Students are exposed to technology entrepreneurship, innovation, and leadership. The trip features corporate leaders, venture capitalists, and entrepreneurs in various stages of a startup lifecycle. Illinois I-Corps teaches National Science Foundation grantees how to learn to identify valuable product opportunities that can emerge from academic research, and gain skills in entrepreneurship through training in customer discovery and guidance from established entrepreneurs. The program is a collaboration between the Technology Entrepreneur Center and EnterpriseWorks, with participation from the Office of Technology Management and IllinoisVentures. The program consists of three workshops over six weeks, where teams work to validate the market size, value propositions, and customer segments of their innovations. SocialFuse is a recurring pitching and networking event where students can pitch ideas, find teammates, and network.
Center for Plasma-Material Interactions
The Center for Plasma-Material Interactions was established in 2004 by Professor David N. Ruzic to research the complex behavior between ions, electrons, and energetic atoms generated in plasmas and the surfaces of materials. CPMI encompasses fusion plasmas in its research.
In Bill Gates' February 24, 2004, talk as part of his Five Campus Tour (Harvard, MIT, Cornell, Carnegie-Mellon and Illinois) titled "Software Breakthroughs: Solving the Toughest Problems in Computer Science," he mentioned Microsoft hires more graduates from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign than from any other university in the world. Alumnus William M. Holt, a senior vice-president of Intel, also mentioned in a campus talk on September 27, 2007, entitled "R&D to Deliver Practical Results: Extending Moore's Law" that Intel hires more PhD graduates from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign than from any other university in the country.
In 2007, the university-hosted research Institute for Condensed Matter Theory (ICMT) was launched, with the director Paul Goldbart and the chief scientist Anthony Leggett. ICMT is currently located at the Engineering Science Building on campus.
Discoveries and innovation
- BCS theory – John Bardeen, in collaboration with Leon Cooper and his doctoral student John Robert Schrieffer, proposed the standard theory of superconductivity known as the BCS theory. They shared the Nobel Prize in Physics 1972 for their discovery.
- Sweet corn – John Laughnan produced corn with higher-than-normal levels of sugar while he was a professor at the university.
Computer & applied sciences
- ILLIAC I – Illinois Automatic Computer, a pioneering computer built in 1952 by the University of Illinois, was the first computer built and owned entirely by a US educational institution. Lejaren Hiller, in collaboration with Leonard Issacson, programmed the ILLIAC I computer to generate compositional material for his String Quartet No. 4.
- ILLIAC Suite – is a 1957 composition for string quartet which is generally agreed to be the first score composed by an electronic computer.
- LLVM – compiler infrastructure project (formerly Low Level Virtual Machine). Vikram Adve and Chris Lattner started development as a research assistant and M.Sc. student.
- Mosaic – The first successful consumer web browser was developed at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in 1993.
- PLATO – Programmed Logic for Automatic Teaching Operations was the first generalized computer assisted instruction system. Starting in 1960, it ran on the University of Illinois' ILLIAC I computer. By the late 1970s, it supported several thousand graphics terminals distributed worldwide, running on nearly a dozen different networked mainframe computers. Many modern concepts in multi-user computing were developed on PLATO, including forums, message boards, online testing, e-mail, chat rooms, picture languages, instant messaging, remote screen sharing, and multiplayer video games.
- Touchscreens and Plasma displays – developed by Donald Bitzer in the 1960s.
- Talkomatic is an online chat system that facilitates real-time text communication among a small group of people. Created by Doug Brown and David R. Woolley in 1973 on the PLATO System.
- Synchronized Sound-on-film – Joseph Tykociński-Tykociner publicly demonstrated for the first time a motion picture with a soundtrack optically recorded directly onto the film June 9, 1922.
Companies & entrepreneurship
- Andreessen Horowitz, 2009, co-founder Marc Andreessen (BS)
- Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), 1969, co-founder Jerry Sanders (BS)
- Arizona Diamondbacks, 1995, founder, Jerry Colangelo (BA)
- Beckman Coulter, 1935, founder Arnold Orville Beckman (BS, MS)
- BET, 1980, co-founder Robert L. Johnson (BA)
- Chicago Bears, 1920, founder George Halas
- Girls Who Code, 2012, founder Reshma Saujani (BA)
- Harlem Globetrotters, 1926, founder Abe Saperstein
- National Football League, 1920, co-founder George Halas
- Mozilla Corporation, 2005, co-founder Brendan Eich (BS)
- Netscape, 1994, co-founder Marc Andreessen (BS)
- Oracle, 1977, co-founders Larry Ellison (dropout) and Bob Miner (BS)
- Palantir Technologies, 2003, co-founder Nathan Gettings (BS)
- PayPal (Confinity), 1998, co-founders Luke Nosek (BS) and Max Levchin (BS)
- Playboy Enterprises, 1953, founder Hugh Hefner (BA)
- Siebel Systems, 1993, co-founder Thomas Siebel (BA, MS, MBA)
- Tesla, 2003, co-founder Martin Eberhard (BS, MS)
- W. W. Grainger, 1927, founder William Wallace Grainger (BS)
- Wolfram Research, 1987, co-founders Stephen Wolfram and Theodore Gray (BS)
- Yelp, 2004, co-founders Jeremy Stoppelman (BS) and Russel Simmons (BS)
- YouTube, 2005, co-founders Steve Chen (BS) and Jawed Karim (BS)