Foreword
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xi Foreword T he Urbana-Champaign campus of the University of Illinois is among the most beautiful and expansive of any university campus in America. It is an inspiring place with stories to tell. For generations students and faculty have walked the broad expanses of green and entered imposing architectural structures, many of which were created long ago. They come here to learn, to search, to discover. They carry out research; they create, grow, perform, and mature. They engage in debate and contest ideas. They share and collaborate . They forge lifelong bonds; and some even fall in love. This is the day-to-day life and work that takes place on the campus of a great university. When one walks across this vast campus today, the design and architecture appear more or less coherent. The Illini Union and Foellinger Auditorium anchor a grand quad at the core of what has become a vast enterprise. The campus stretches from the Beckman Institute at the north to the agricultural farms at the south, evolving for more than a century and a half, offering a home for students and faculty members from a vast array of disciplines . What happens here changes lives of those who go on to change the world. The creation of the University of Illinois in 1867 signaled the emergence of a new kind of campus that would define the American research university as we know it today. The Morrill Act passed by the United States Congress in 1862 was signed by Illinois’s own President Lincoln. The act offered incentives—federal grants of land or the proceeds from the sale of such lands—to be used to create universities in each state, “to teach such branches of learning as are related to agriculture and the mechanic arts, in such manner as the legislatures of the States may respectively prescribe, in order to promote the liberal and practical education of the industrial classes in the several pursuits and professions in life.” The consequences were profound: who would go to college , what would be taught, the role of research and public service—all were altered as a result of the Morrill Act. The introduction of science, engineering, and agriculture as part of the curriculum paved the way for expansion of the curriculum that ultimately included the many other disciplines and professions. College was no longer for the few—for those preparing for the ministry, or sons of the wealthy. Under the Morrill or “Land Grant” Act universities were created xii —— Foreword —— to welcome the children of farmers and shopkeepers who studied alongside those from big cities like Chicago. These new institutions—arguably born in Illinois in the mid-nineteenth century—grew to form a national network of high-quality university campuses that today defines the unique character of much of American higher education— Minnesota, UC-Berkeley, Cornell, Illinois, Ohio State, Michigan State, Penn State, and countless others from coast to coast. If one were to point to a single event that shaped the origin and character of the University of Illinois, it would be the founding impetus provided by Mr. Lincoln and the Morrill Act. Two University of Illinois presidents stand out as especially critical in the early years of the campus. The first “regent” or president was John Milton Gregory, who provided the strength of leadership, vision, and continuity (with his thirteen years at the helm) to ensure the fledging university would survive. It was President Edmund James, however, president of the university for sixteen years shortly after the turn of the twentieth century, whose leadership defined the commitment to excellence, academic vision and ambition, and scale and breadth of reach we know today. Very early in its history, Illinois was known as a great university, and that solid foundation survives today. Events of each era shaped the development of the campus. Two world wars and the Great Depression stymied growth. On the other hand, returning World War II veterans, the baby boom, elevated aspirations for college attendance, new federal initiatives to fund research—these and other developments shaped the environment for campus expansion and development over the years. Illinois governors, legislators, and benefactors played a major role in shaping the development of the university campus, its facilities, and positions of academic leadership. Jim Thompson and Jim Edgar, along with legislative leaders of the era, including Stan Weaver, were a powerful force for good during my tenure. Private philanthropy also came to play a formidable role; among the most notable...


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