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University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign

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The University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign (U of I, University of Illinois, UIUC, or simply Illinois) is a public research-intensive university in the U.S. state of Illinois. A land-grant university, it is the flagship campus of the University of Illinois system. The University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign (founded, 1867) is the second oldest public university in the state (after Illinois State University), and is a founding member of the Big Ten Conference. It is a member of the Association of American Universities and is designated as a RU/VH Research University (very high research activities). The campus library system possesses the second-largest university library in the United States after Harvard University.

The university comprises 17 colleges that offer more than 150 programs of study. Additionally, the university operates an extension that serves 2.7 million registrants per year around the state of Illinois and beyond. The campus holds 647 buildings on 4,552 acres (1,842 ha) in the twin cities of Champaign and Urbana (together known as Champaign–Urbana); its annual operating budget in 2011 was over $1.7 billion

The Morrill Act of 1862 granted each state in the United States a portion of land on which to establish a major public state university, one which could teach agriculture, mechanic arts, and military training, "without excluding other scientific and classical studies." This phrase would engender controversy over the University's initial academic philosophies, polarizing the relationship between the people of Illinois and the University's first president, John Milton Gregory.

After a fierce bidding war between several cities, Urbana was selected in 1867 as the site for the new school. From the beginning, Gregory's desire to establish an institution firmly grounded in the liberal arts tradition, which 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, with two faculty members and 77 students. The debate between the liberal arts curriculum and industrial education continued in the University's inaugural address, as Dr. Newton Bateman outlined the various interpretations of the Morrill Act in his speech. Gregory's thirteen-year tenure would be marred by this debate. Clashes between Gregory and legislators and lawmakers forced his resignation from his post as president in 1880, saying "[I am] staggering under too heavy a load of cares, and irritated by what has sometimes seemed as needless opposition." Nevertheless, Gregory is largely credited with establishing the University as it is today. Gregory's grave is on the Urbana campus, between Altgeld Hall and the Henry Administration Building. His headstone (mimicking the epitaph of British architect Christopher Wren) reads, "If you seek his monument, look about you."

In the years following World War II, under president David Henry 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. What's more, during these times, the university experienced the turmoil common on many American campuses. Among these were the water fights of the fifties and sixties. The fights, also called water riots, began in 1957 and continued into the early sixties.

Leo Koch was a professor of biology at the [university in the 1950s. His 1960 letter to the Daily Illini defending premarital sex provoked public outrage and prompted his firing from the university by President David Dodds Henry. Henry called the letter "offensive and repugnant." The UI Board of Trustees supported Henry, while the University of Illinois Senate voted to reprimand Koch but not to censure him.[19] The firing and Koch's subsequent battle to be reinstated became a sensation in the press. Illinois was censured by the American Association of University Professors for the ouster.

The state of Illinois supplied roughly two-thirds of the university's budget while the federal government funded 90% of research. 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 strongly shifted away from relying on state support with nearly 84% of the budget now coming from other sources

Notable Alumni