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History and Tradition at the University of Illinois

The University of Illinois was the product of a revolution in American life. The industrial revolution and rapid advances in science in the 19th century created the need for a new kind of university that would transcend the classics model to embrace professional and utilitarian education to meet the needs of society at large. In the intervening 150 years, additional revolutions in American life prompted by wars, prosperity, hard times, scientific discovery and globalization have likewise continued to shape our University of Illinois. From its beginnings in 1867 to the present, a common thread throughout its history is the life-changing experience it has afforded its students. Beyond its official documented history are the personal stories of the more than one million students who have passed through its doors.

There is no central repository of the University's storied history. It is held in various archives throughout the University, its campuses, colleges, departments and organizations and in the memories of its alumni, faculty and students. We have patterned this Web portal after a museum or art gallery with rotating exhibits featuring history and tradition articles, images and audiovisual materials we've found in a variety of locations, both official University of Illinois sources and others*. We hope they will evoke memories of your time here. At the bottom of the page are links to the campus archives where you can explore the University's history in incredible depth. We also encourage you to share your photos, memories and stories via the Alumni Association Facebook pages at the right.

Visit often. 

*The University of Illinois Alumni Association cannot guarantee the accuracy of content derived from sources other than official University of Illinois sources. The content contained herein is presented for information only and does not necessarily reflect official positions of the of the Alumni Association, its directors or officers.

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