Fifty years ago, for the University of Illinois' 100th Anniversary, President David D. Henry looked forward to the coming century of service. Addressing the state legislature, Henry observed that "our strength in the future, as in the past, is our role as a people’s University." He went on to identify "a commitment to serve democracy" as the primary source of continuity through the first hundred years, and outlined a need for continued address of "the problems of our cities, of water and air pollution, of disease and health care, of family sustenance and decent family living conditions, and of equality of individual opportunity for education and employment as means to human dignity."
With the University now halfway through its second century, this conference will convene experts in these and other areas critical to human individual and collective well-being to ask, "What does it mean for research to serve the public good in the 21st century?" Echoing concerns prevalent on this campus fifty years ago regarding social justice, resource conservation, ethics of technology, and human health, this sesquicentennial event will gather Illinois faculty, staff and distinguished guests to address the following topics via six symposia held over three days: