Several major projects will commemorate the University's Sesquicentennial.
Edited by Frederick E. Hoxie
The founding of the university in 1867 created a unique community in what had been a prairie. Within a few years, this creative mix of teachers and scholars produced innovations in agriculture, engineering and the arts that challenged old ideas and stimulated dynamic new industries. Projects ranging from the Mosaic web browser to the discovery of Archaea and pioneering triumphs in women's education and wheelchair accessibility have helped shape the university's mission into a double helix of innovation and real-world change.
These essays explore the university's celebrated accomplishments and historic legacy, candidly assessing both its successes and its setbacks. Experts and students tell the eye-opening stories of campus legends and overlooked game-changers, of astonishing technical and social invention, of incubators of progress as diverse as the Beckman Institute and Ebertfest.
Illustrated with over one hundred images,
The University of Illinois: Engine of Innovationexamines the full range of university achievements and their impact on the state, the nation, and the world.
Contributors: James R. Barrett, George O. Batzli, Claire Benjamin, Jeffrey D. Brawn, Jimena Canales, Stephanie A. Dick, Poshek Fu, Marcelo H. Garcia, Lillian Hoddeson, Harry Liebersohn, Claudia Lutz, Kathleen Mapes, Vicki McKinney, Elisa Miller, Robert Michael Morrissey, Bryan E. Norwood, Elizabeth H. Pleck, Leslie J. Reagan, Susan M. Rigdon, David Rosenboom, Katherine Skwarczek, Winton U. Solberg, Carol Spindel, William F. Tracy, and Joy Ann Williamson-Lott
Frederick E. Hoxie is Swanlund Endowed Chair and Professor of History, American Indian Studies and Law at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Most recently he is the author of
This Indian Country: American Indian Activists and the Place They Made and editor of the Oxford Handbook of American Indian History.
- As part of the celebration of the sesquicentennial of the University of Illinois, Stephen A. Taylor, conductor at the University of Illinois' School of Music composed a new musical work, entitled
Archaea, to be played on the Altgeld Chimes and the McFarland Carillon during the University of Illinois Sesquicentennial Celebration.
Taylor describes the work as,
"Archaeafor two carillons is a sonification of Methanocaldococcus Jannaschii, the first extremophile to have its complete genome sequenced. Extremophiles are tiny, microbial lovers of extremes: they live in environments like the boiling hot springs of Yellowstone, the Antarctic ice seas, or volcanic vents on the ocean floor."
"M. Jannaschii belongs to the Archaea, a domain of life discovered by celebrated biologist Carl Woese, at the University of Illinois. In 1996, Woese and his team discovered the complete genetic sequence of M. Jannaschii: how all of its genes are arranged in a circular chromosome. Shown is their map of this circle; the colors indicates which genes are involved with metabolism (energy production), reproduction, and many other cellular processes. My piece
Archaeatakes these different colors and gives each one a musical motive, around 20 in all (you can find an interactive map at the BacMap website ). Since the chromosome is a circle, I begin at the top (the highest bells in the tower), and follow the circle down to 6 o’clock (the lowest bells), then back to the top. The whole piece takes about 16 minutes."
"There is one other important element to
Archaea, which makes it perfect for the University of Illinois Urbana campus. Many microorganisms - including M. Jannaschii - have plasmids, or smaller circular chromosomes with extra genes on them. To complete my musical setting of M. Jannaschii, I have given the main circular chromosome to the McFarland Carillon with its 48 bells, controlled automatically (they are too fast to be played by a human); and I have given the smaller plasmids to the Altgeld Chimes, played by a human bellringer."
- The University of Illinois Press, in conjunction with the Division of Intercollegiate Athletics, is publishing the third installment of
Illini Legends, Lists and Lore, a book that chronicles the history of Fighting Illini varsity athletics on a year-by-year basis since its recognized beginnings in 1895. Mike Pearson, former Sports Information Director at Illinois, produced the first edition in 1995 and the second edition in 2002. Pearson is now working on the third edition which will update all of the records and historical information as well has summarizing the most recent 15 years of Illinois athletics since the last edition was produced. The anticipated completion date will be in the fall of 2017.
By Lex Tate and John Franch
- Why does the University of Illinois campus at Urbana-Champaign look as it does today? Drawing on a wealth of research and featuring more than one hundred color photographs,
An Illini Placeprovides an engrossing and beautiful answer to that question. Lex Tate and John Franch trace the story of the university's evolution through its buildings. Oral histories, official reports, dedication programs, and developmental plans both practical and quixotic inform the story. The authors also provide special chapters on campus icons and on the buildings, arenas and other spaces made possible by donors and friends of the university.
- Lex Tate is an adjunct lecturer in journalism and advertising at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and served as associate director of the University of Illinois Office for University Relations. John Franch is the author of
Robber Baron: The Life of Charles Tyson Yerkes.
- The University plans to break ground on a design building at some point during 2017. The building will focus on how we educate students in the 21st century and will concentrate on collaboration of students from all majors and disciplines. Located on the west end of Military Axis south of Huff Hall, it will be a place for students to meet and explore various passions and ideas in a collaborative space. Students will have significant influence on the programming and design of the building.
- As part of the celebration of the sesquicentennial of the University of Illinois, two of the most historic divisions of the University's School of Music (Band and Choral) have commissioned a new musical work, entitled "Gathering", to be performed in the spring of 2018.
The work is being created by the writer Richard Powers, who crafted the libretto, and the composer Dominick DiOrio. Powers is a National Book Award winner who has also served on the faculty of the University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign), and Dr. DiOrio is on the music faculty at Indiana University.
"Gathering" sets the words of three illustrious U of I alums - the poet Mark Van Doren, Rosalyn Yalow (Nobel laureate in Medicine/Physiology), and Fazlur Khan (one of the most influential architects and engineers of the 20th century, who created the modern Chicago skyline). Powers describes the three as "a downstate farm boy, a New York Jew, and a Muslim immigrant; Pulitzer, Nobel, AIA winners; all Illinois undergrads and all champions of liberal education" and the libretto as "touching broadly on education, aspiration, inclusivity, the links between art and science, and the centrality of imagination."
The new work will be performed at Orchestra Hall in Chicago, in New York City, and at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts in Urbana by the University of Illinois Wind Symphony (conducted by Dr. Stephen Peterson, Director of Bands) and the University of Illinois Chamber Singers (conducted by Dr. Andrew Megill, Director of Choral Activities).
- The University of Illinois Welcome Center at the Alice Campbell Alumni Center will demonstrate how the University of Illinois has transformed and enriched lives for the past 150 years. The Welcome Center will be a destination for alumni, students and campus visitors as it highlights the history and traditions of the University, celebrates the achievements of our alumni, and serves as a gateway to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Visit https://illinoisalumni.org/welcome-center/ for more information.
- The Illinois Distributed Museum will be an online resource that ties objects, locales, markers, exhibits, documents, and information currently dispersed across time and space together into one virtual location at distributedmuseum.illinois.edu. The Illinois Distributed Museum will help to tell University of Illinois stories in ways that will highlight the historical and ongoing impacts and synergies that university research, teaching and public service have produced at home and abroad. The online resource will engage various publics and inspire them to learn, participate, and contribute to the university’s mission.
- The Sesquicentennial exhibit will be held in the Campbell Gallery of the Spurlock Museum, a 1200-square-foot venue, with additional components appearing in parts of the permanent galleries, where some University of Illinois stories can be told.
The exhibit will look at ways the University has, over its history, been an active participant in dialogues with community voices locally, across the state and country, and internationally. The ways the University serves the people of Illinois and responds to changing educational philosophies and priorities have been—and remain—critical to issues of access and equity. Our curator has researched three distinct time periods in the first century of the University’s history in which far-researching decisions shaped the institution we value today. The exhibit team continues to collaborate with campus units to identify artifacts that document these stories.
- A HOME OF THEIR OWN: Sharing memories of a time at the University of Illinois when African American students were not allowed to live on campus and local black families and the African American community stepped up to help and support these students.
“The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.” -
There was a time in the history of the University of Illinois, when African American students were not allowed to live in university housing or enter certain university buildings. It has been said that black students were at the University, but not of the University.
The story of African American students who attended the University of Illinois in the 1940’s and the local black community who supported them is one that validates a long standing collaboration between campus and community. Local African American families, area churches, and community leaders joined forces to provide meals, housing and a sense of community for the black students who yearned for a college education and were not going to let housing obstacles deter them from pursuing their degrees.
African American students lived in boarding houses, black fraternities and sororities and with black families during this time. Through reflective interviews and insightful memories along with sharing of photographs from days gone by, this documentary will preserve and promote an era on campus when the African American community laid the groundwork for encouraging higher education and advancement of black students, regardless of obstacles and objections.
J.C. Caroline, African American halfback for the University of Illinois football team, had many first hand experiences regarding a different set of standards for whites and blacks when he was a University of Illinois student. J.C. could not get his hair cut in a Champaign barber shop for whites only. Ironically, in the window of that barber shop was a picture of Caroline, blasting the opposing football team’s line in All-American style. J.C. couldn’t crash that color-line in the barber shop, however.