Best Engineering Schools | University of Illinois Urbana Champaign

For 140 years, thousands of people have traveled paths that led to the University of Illinois, one of the largest state universities in the nation with campuses in Urbana-Champaign, Chicago and Springfield. Best Engineering Schools University of Illinois Urbana Champaign

The University was one of 37 public land-grant institutions established after the Morrill Land-Grant Colleges Act was signed by Abraham Lincoln on July 2, 1862. Illinois was one of seven commonwealths that had not formed a state university. Eligible for a grant of 480,000 acres of public scrip land valued at $600,000, in 1867 the state established a university for the purpose of fostering access to higher education for the working people.

Thus began the institution’s rich history, then named the Illinois Industrial University and led by Regent John Milton Gregory. Its roots began as one building located in the muddy fields between the Illinois Central train station in Champaign and the courthouse in Urbana. Best Engineering Schools University of Illinois Urbana Champaign

James Newton Matthews became the University’s first student, enrolling in March 1868. He was among the founding editors of the Student, a publication that is today the Daily Illini. Matthews was one of 50 students — all male — who enrolled at the beginning of the first semester. Best Engineering Schools University of Illinois Urbana Champaign

More than twenty years after its founding, Regent Selim Peabody persuaded the legislature to change the name of the institution from the Illinois Industrial University to the University of Illinois. The goal was to reflect higher educational aspirations and to acknowledge the increasing enrollment in the engineering school. During this time, many other land-grant institutions also changed their names to “State College” or “State University.”

The campus has since expanded far beyond its roots as a single building on a prairie. The 785-acre campus located in east-central Illinois includes architectural gems from the 1800s as well as high-tech buildings such as the Seibel Center and the Institute for Genomic Biology. More than 41,000 students call Urbana-Champaign home each year, and they enroll in an array of academic and extracurricular programs that strengthen their educational experience and prepare them to be leaders in a global society. Best Engineering Schools University of Illinois Urbana Champaign

Today, the Urbana campus is a world leader in research, teaching and public engagement. Distinguished by the breadth and quality of its curriculum and programs, the campus attracts faculty who conduct world-class interdisciplinary research and scholarship in an environment that enables creative thinking and promotes academic excellence. Urbana boasts Nobel laureates, Pulitzer Prize winners and faculty whose research is among the most cited in their fields. The Urbana campus is a comprehensive research institution that ranks in the top 50 universities nationally for research and development dollars spent in science and engineering. Best Engineering Schools University of Illinois Urbana Champaign