Notable Alumni

Historic Firsts at Illinois

  • 1868 — first architectural instruction west of the Allegheny Mountains
  • 1876 — establishment of the oldest continuous soil fertility research plots in the United States, the Morrow Plots
  • 1893 — first school of library science west of the Alleghenies
  • 1922 — invention of sound-on-film movies
  • 1935 — discovery of the essential amino acid threonine
  • 1940 — invention of the betatron for high energy physics
  • 1948 — first comprehensive college program for students with severe physical disabilities
  • 1952 — construction of the pioneering ILLIAC and ORDVAC computers
  • 1959 — development of PLATO, the first computer used for direct education
  • 1970 — construction of the first visible-spectrum semiconductor laser
  • 1977 — discovery of a third life form, distinct from the forms that produce plants, animals and bacterial, called Archaea
  • 1977 — development of the quantum well laser, which made compact disc players possible
  • 1990 — invention of the e-mail program Eudora
  • 1993 — development of the first browser for the world wide web, Mosaic, was developed into Netscape
  • 1996 — development of a processing method that extends the life of microchips as much as 50 times
  • 2001 — development of self-healing plastics
  • 2003 — the University Library's collection exceeds 10 million volumes, the largest collection of any public university in the world
  • 2004 — development of the laser transistor
  • 2005 — development of the world's fastest transistor and of a stretchable silicon that can be used to build high-performance electronic devices onto rubber substances
  • 2007 — student invention allows wheelchairs to be controlled by thought
  • 2008 — development begins on Blue Waters - expected to be the world's most powerful academic supercomputer

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is the state's classic land grant university, dedicated to building on its tradition of excellence in education, research and public engagement, and driven to innovate in each of these missions. True to its commitment to provide access to top quality higher education to all of Illinois, the Urbana campus regularly ranks among the "best buys" among American universities.

More than 2,000 faculty members lead more than 40,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students in a process of discovery and learning in 16 colleges and schools and more than 80 research centers and labs.

Illinois provides a diverse learning environment with students and faculty members from more than 120 nations, and a choice of 150 undergraduate majors. Students have opportunities ranging from participating in research or studying abroad, to leading one of more than 1,000 student organizations.

Illinois faculty members win the most prestigious national and international awards, including Nobel and Pulitzer prizes, Guggenheim Fellowships, Tony Awards, and National Medals of Science and Technology. Illinois alumni are similarly recognized; 11 have won Nobel Prizes.

Campus resources include one of the world's largest public university libraries, with its online resources and precious rare book collections, including the earliest specimen of printing in the world, the oldest book printed in moveable type, and the first folio of Shakespeare (1623).

World-class research facilities include the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, Beckman Institute and the Siebel Center for Computer Science. The campus community also enjoys outstanding centers for the arts as well as Big Ten sports.

Finally, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is the only U.S. institution of higher education ranking in the top 10 in the three key metrics of international education: international student enrollment, total number of study abroad students, and the number of federally funded Title VI National Resource Centers for international and area studies. The campus has collaborative relationships with the best institutions around the world, which benefit students and faculty alike.


2013 Public University Rankings

  1. University of California
  2. UCLA University of Virginia
  3. University of Michigan
  4. University of N. Carolina
  5. College of William & Mary
  6. Georgia Tech
  7. Penn State University
  8. University of California-Davis University of California-San Diego
  9. University of Illinois University of California-Santa Barbara University of Wisconsin-Madison
  10. University of California-Irvine University of Florida

Source: 2013 U.S. News and World Report

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