University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
#49 Overall Influence#162 Desirability Rank

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Public research university in Urbana and Champaign, Illinois, United States

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By James Barham, PhD

The University of Illinois began life as the Illinois Industrial University, located in the city of Urbana. Although the original intention of lawmakers and the preference of many state residents was for the new school to concentrate on vocational training, the university’s first president, John Milton Gregory, wisely insisted on offering a full spectrum of liberal arts and science courses.

With time, the university grew considerably, causing the original campus to spread across the dividing line between Urbana and its sister city of Champaign, to the west. That is why the flagship campus of the University of Illinois System is now officially known as the “University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign” to distinguish it from two other satellite campuses—one in Chicago and the other in the state capital of Springfield—that were incorporated into the System in 1913 and 1995, respectively.

Illinois has long been particularly known for its emphasis on the natural sciences and engineering, notably information and computer engineering. This can be seen in the fact that a number of semi-independent scientific research institutes have grown up on or near the main campus, including the Illinois Applied Research Institute, the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology, and the National Center for Superconducting Applications.

The latter center’s location here is explained by the fact that it was a trio of Illinois physicists—John Bardeen, Leon Cooper, and John Schrieffer—whose collaboration on what is now known as “BCS theory” in their honor, provided the first deep theoretical understanding of the phenomenon of superconductivity.

Practical applications of all of this cutting-edge research at Illinois are not neglected, either. The university also houses the Academy for Entrepreneurial Leadership, as well as a Research Park, which gives space to more than 120 private companies employing some 2100 students and full-time researchers. Both of these centers help to make the University of Illinois a technology hub, as much for startups as for established corporations’ R & D operations.

Illinois has some 30 Nobel Prize–winners to its credit, including:


  • John Bardeen
  • Leon Cooper
  • John Schrieffer
  • Anthony Leggett
  • Brian Josephson


  • Martin Karplus
  • Elias Corey
  • Rudolph Marcus

Physiology or Medicine

  • Salvador Luria
  • Robert Holley
  • Rosalyn Yalow
  • Phillip Sharp


  • Franco Modigliani
  • Leonid Hurwicz

Other noteworthy Illinois-connected people include:

  • Novelist, Richard Powers
  • Film critic, Roger Ebert
  • Composer, George Crumb
  • Animal behaviorist and autism spokesperson, Temple Grandin
  • Playboy founder and publisher, Hugh Hefner
  • Former General Motors CEO, Jack Welch
  • Software engineer and entrepreneur, Marc Andreessen
  • Oracle founder, Larry Ellison
  • YouTube co-founders, Steve Chen & Jawed Karim

From Wikipedia

The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign is a public land-grant research university in Illinois in the twin cities of Champaign and Urbana. It is the flagship institution of the University of Illinois system and was founded in 1867.

Source: Wikipedia


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601 E John Street, Champaign IL 61820-5711

City Crime Rates

Property Crime

33 per 100k

Violent Crime

7 per 100k

Influential People

Who are University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign's Most influential alumni?

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign's most influential alumni faculty include professors and professionals in the fields of . University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign’s most academically influential people include Sally Miller Gearhart, Leon O. Chua, and Parisa Tabriz.

Sally Miller Gearhart
Sally Miller Gearhart

American teacher, feminist, science fiction writer, and political activist

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Leon O. Chua

Professor in the University of California, Berkeley

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Parisa Tabriz
Parisa Tabriz

American/Iranian computer security expert

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Steve Chen
Steve Chen

Chinese-American businessman

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Marilyn McCord Adams
Marilyn McCord Adams

American philosopher

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Mary Doria Russell
Mary Doria Russell

American novelist

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Charles Luckman

American architect

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Timothy Zahn
Timothy Zahn

Science fiction novelist

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J. Laurie Snell
J. Laurie Snell

American mathematician and economist

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Stephen Moore
Stephen Moore

American economic analyst and Wall Street Journal editor

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Emile Zuckerkandl
Emile Zuckerkandl

Molecular biologist

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Theodore Gray
Theodore Gray

American science writer

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