History & Mission

The University of Illinois was founded on the mission of hard work and innovation by the people, for the people. When you become an Illini, you become part of this legacy.

EST. 1867

Students in lecture, circa 1912
Lecture c1912, from University Library's Mapping History

Land-Grant Mission

Illinois began with the working class in mind. Thanks to the Morrill Acts of 1862 and 1890, the university was designated as a land-grant institution. This means that the government reserved land for the creation of a university that should aim to provide agricultural, scientific, military, and technical education to the people of the state of Illinois, no matter their background or socioeconomic level.

"I have the land-grant mission in my blood. I am a product of it. It is what brought me into higher education, from a sharecropping family in Georgia. We need to find ways to make that story possible for everyone … "

Chancellor Robert J. Jones, 2016

Global Impact

Illinois is more than just a university. It is a hub of research and innovation. It is a diverse and inclusive community of people who are already making a global impact. It is a creative cultural microcosm where the arts flourish along with the sciences. It is everything an academic institution ought to be and more. Our academic tradition and continued commitment to making the world a better place have changed lives for the better.

More About Us

Explore the history and mission of Illinois further.