Governors are sent by Him to punish the evildoers and praise the virtuous (1 Peter 2:14).

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[Pages S1535-S1536]
From the Congressional Record Online through GPO


Mr. DURBIN. Mr. President, today I wish to recognize the sesquicentennial anniversary of the founding of the University of Illinois, a nationally recognized institution of higher education with a long record of innovation and discovery and the home of the Fighting Illini.

In 1867, 150 years ago, my home State of Illinois established the University of Illinois with the purpose of fostering access to higher education for the working people. It would become one of 37 public, land-grant institutions established as a result of the Morrill Land- Grant Colleges Act signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln.

Over the past 150 years, the University of Illinois and those associated with it have been responsible for pushing the boundaries of human knowledge, scientific discovery, social justice, and equality.

In 1941, David Blackwell, the son of a railroad worker from southern Illinois, received his Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Illinois. In 1965, Dr. Blackwell became the first African American elected to the National Academy of Sciences, whose members advise the President and Congress on matters related to science and technology. Dr. Blackwell is regarded as the most famous African-American mathematician in history.

In 1948, the University of Illinois became, and remains to this day, the most accessible campus in the world for individuals with disabilities. Timothy Nugent founded the first comprehensive program of higher education for individuals with disabilities at the University and helped create a campus that allowed individuals with disabilities to move about freely and independently. While the availability of buses with wheelchair lifts, accessible street curbs, and comprehensive collegiate programs for those with disabilities all have become the national standard, they started at the University of Illinois.

The University of Illinois has long been a leader in groundbreaking research and innovation in science. In the early 1970s, Paul Lauterbur discovered magnetic resonance imaging--better known by its initials: MRI. For his pioneering work, he was awarded a Nobel Prize in 2003.

Today the university is one of the premier public research universities in the world. It ranks in the top 50 universities in America for research and development dollars spent in science and engineering. It is also home to one of the world's most powerful supercomputers, known as Blue Waters. Blue Waters is the fastest supercomputer located on a college campus in the world.

What began 150 years ago as a small building on the Illinois prairie between [[Page S1536]] the Illinois Central train station in Champaign and the courthouse in Urbana is today a 785-acre campus with a reputation admired around the world. It is home to more than 44,000 students from all 50 States and more than 100 different countries each year. The University of Illinois has enhanced the lives of over 450,000 living alumni and produced 23 Nobel Laureates and 22 Pulitzer Prize winners in the process. In addition, the university has grown to include campuses in Chicago and Springfield and regional campuses in Rockford, Peoria, and the Quad Cities.

It is with great pride that I ask my colleagues to join me in recognizing the sesquicentennial anniversary of the founding of the University of Illinois. I offer my best wishes and congratulations to President Timothy Killeen and all the University faculty, staff, students, and alumni on this important milestone. ____________________

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