From the Congressional Record Online through GPO
150TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS
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
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
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
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.