Illinois was founded by a brilliant idea almost 150 years ago. Our foundations were laid with the promise of establishing a beacon of knowledge and service for our state and our nation. The first Morrill Act was signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln in 1862. It grew out of a pre-Civil war movement to create agricultural schools and colleges through federal land-grants. 150 years later, the University of Illinois expanded the principles of educational access and extension from that act, repurposing them to meet changing economic and social needs for future decades.
As we approach the sesquicentennial of the founding of the Illinois campus in 2017, we rededicate ourselves not just to these first principles, but also to embrace the challenges that link discovery, innovation and research to economic development, engaged citizenship and public outreach.