Focus; The History of the University of Illinois
Good morning and welcome to focus 580 This is our telephone talk program. My name is David Ensor and we're glad to have you with us this morning. In the first hour of the program today we will be exploring some of the history of the University of Illinois and talk about how it came to be founded. Some of the challenges faced by the early administrators and how it is that the university took shape and came to be what we would recognize as a modern university. And our guest for the program is when Saul Berg he's an American professor of history at University of Illinois. He's written two books exploring this territory. The first which was published in nineteen sixty eight. And we must say with some sadness is no longer in print. Is the University of Illinois 1867 to 1894 an intellectual and cultural history. Well this book covers first 27 years of the history of university. It was published by the University of Illinois press. Just recently the press has brought out a second volume covering the years between 1894 and 1000 04 called by University of Illinois the shaping of the university. So if you're interested in exploring some of this history and it is quite interesting you might seek out these books and of course as we talk. You should feel free to be a part of the conversation maybe you have some questions you'd like to ask. It's easy to do that. Just dial the number here in Champaign Urbana 3 3 3 9 4 5 5 and toll free 800 to 2 2 9 4 5 5 at any point here you can join the conversation. All we ask of callers is that people just try to be brief and we ask that so that we can keep the program moving along accommodate as many different folks as possible. But anyone is welcome to call. Well thanks for being here. Thank you I'm glad to be here too. Yeah I think to talk a little bit about why the establishment of the university and other universities that was there were set up at about the same time why that's important. Probably we could start by talking a little bit about what colleges were like in the United States before that say in the period before the Civil War. They were really different. And that's why the land grant college represented such an important development. What what what were colleges like what was higher education like in the United States. Right before that.
Well the this so-called old time college that is the colleges in that period before the universities developed were small in the student body they were almost entirely male students. Very few women attended colleges until the latter part of this period. Almost all of these colleges were colleges were church related under the sponsorship of religious denominations. And they emphasized a rather narrow program a fixed curriculum in which all the students studied the same subjects with the idea of developing the so-called faculties. The analogy was that if you learn to develop your muscles you would be able to carry a load later in life. And therefore if you develop your mind you could apply your mind to almost any field you entered later on in life. So you had a narrow curriculum that emphasized math and classical languages and literature because that furnished the taste.
And many people felt. By the 1840s that these colleges were a product of an English upper class education and were on a largely unrelated to the necessities of a democratic westward moving popular culture.
So a great reform movement set in about the 1840s to supersede or to reform the old time college so these people they where they were studying Latin and Greek they were reading classics they did study mathematics but would not have studied much in the way of science.
They got some science but yes they know they did get some physics.
They would have gotten some natural science not a lot though it was primarily oriented toward the classical tradition and of course the colleges were designed to produce Christian gentleman usually in the last year in the senior year the president of the college who normally was an ordained Protestant minister would teach a course in Christian evidences to make sure that the people who when they graduated were good members of Christian churches at.
At about the time or shortly before the time this University was established then people started to think about what the country needed and in turn felt that that kind of education didn't it didn't provide for the needs of this growing country and thought that there ought to be something different. That higher education ought to be open to everyone or at least it ought to be to be more open than it was and that it ought to provide some practical skills so that people who are going to be farmers or work in factories or inventors or people who would be working with their hands. That's right would be it would be skilled and taught as well.
That's right you would democratize education by not just taking the sons of upper class people doctors lawyers ministers and so forth but of workers and rather than forcing them to learn how to build buildings or to construct canals or whatever by the apprenticeship method you would teach them and organize courses and open these colleges too. Producing people who could build the nation build the infrastructure and you would also open the colleges to women. It was a very democratizing movement for a democratic country.
And here we come to the idea of the land grant.
It has done things as to the land grant them for and then as the reform movement has swelled up that is not not only to reform the old time college but to totally reconstruct it by bringing in the federal government and to provide an economic basis for the states to develop their own higher educational institutions. And this then culminated in the moral Land Grant Act of 1862 by which the federal government may a gave land or the paper that entitle the states to go out and find land in western states with the proceeds of which they could then develop their own. Colleges or universities.
One result I think as you point out in the first book that that is still in place today is this established relationship between universities and the federal government. Was this something that at the time was at all controversial.
Oh it was very controversial as a matter of fact there had been an attempt to pass a law. Along the lines of a land grab act that was vetoed by President Buchanan because it was felt that this was not something the federal government should get involved with.
And when Lincoln came into office then Lincoln was willing to sign the act it was during the civil war and therefore the land grant colleges were supposed to produce people for the military establishment also the compulsory military training programs miniature West points if you like which were which is what this university was in the early days.
It was here in the state of Illinois was there popular support or how much support was there for the idea of a state university of this kind.
Well that's a very interesting question because there was some support for it here but it was Jonathan Baldwin Turner who came from Yale he had been educated in an old time college but he saw the need for vast educational reform. He was kind of the spark plug of a movement. But to reform the the old time college and to bring about the land grant universities. But in the state of Illinois in general the population had come in the state had been settled by people who came from the south southeastern part of the United States who had no tradition of publicly supported schools and they felt that students are young people don't really need higher education formal education. They were very reluctant to spend money for schools Illinois has a in that sense here is as powerful economically rich state that was not very willing to put up money for schools. Illinois is very late in doing that.
Perhaps I should at this point for anyone who's just tuned in introduce Again our guest. We're talking this morning about the history of the University of Illinois with Wynton Songbird he is an emeritus professor of history at the University of Illinois he's written two books exploring the early history of this institution the first covering the period between 1867 and 1894. This book was published by the University of Illinois press in one thousand sixty eight and is no longer in print. However he has a new book that's just come out more recently that covers the period between 1894 and 1000 04. This is also published by the press and it should be out in bookstores we'd like to take a look at it. And of course questions are welcome. 3 3 3 9 4 5 5 toll free 800 to 2 2 9 4 5 5. I guess also that at the time when people were talking about setting up the University of Illinois there was some. Perhaps disagreement about what the main focus should be ad particularly whether it whether agriculture should be the main focus or industry should that be the main focus and should it be an Industrial College should it be an agricultural college.
No I think actually I would modify that somewhat under the terms of the moral act. These newly founded colleges were obligated to teach agriculture and the mechanical arts or mechanic carts. That is to say agriculture and engineering and you could teach other subjects not not excluding other subjects. What happened here then was that the the influence of the old time curriculum that is Greek to Latin literature. The liberal arts and humanities subjects had a great poll and a number of students wanted to study those things and therefore the state legislature stepped in.
About five years after the universities started and mandated that every student would have to study agriculture because they felt the college was not read deeming the pledge to reform higher education. But what became significant then is that.
Though these colleges that were defined were designed to train agriculturists there was no agriculture science available at the time to make the study of agriculture that important and I think most farmers felt that there was no point in sending my son off to Urbana to learn agriculture because they don't have enough to teach him.
So agriculture didn't get started and this university developed really as a school of engineering. Engineering was a colossus on the campuses to use the title of a chapter in this current book. Most of the students were in engineering most of the students were male and the College developed along those lines to the exclusion of the others until the 1890s when the board of trustees finally said we must do something to redress the balance and start out in a new direction. Create a university. Because the University of Illinois it was not well considered by the people of the state by as of 1894 I think it fair to say and it certainly it will at that time it was called the Illinois industrial University.
Well that was that's right. Not University of Illinois.
That's right well the change to the new title came in the 1880s because it was felt that too many people thought this was a reform school reformatory of some sort. Well the name was not fortunate but it again it emphasized the notion that we want to train classes or people who can produce this new industrial order. Railroads factories that America's developing canals roads how is it that the University of Illinois ended up in Urbana and not someplace else.
Oh that's. It's a deal. It had to go someplace and I think people forget all the details. I have a I think a chapter in that early book called The auction and the elephant. There was a a an old school stablished I think by the Methodist where but the Beckman center is now and there's a building you could use for a university.
And Clark Grigsby and others from Illinois went over to Springfield and were very good at the lobbying and I think probably a bamboozling of legislators to choose or ban a champagne which in many ways was not the best location of the time and that this area was not yet well developed in terms of roads and a transportation system. You didn't have great natural wonders.
Well to me it's a good place for a universe.
There are not a lot of distractions that take the faculty and students away from their study was that indeed when you read the experiences of the students in those years it does seem that they that they were hard pressed to find other things to do and because of the way that the curriculum and their studies were scheduled they probably didn't have a lot of time to do anything else.
No they worked hard the program was very demanding this place was always very serious academically.
That I think there's no doubt and as I read the records of these early years I'm very impressed with the quality of most faculty members and of the students as a student body and collectively you know there are some laggards of course but we have a caller here let's talk with them in Champagne county line number one.
Hello good morning. Isn't it possible also that I want to call the only industrial colony was it was called that industrial and 1860s might have had a. Might have been able to include an agriculture at the time that it was more and inclusive it. I mean from our point of view no industry is factories but it may have been that it was more the root of the word just sort of being industrious and you know claiming the prairie sort of thing.
I think that's a fair comment it was in the Illinois industrial university not college but I think industry in the broadest sense is the immoral act itself said that these colleges founded with federal support are to train people in agriculture and in the Makeni cards are what we would call engineering.
Certainly there was a desire to train people for agriculture.
You already answered one of my questions but I'd like for you to elaborate on it I was wondering about quote unquote military science and the fact that you know I think until 1965 the Reserve Officer Training was mandatory for the first two years of of any male student. And most I think it was still mostly male at the time. But you were implying that military science was a revolt at the formulation by God. That's what it was called was West in the curriculum from the beginning.
It was in the curriculum from beginning and again the moral actor said that they were that these colleges were to have military programs now whether or not you absolutely had to require all students to take military science could be open to question but the law was interpreted that way by the first board of trustees. And there was great emphasis upon having a cadet corps and the War Department sent out a graduate of West Point to be in charge of the military program. And for all practical purposes what we have on the campus is a small West Point. There is a band at the beginning of the university band comes with the bugle corps a band that is designed to accompany the military unit and all students had to take the course in military science.
It developed through the years and was a very important part of the program we had one of the largest ROTC by the early 20th century of any State University in the country.
Yeah. Well in the 1860s like us there were still and horsemen in the periphery. Right.
I understand that the BPH which is an anomaly in itself. Because it was one of the few commercial college stations and I don't have anything on that that it's not an anomaly now since a lot of stations have gone commercial and university millions because of budget cuts but P.G. used sparingly stands for parade ground unit and it was I guess calling calling people to march around sort of thing. I don't know you know.
No I don't know about that I just draw a blank there. OK.
I Suman there might have been some arguments around the marl act that was in the same time that land grants were going to railroad companies and robber barons of that ilk. That they might have made the argument well you know we can beat this land. You know whether it was covered by the Grandslam treaty or not. We can't keep this land to the railroads. Why can't we get it to a university. Well particularly because it's a big military component. I'll have to hang up and listen off the air thanks. That's right.
Very interesting thanks.
Yes you're quite right the federal government did a great grant to great subsidies to the railroads to extend their lines out to the Pacific coast.
You remember the background all this is the whole question of to what extent the federal government ought to step in and be an active promoter of public welfare. The southern states wanting to protect slavery didn't want the federal government to be active in any respect.
Therefore that battle had to be fought but gradually the new Republican Party led by Abraham Lincoln and others coming out of the Whig background had decided that we should use the federal government to promote public welfare and education is clearly one area where this ought to be done in addition industry namely the railroads which were one of the major industries of that period.
It this is the this business of military science and its place in the early history I think is is quite interesting as you point out and you write about in the book people here in Illinois there may have been some question about what the moral act intended as far as military training was concerned but they interpreted to mean that all students were required to take these courses. So they did they drilled and apparently there was even someone who thought that the students should should wear their uniforms all day and that professors and students should salute.
Yes I think for a time they did wear the uniforms all day in the salute on the campus right. Only in that I think only in the 1930s was there a spirited discussion controversy over the question of whether the moral act made it compulsory for all students to take military science or whether this was somewhat optional. And President David Kenley at the time was absolutely insistent that the moral act be interpreted as requiring mandating a military science on the part of all male students.
The university opened in 1867. Women arrived as students in 1870 So it took a couple of years. It was that also something that there was controversy about whether or whether women should be admitted.
Well in general there are throughout the country I don't I don't. Though there is so much active controversy about it as a fact that women just had not been considered the normal candidates for entrance into public or any type of higher education I don't think there was a great controversy over it here the university.
On the whole was quite to early and forward in admitting women. I don't recall any big fight over that issue. It was just done but it was somewhat uncommon at the time.
We have another call this is someone on a cell phone line number one. Hello. Oh yes.
Yeah I just wanted to make a comment and sort of in response to the Roxy issue.
I wasn't and Roxy I'm not I'm not necessarily fighting it but I actually think that removing a lot of ROTC programs from normal colleges was which has happened especially during the sixties and seventies is not really a very good thing because you end up with an officer corps that comes from a very narrow background whereas if you have a fairly broad based officer corps you're going to have people coming in into the military with very different views on the earliest more and more different than you might of otherwise. So I am not sure that I.
I think if the previous caller certainly disparaged that program to some extent I'm not sure that's such a wise thing. I don't know if you have any.
Well I do have comments on that they really transcend what we're focusing on here but let me speak very briefly. I myself am the product of an ROTC program I entered the University of South Dakota in the fall of 1039 and I had to take ROTC it was an infantry or Miller an Army program. I went on to the advance program because I saw the war coming and I felt I'd rather be an officer rather than an enlisted man. My complaint about the ROTC program was that it was not awfully well taught they didn't prepare us very well I'd think I was in an infantry officer in combat during World War 2 I came back home for a time I taught at West Point during the Korean War. So I think I have a fairly good idea of what the programs could these programs can do and can't do. I think you could argue make a very good case for both of the arguments that ROTC does belong in universities.
It seems to me that it's really better for students to study more academic subjects and the army could recruit its officer corps another way but that that's a separate argument on which I'm open to all sorts of discussions and I don't think it's all picked profitable to try to fight that out here.
Yeah no I'm not proposing that I just think that there's a there's been a you assert.
Some people just say hey let's get this off campus and I'm not sure that I agree I don't know enough about the program and it was a quality issue is a problem. Other things like that but. But I just worry about a military that's not broadly based in the society.
It's a very good concern I think of what you say makes very good sense. In my particular case for example that my class Myo ROTC class the Army had had sufficiently poor experience with commissioning officers outright that with my class of 1043 we had to go to officers candidate school to win our commissions and about half of my graduating class did not get their commissions and it's interesting.
Thanks very much curious to the history of the university.
Well thank you for the go. Our guest this morning in this first hour focus 580 Wynton SAHLBERG he is an emeritus professor of history at University of Illinois and has written two books that detail the early years of the University of Illinois. The first one the University of Illinois 1867 to 1894 covers first twenty seven years but it was published by the University of Illinois press in 1968 and just recently a second book of looking at the years between 1894 in 1904. That's the University of Illinois the shaping of the university. It's published by the University of Illinois press. And the questions are really welcome. Three three three.
W y l l toll free 800 1:58 W Well here's someone else to talk with in Terre Haute in on our line number for Hello. Good morning.
Yes I realize this. It's not covered in that time period of your post but I want to talk about the origin of the instability in the Willard airport.
Well I can certainly say something about Willard airport a few years ago I interviewed park living son who was in who had been a member of the board of trustees at the time the airport was founded here and park Livingston and I went to talk with the Meyer who was a you know the banker and director of CIA the television station locally. What I learned from those men at that time and I have some documents on this but I have not made a full fledged study of it yet is it. Livingston and Meyer went to a then Senator Scott Lucas who represented Illinois in the night state Senate.
During World War Two and pleaded with Lucas to get an airport for downstate Illinois on the grounds of it being a federal a necessity during the war. My own interpretation of this evidence so far as I can. Think about the subject now is that this was a means of developing central Illinois development. Which was sponsored during a war with the using of the war emergency as a cover to advance economic and proprietary interests.
But beyond that I can't say I know the answer to that of aviation then came later and I can't speak with any in any detail about that.
I think the founding of Willard airport raises a nice question as to whether or not this is a very central purpose for a university to be involved in running an airport.
But beyond that I think I've told you about what I know at this point and certainly what I've said. The interpretation of the facts and the interpretation I have offered would be subject to revision in light of studying this question more carefully.
I hope that that at least provides a partial answer. Let's talk with someone else this is a caller in Kankakee and its line 1. Hello. Hello.
Yes yes calling up. In Kankakee the word was that back in the late 80s hundreds Kankakee had the choice between you University of Illinois or the state hospital. And don't they have that one if you could comment on that. How much truth there is that matter. Now I'll hang up thank you.
I think I can't say anything very definitive about that it seems to me that as I search my memory I think I've heard about Kankakee bidding. There are a number of cities that wanted to get the university and there was a kind of a feeling of tradeoff namely if you get the state hospital for the deaf for the feeble minded then somebody else gets the university. The normal What log rolling and trading that goes on but beyond that I can't be specific. And a lot of these stories as you indicate get circulated in the realm of rumor and are not necessarily true but I can't pin it down definitively.
Other questions welcome. Where a little bit past the midpoint here. And if you like to call us 3 3 3 9 4 5 5 toll free 800 to 2 2 9 4 5 probably. I think one of the most important and most interesting characters.
In the early years of the university was the first president John Gregory and certainly someone who set the tone and the fuser future course of the university. And one of the things about him that seemed particularly interesting was that he we talked about what a classical education was like before the Civil War and about the fact that people thought that the country had needs that this kind of education wasn't providing. And they were arguing for a different kind of university. Gregory it seems wanted to have both. And to hold on to some elements of the classical education at the same time provide this new kind of education.
I think you're exactly right and I agree. I agree I think Gregory is a very admirable man.
His full name was John Milton Gregory in the John Milton tells you something came from good Protestant stock he was an ordained Baptist minister. He had been educated well in an eastern college the old time system he had been briefly president of a college in Kalamazoo before coming here. The great thing about Gregory I think is this willingness to kind of strike a balance between the best of the old while making progress toward taking the best of the new. He had never been to Europe I think before he became president of the university he made a trip to Europe and you can just see this man grow as his knowledge of the larger world grows. In his office. He he got the university off to a very good start I think.
He and although he now we were talking a bit earlier about the military training that seemed to be a place where he he ran into some difficulties and in fact there were probably some other things that were going on but he was he resigned. But in point of fact he apparently was driven out by the students and one of their chief areas of complaint was the military training.
Well the the military training was always a source of tension and that if there were rules students had to take They many of them didn't like taking it didn't feel they got much out of it I think. I don't think I think it probably would go a little bit far to say Greg was driven out. Maybe I come close to that in saying there were troubles that made it. But for him to but he had been here more than 10 years at that time and his wife had died and he had been rather foolish in the way he courted his second wife who taught in the factory for a time and I think he lost a bit of prestige or respect as a result of this being you know head over heels in love with a younger woman. But under Peabody his successor there was a revolt in the military because the people he was a very strict literal minded man who enforce the rules in a rather harsh way and the students just were fed up with him.
Yeah. Well perhaps in Gregory's case it was it was a combination of things and and at least in part the fact that he had it had been 10 years. It I'm sure they had many difficulties he probably was tired of it by that point and thought well you know maybe it wouldn't be such a bad thing to tell his friends.
I think that's true.
Other callers here we have someone in Urbana line number one.
Hello. Yes. Yeah hi. I don't lot of research in this area and I just want to say I read this book too it was so interesting and what I find is the original. Statements of these people it fits into just exactly what you're talking about because I just can I read just two quick quotes and ask a question. When Gregory said when he talked about at the beginning of the university he said the light of high and classical learning will be found as beautiful and becoming when it shines in an educated farmer's home as when it deals the residence of a graduated lawyer or a physician and then later he went about collecting art for the university and forming the first art museum which was in the first university library in one of those rooms and there's a whole story attached to it. But the response wasn't great here. He had to raise money elsewhere but anyway the student newspaper at that time said the age no doubt is rapidly approaching when foreigners will no longer cry out against the deceased supreme Lee disgusting taste of Americans which I thought was a wonderful quotation. So my question. Can you talk about the beginnings of architecture and art which is in the humanities and I and II protector had a had a practical use it had functional use and could be applied to the philosophy of the early university. I had to come in through the back door.
Well yes I'd be glad to comment on that. It is true of course that Gregory has started an art gallery and we had part from Chicago. We really have an art gallery before the Art Institute is founded a very anomalous thing where here in the prairie there is an attempt made to found a significant art institution. Now there was in the college of literature in our it's a department called Art and Design. It was originally intended primarily to train people in design for architecture and practical types of things.
And the early professors of art keep asking the authorities to put up just a few dollars so that we can bring in some artworks of living painters to show the rural youth of Illinois who come here as students something about the larger world of art. They get no place on this because it raises a really important question. What can we do to teach art. And the answer in the early 20th century is that what we really can't develop a school of art here but what we can do is train a constituency that can understand good art when they see it and it's not really until well into the late 40s that we get the festival of Contemporary Arts which is a very significant development on this campus in focusing on art music and related creative activities. That lasted from 48 until about one almost 170 it's really killed off during the counterculture and burial I THINK IT WENT YEAH YEAH.
Right. Well I just mention too that there's a very good very fine portrait of Gregory and the library when you come in on the east side there's a room there's the first room has some of these portraits and it was done by I think the first head of the Arctic Rose.
That could be I you know that is a good part of their portraits of the several of the early presidents there.
Yeah it's worth seeing. Most people just sort of rush into the library but it's worth looking at those portraits Well it's an interesting story and I think as I said you know at every era and every year there was another presidential brought different kind of leadership. And so your book should be really interesting to me to bring it more up to date. I look forward to reading it.
Thank you for the go. Let's go to someone else here this is Bradley line number four. Hello hello.
Yes I just want to make a comment about the Kankakee either getting the hospital or the College of the city and that's a room or I don't know how it got started but it's not true. Emory Cobb It was a very influential and wealthy citizen of Kerensky at the time I believe was on the board of the university. And if they had been. Any chance of him having the college located here it would have been done. But they didn't have a choice you know. That's the story anyway.
I think you're correct Emory Cobb was on the board he was very influential and I suspect what you say is absolutely true.
Yeah that's all they had. Thank you thank you.
We do have about 10 minutes left if you'd like to call an ask question made comment. The number here in Champaign Urbana 3 3 3 9 4 5 5. We also have a toll free line so we have it would be a long distance call for you. You may use that number that's 800 to 2 2 9 4 5 5. And our guest is when Salzburg He is professor emeritus of history here at the University of Illinois. I want to give you the opportunity.
I know I have concentrated most of the questions on the the the period covered by the previous book and I want at least make sure that we talk a little bit about the current book because it's the one that's new and it's in print that deals with a relatively short period of time here we're only talking about. Six years 10 part pardon me 10 years. You can tell that I didn't major in mathematics. And this is a period of particularly this was the period of Andrew Draper who was president of the university might talk a little bit about him and about just what's him what's important about this particular team there.
Well it is a short period of time and it's a it's a fairly substantial book on a short period of time but there is a unity to this period that makes it sensible I think to start and end where I do and the unity is the thesis of the book really the subtitle of the shaping of the university. Draper came under Sloan Draper came here from New York state he was a politician really a conservative Republican politician who had been a superintendent of public instruction in the state of Illinois in New York when the political wheel turned he lost out there he went out to Cleveland was superintendent of schools there he had man a name for himself in the board of trustees is just lusting after a big name to bring some national recognition to the University of Illinois when we've been so neglected for so long. Draper was I think a gruff domineering autocratic efficient type of person who had never had a day of college or university experience himself he had gone one year to a proprietary law school and then entered a law practice. And I think it turns out that he was a bad choice. He held back the development of the universe in a very substantial way. He had no vision really of what a research or a university was at a time when Harvard Yale Chicago Michigan and California were developing along these new lines of this reform movement to give America universities that would train people not just educate the on coming classes. So the thesis of this current book really is that during these years the university gained the structure of a university the university took shape as we get to law school. We get a School of Library Science. We got a school of music. We get in Chicago School of Medicine a School of Dentistry a school of pharmacy. But we totally lack the spirit of a university. The structure is there but we're not able to move forward and I think we lost a very important ground at that time that's been almost impossible to make up ever since because when the American Association of universities was founded in 1900 this was a group of the leading universities in the United States I think there were 12 at the time University of Illinois is not a member that Gopa founded in 1900 was designed to show that American universities are the equivalent of Europe and Europe in universities. You don't have to go to Germany to get a Ph.D. because we can train you as well in this country where not admitted to membership in that group because we're not in that caliber yet. But what happens in this period is that the basis is late I had the last part of the book is called poised for takeoff. And if you get a president who really understands the name of the game you can really make progress. And we did Edmund J. James came as President in 1904 I'm working on that period now. It's the most exciting period in the history of the university I think. Well almost the most exciting but this is the period in which this university became a leading American university without question. And it shows I think that if you get a president who really knows what he wants in terms of a quality university and now we're back with the prairie and James said look why can't you establish a world class university on the prairie east central Illinois if you work at it. If you're going to do that you need a first class faculty with a first class library will go out and get it.
And he did. It's an absolutely amazing story.
We have some of the color school try to get them in in the time that remains. The next is in Champaign. And this is line 1. Hello.
Yes I was driving and I heard the question I asked. Yes. When women were allowed to become a pilot in fact the student body if you have I don't think it was within two years of it. Opening which is amazing but I have like to know what the University of Illinois is receptive of allowing African-Americans in it to become a part of this class university.
I think in general the university is very receptive to the admission of African-Americans. There aren't too many in the early years on the first board of trustees there is an African-American he's a man who lives over in Springfield I think he was a janitor in one of the state buildings.
I think he never came to a meeting of the board of trustees. My interpretation of that evidence would be that in the aftermath of the Civil War the slaves had been freed it was felt desirable to put an African-American on the board but he probably didn't feel comfortable in associating with his colleagues and he didn't. The records show that he didn't attend a meeting. There are too many black students in the early years but by the turn of the century there are well in the new book I list them all I count them there are about 13 or 15 or something like that. The university was open to students that is not to say that they had fair treatment once they got here. In terms of what the town did for them or what their fellow students might have felt. But there is a black who is editor of the men named William W. Smith as I recall from broad lands who was editor of The New Year in 1900 and 1001. There's a black in the football team there was a black in the band who was noted as a drummer.
Clearly they were they gamed the chief. They achieved and gain recognition within the university. Thank you sir.
Alright thank you.
And to Chicago line for Hello. Just my question is basically that one of us as an observer of this is and impressionistic kind of a set and speaking of I think you've already answered the question but maybe you could get into this further. My impression is that when you speak of land grant colleges Illinois just doesn't quite come up to the level of Michigan and I guess prickly Is that still accurate.
Well yes and in many ways it is accurate Michigan is not a land grant college. Michigan State is but the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor was founded about 1837. It had a great headstart on us and one of its early presidents was a man named Tappan who was who had a great vision of what a university should be. He was run out of office because he tried to do things that were a bit ahead of their time. But Michigan has always been a university at Ann Arbor was founded earlier than we were and Berkeley is founded almost the same time. But what happens at both Michigan and California that didn't happen here was that there was a unity between the board of trustees and a very knowledgeable president that we must proceed cooperatively to make this a great university. We lacked that. Our board of trustees I think was. Sunder Stanhope although they tried to get a big name for the university but Draper was not fit to be a good university president and they endured the man for 10 years. His Deans revolted against him as soon as he left because of his autocratic and repressive and regressive measures.
It's that type of thing that other universities Michigan and California notably had that we lacked. OK thank you.
Right. I am interested that it seems that from the very beginning there was some argument about whether the mission of the university should be to pass on existing knowledge or to generate new knowledge. And we still we still seem to be arguing that one.
No I don't think we argue that anymore but it that is being argued at this point that as I think in 1894 when this book starts when I start covering the university in this period they feeling was that the mission of the university is to train the oncoming of a generation as to teach undergraduates.
There is very little recognition at official levels of the need to expand new knowledge so that you have some reservoir of knowledge to draw upon to train undergraduates. All of the deans kept appealing to the president and the board of trustees to make an official declaration about the purpose the intention of the university with respect to research. They don't do it. I think that issue has been solved namely that the now it's felt that the university has an obligation to teach the oncoming generation undergraduate instruction is important. And don't don't ever deny it. But at the same time you must advance knowledge and that is the research function in the graduate college with the faculty that's called upon to publish as well as to be teachers. And James for example insists that in hiring people you must be an effective teacher and give evidence that you're going to be a productive scholar.
This transcript is machine-generated and has not been corrected. It is likely there will be errors.
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- with Winton Solberg, professor emeritus of history, University of Illinois
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- community; Education; History; Higher Education; university of illinois
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Producer: Brighton, Jack
Producing Organization: WILL (Radio/television station : Urbana, Ill.)
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- Chicago: “Focus; The History of the University of Illinois,” 2001-02-02, WILL Illinois Public Media, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed April 21, 2019, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_16-4f1mg7g33m.
- MLA: “Focus; The History of the University of Illinois.” 2001-02-02. WILL Illinois Public Media, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. April 21, 2019. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_16-4f1mg7g33m>.
- APA: Focus; The History of the University of Illinois. Boston, MA: WILL Illinois Public Media, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_16-4f1mg7g33m