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What Makes Us Unique

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is a place of excellence, innovation, and tradition. More than 2,000 faculty members lead 40,000 students in a process of discovery and learning in 16 colleges and schools and more than 80 research centers and labs. Faculty and students pursue projects with other top scholars from around the world and across disciplines. Campus resources include the world's largest public university library, outstanding centers for the arts, and many world-class research facilities, including the National Center for Supercomputing Applications.

Illinois provides a diverse learning environment: students and faculty members from more than 120 nations, and a choice of 150 undergraduate programs of study. Students find opportunities ranging from participating in research or studying abroad, to leading one of more than 1,000 student organizations.

In fall, 2003, Illinois became only the third American public university, and the eleventh institution in the world, ever to have two Nobel Prizes (in different fields) awarded to members of its faculty in the same year. And, only months before Professor Anthony Leggett was awarded the Nobel Prize in physics and Professor Paul Lauterbur was awarded the Nobel Prize in medicine/physiology, a third faculty member, Professor Carl Woese, won the Crafoord Prize, the Nobel equivalent for biology. Other Illinois faculty members have won Pulitzer Prizes, Tony Awards, and memberships in the nation’s elite academies of arts and sciences. These are the instructors and mentors of Illinois students.

Most students easily acclimate themselves to campus surroundings and quickly fall in love with UIUC. In fact, many students cite the size of the University as the best thing about it. "The huge size just means that there’s a wealth of opportunities available here that you can’t find…anywhere else. It’s everything I’d want or need in a school" Another student cited, "Everything about this place is engaging and exciting…it’s truly a jewel in the cornfields."

Famous Alumni

  • Deron Williams - NBA guard for the Utah Jazz
  • Dick Butkus - Hall-of-Fame NFL linebacker for the Chicago Bears; 2-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year
  • Gene Hackman - Actor; won 2 Academy Awards for his roles in "The French Connection" and "Unforgiven"
  • Hugh Hefner - Editor-in-chief, Playboy Enterprises
  • James Cantalupo - Chairman and CEO of McDonalds Corp. International
  • Jean Driscoll - Eight-time Boston Marathon Winner, Wheelchair Division
  • Jerry Colangelo - Former owner of the Phoenix Suns and Arizona Diamondbacks
  • Jesse Jackson - US Congressman; Founder, National Rainbow Coalition
  • Jesse Jackson - Civil Rights leader
  • Marc Andreessen - Founder of Mosaic and Netscape
  • Nick Holonyak, Jr. - Development and commercialization of Light-emitting diode technology which is responsible for CD technology.
  • Red Grange - Hall-of-Fame NFL player; part of first class of inductees for Pro and College Football Halls of Fame
  • Robert L. Johnson - Founder of BETl; owner of the Charlotte Bobcats
  • Roger Ebert - Pulitzer Prize-Winning Film Critic
  • Steve Chen and Jawed Karim - Co-founders of YouTube
  • Suze Orman - TV and radio media financial advisor

Fun Facts

The University Library houses the largest public university library in the world, with more than 22 million items in the main library and over 40 departmental libraries and divisions. More than one million patrons from around the world use the online catalog each week.

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is rated 20th among large colleges and universities in the nation for the number of alumni serving in the Peace Corps.

Did you know that U of I Champaign is cited in or is where the film was located in Some Like It Hot, Risky Business, With Honors (film location), Blues Brothers, 2001 Space Odyssey (the computer Hal was born at UIUC) and Kicking and Screaming (2005 Will Ferrell movie)

Traditions / School Myths

Q: Why is Lincoln's nose shinier than the rest of his head?
A: Because tradition holds that students who rub the nose on this bust in Lincoln Hall will have good luck on a test.

Q: What happens if you kiss your significant other behind the ”Eternal flame”?
A: The famous “Eternal Flame” on campus was a gift of the class of 1912. It is rumored that two lovers who kiss under the flame’s eternal light will see their relationship last forever. Unfortunately, the bulb is rarely replaced when it burns out and the glass globe is subject to fairly frequent vandalism, so if the length of one’s relationship is tied to the longevity of the “flame”, then that relationship will be short-lived indeed.

Colleges to Consider

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Students interested in University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign also expressed interest in the following colleges:
1. University of Illinois at Chicago
2. Northwestern University
3. University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
4. Illinois State University
5. University of Wisconsin-Madison
6. Purdue University-Main Campus
7. Northern Illinois University
8. Loyola University Chicago
9. University of Chicago
10. DePaul University
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