CHAMPAIGN — The University of Illinois is marking the 150th anniversary of the first day of classes.
The (Champaign) News-Gazette reports that Illinois Industrial University, later to become the University of Illinois, opened March 2, 1868, with 77 students and four faculty members.
The newspaper says author Allen Nevins wrote in a 1917 book about the university that it encompassed just a single, five-story building with one short street that was paved. Life was different for students, too. Every day they were required to spend two hours maintaining the university grounds.
IIU’s enrollment grew to 128 within a year with about a dozen faculty members and nearly 1,100 books. The annual cost of tuition, room, board, fuel and lights, washing and incidentals was between $163 and $195.