Parting Words


The University of Illinois: Past and Future

Chartered in 1867 as a land grant university, the University of Illinois is built on democratic ideals. For over 100 years the university has offered access to quality education, initially to students in the state and now to students of the world. Entrance is based on academic merit. Faculty and students alike are rewarded for success based on ability and performance. The university's main emphasis is on knowledge - its creation and its dissemination to students and the community - because knowledge provides power that can be used for the good of the community and human kind.

In an informal talk before the college's Business Advisory Council, President Stanley O. Ikenberry touched on several topics of interest - our proud heritage and directions for the future. The university, he said, has changed a great deal over the years. Curriculum has expanded, teaching methods and course content are continually changing to meet the demands of society and the professions. The university faculty and student body is more divers now than it has ever been, and the goal for the future is to make it more so. The standards of quality introduced in the early years still obtain. Students at Illinois are among the best anywhere. When it comes to basics the university has not changed! It is still dedicated to academic freedom. The free exchange of ideas is part of our precious heritage. The University of Illinois, while one of the worlds great institutions of higher learning, remains unpretentious. That too is part of our heritage - part of the midwest ethos and public university culture. These are some of the things that make the University of Illinois so special.

What's in the Future?

With hindsight we may view this decade as one of great change - social, economic, political, global, technological. The great challenges we face offer great opportunities, but they also render us vulnerable. Some universities will not be able to embrace the changes demanded of them. We will fight to keep the University of Illinois from becoming one of them. This is no time to lag behind. To prosper we must lead the pack. The key to success in this, as in everything, is people. In this area the university faces two major problems:

Overcoming these problems will be difficult. And while we struggle, the competition is also moving forward. Catch-up is always difficult. Our plans for the future include strategies to overcome these difficulties. For example, for the last several years we have streamlined operations at the university, rearranging budgets to meet the most pressing needs. More cuts are expected in the future. To meet these while keeping the faculty strong will require that we find new efficiencies and new sources of funds.

Because state budgets can no longer meet all our needs, we increasingly rely on endowment earnings and tuition to underwrite an ever growing portion of university costs. As tuition rises there will be a greater need for student aid. In the future the University of Illinois will continue to serve the public, but with more private dollars. Over the last five years the university endowment has doubled - from $150 billion to $330 billion. We need to double this amount again in the next five years, and with Campaign Illinois already underway, we are on track.

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