Once the greatest [art collection] west of New York City,  the Gregory Collection opened its doors on January 1875.  Located on the third floor of New University Halls west wing, the collection consisted of 16 full-sized statues, 42 bas reliefs, 27 large and 490 small Medallion Beads, 54 engravings, 232 photographs, and 407 lithographic portraits.  The quarters for the gallery, outfitted for just $75,  consisted of a 61 by 78 foot hall that was repainted a dark maroon to provide a soothing backdrop for the white sculptures. 
The collection was the result of Regent John Milton Gregorys efforts to acquire an art gallery for the University. After every speech and lecture he would solicit donations for the collection and contribute his own profits to the fund. By the time he was ready to set sail for Paris to purchase the collection, he had gathered over $4,000, with individual contributions numbering: 6 people giving $100, 35 people giving $25, 2 people giving $20, 8 people giving $50, one person giving $40, and 12 people giving $10. Although contributions totaled just $2,075, the rest of the $4,000 were donated out of his own pocket.
To maximize the purchasing power of the fund, Regent Gregory sought only reproductions, and so was able to afford the 1,268 pieces which found their way back to the Illinois Industrial University. Unfortunately, the pieces arrived smashed beyond recognition, and so Regent Gregory, together with Loredo Taft, just 10 years old at the time, and his father, pieced the collection back together again. Loredo later credited the experience he gained during the reconstruction as spawning his interest in sculpture and setting him upon the path he is ultimately famous for. 
In its heyday, the collection was so powerful that there are those of the student body of the 70s and 80s who now assert their whole lives have been different from what they would otherwise have been on account of this art collection. 
Sadly in the late 1800s the collections gallery space was needed for other University purposes and the collection was disbursed across campus. Two of the large sculptures, the Lacoon Group, and the Venus de Milo anchored the east and west ends of the Auditoriums foyer when it opened, though they are now on display in the Spurlock.
Sadly, the last known cluster of pieces from the Collection, part of the Hall of Casts in the Architecture Building, were dispersed in 1947 to make way for a drafting room.  Today many of the pieces have made their way into the hands of the Spurlock Museum, but most have been scattered to the winds, cast about campus.