UIHistories Project: A History of the University of Illinois by Kalev Leetaru
        M I L E S T O N E S

Historical Firsts of the University of Illinois

The following list of firstsis quoted from a campus map circa 1950, [1] produced by the University of Illinois Office of Public Affairs.

Please note that subsequent research has proven some of these claims inaccurate (such as the claim to the first Collegiate Homecoming), but they are reproduced here for historical purposes. Please let us know if you have further information about any of these.

  • 1868 First architectural instruction west of the Alleghanies (Nathan Ricker was the first graduate of an architectural program in theUnited States)
  • 1869 First laboratory study for botany students in America
  • 1870 First shop for engineering education in America (In 1871, Professor S. W. Robinson, along with several students, developed a 25 hp steam engine that was used to power this shop class, making it the first engine to power a mechanical engineering class in the country). [2]
  • 1876 First soil experiment plots in America , also the first corn experiment fields in the world the Morrow Plots
  • 1877 First general bacteriology course
  • 1881 First evidence of bacteria causing plant disease
  • 1893 First library school west of the Alleghanies
  • 1896 First state-wide study of water-borne epidemics
  • 1901 First Dean of Men
  • 1902 First college-level courses in business English
  • 1903 First Engineering Experiment Station in America
  • 1906 First church expressly for college students
  • 1908 First full-time research worker in home economics
  • 1910 First collegiate Homecoming celebration (Now known to be FALSE)
  • 1912 First professor of civic design (city planning)
  • 1913 First college campus church foundation
  • 1913 First modern sensitive photoelectric cell
  • 1914 First short course in highway engineering
  • 1914 First summer courses for athletic coaches
  • 1919 First four-year athletic coaching course
  • 1919 First antitoxin for botulinus (food) poisoning in man
  • 1920 First alkali-vapor radio tubes
  • 1920 First collegiate Dads Day celebration
  • 1921 First official university Mothers Day celebration
  • 1922 First sound-on-film movies
  • 1925 First short course for firemen
  • 1930 First band clinic
  • 1936 First successful down-draft furnace for burning soft coal smokelessly (Mechanical Engineering Laboratory)
  • 1939 First revelation of growth rings in teeth
  • 1940 First betatron
  • 1946 First complete course in child dentistry
  • 1948 First use of the betatron for cancer research

[1] Campus Map and Informational Brochure circa 1950s (lists English Building as Bevier Hall, which places it between 1946 and 1956)
[2] Some Points of Interest in and about the University of Illinois 1935 Campus Promotional Brochure
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