University of Illinois at Chicago

University of Illinois at Chicago
University of Illinois at Chicago
Motto Teach, research, serve, care.
Established 1858
Chicago College of Pharmacy
University of Illinois at Chicago Circle
Type Public Research University
Endowment US$181.4 million [1]
Chancellor Paula Allen-Meares[2]
President Michael J. Hogan
Provost Lon S. Kaufman
Academic staff 2,574
Students 27,580
Undergraduates 16,911
Postgraduates 10,669
Location Chicago, Illinois, United States
Campus Urban, 244 acres (98.7 ha)
Rail transit UIC-Halsted, Polk, Illinois Medical District
Colors Indigo blue and flame red            
Athletics NCAA Division I
Horizon League
Nickname UIC Flames
Mascot Sparky D. Dragon
Affiliations Universities Research Association, Great Cities' Universities

Uillinois wordmark.svg

The University of Illinois at Chicago, or UIC, is a state-funded public research university located in Chicago, Illinois, United States. Its campus is in the Near West Side community area, near the Chicago Loop. As the second campus established under the University of Illinois system, it is also the largest university in the Chicago area with approximately 27,000 students[3] enrolled in 15 colleges. UIC operates the nation's largest medical school, with research expenditures exceeding $340 million and consistently in the top 50 U.S. institutions for research expenditures.[4]

In the 2012 U.S. News & World Report's ranking of colleges and universities, the University of Illinois at Chicago ranked as the 150th best national university,[5] 79th best public university,[6] and tied for the 11th most ethnically diverse university[7] in the United States. UIC operates the state’s major public medical center, and serves as the principal educator for Illinois’ physicians, dentists, pharmacists, nurses and other healthcare professionals.[8]

UIC competes in NCAA Division I Horizon League as the UIC Flames in sports. The UIC Pavilion is home to all UIC basketball games. It also serves as a venue for concerts.




The University of Illinois at Chicago traces its origins to several private health colleges founded during the late nineteenth century, including the Chicago College of Pharmacy, which opened in 1859, the College of Physicians and Surgeons (1882), and the Columbian College of Dentistry (1891).[9]

The University of Illinois was chartered in 1867 in Champaign-Urbana, as the state's land-grant university. In exchange for agreeing to the Champaign-Urbana location, Chicago-area legislators were promised that a "polytechnical" branch would open in Chicago.[10] The Chicago-based health colleges affiliated with the University in 1896–97, becoming fully incorporated into the University of Illinois in 1913, as the Colleges of Medicine, Dentistry, and Pharmacy. Medical education and research dramatically expanded in the succeeding decades, leading to the development of several other health science colleges, which were brought together as the Chicago Professional Colleges of the University of Illinois. In 1935, the first act of newly-elected state representative Richard J. Daley was to introduce a resolution calling for the establishment of a Chicago campus of the University of Illinois.[11]

East Campus in Spring  
Alley facing Student Center East  
View from BSB terrace during an overcast  
Fall at UIC  

Expansion after World War II

In 1945, as the war ended, Daley (then a state senator) introduced four bills calling for a university in Chicago.[11] Following World War II, the University of Illinois increased its presence in Chicago by creating a temporary, two-year branch campus, the Chicago Undergraduate Division.[12] Known as 'Harvard on the Rocks' and housed on Navy Pier, the campus accommodated primarily student veterans on the G.I. Bill.[13] The campus was not a junior college, but rather had a curriculum based on Urbana's courses, and students who successfully completed the first two years' requirements could go on to Urbana and finish their degree.

Classes at the Navy Pier Campus began in October 1946, and approximately 4,000 students enrolled each semester. As Chicago had no comprehensive public university at that time, most students were first generation college students from working families, who commuted from home. Demand for a public university education in Chicago remained high, even after the first wave of veterans passed, so the University made plans to create a permanent degree-granting campus in the Chicago area.

In 1951, Daley succeeded in getting the state senate to pass a bill calling for a Chicago campus. Daley became mayor of Chicago in 1955 and pressed the University of Illinois to accept a Chicago campus.[11] After a long and controversial site decision process,[14] in 1961, Mayor Daley offered the Harrison and Halsted Streets site for the new campus.[15] In that same year, what would later become the health science colleges became the University of Illinois at the Medical Center (UIMC). In a report on August 28, 2008 by newsman Derrick Blakely, CBS TV reported that in 1963, the decision to build the University of Illinois decimated Taylor Street's little Italy. Florence Scala, Chicago’s legendary Taylor Street activist and long time Hull House cohort, blamed the board of directors of Hull House for betraying the thriving, vibrant, tight knit neighborhood.[8] They encouraged Daley to go ahead and destroy the neighborhood. Her challenge as to why the Hull House neighborhood and not the vacated and easily accessible Dearborn Station, resulted in the bombing of her home. In addition on November 10, 2003 WTTW Irv Kupcinet related a story about Mayor Richard J. Daley asking him what he thought was his most crowning achievement. Daley answered "Putting the school in the Italian neighborhood." Meaning the old Taylor Street neighborhood being condemned to make way for the Chicago Circle Campus.

The new Chicago campus was named the University of Illinois at Chicago Circle (UICC) and opened in February 1965.[16] (The Circle part of the name referred to the nearby Circle Interchange.) UICC was designed by Walter Netsch of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, a Chicago-based architectural firm responsible for most of today's tallest skyscrapers.[17][18][19] Unlike the Navy Pier campus, Circle was a degree-granting institution. Many of the newly-recruited faculty came because it was connected to a strong research university and they pushed for rapid development into a research-oriented school emphasizing graduate instruction. Within five years of the campus' opening, virtually every department offered graduate degrees.


In 1979, University of Illinois system president Stanley Ikenberry announced a plan to consolidate the two campuses to form the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). The merger took three years of work by Ikenberry; but, in September 1982 it was completed.[20] In 1987, the post-merger UIC advanced to Carnegie Research 1 institution status.[21]

In 2000, UIC began developing the South Campus. The expansion of UIC south of Roosevelt Road increased on-campus living space and research facilities.


University Hall, located on UIC's East Campus

One in ten Chicagoans with a college degree is a UIC alumnus.[22] Approximately one in eight Illinois doctors is a graduate of the UIC College of Medicine (the nation’s largest medical school). One in three Illinois pharmacists is a graduate of the College of Pharmacy. Half of all the dentists in Illinois are graduates of UIC’s College of Dentistry.[23]


The University of Illinois at Chicago offers 74 bachelor degrees, 77 master degrees, and 60 doctoral degrees[24] through its 14 colleges, in addition to the university's specialized Honors College (for undergraduates) and the omnibus Graduate College (for graduate students):[25]

UIC offers eleven inter-college programs, some of which are organized as centers: Cancer Center, Center for Structural Biology, Neuroscience program, Council for Teacher Education, Graduate Education in Medical Sciences, Guaranteed Professional Programs Admissions program, Moving Image Arts program, National Center of Excellence in Women's Health, Office of International Affairs, Study Abroad Office, and the Office of Special Scholarship Programs.

The university is run by the chancellor who is supported by seven vice chancellors, one CEO for administrative functions, and fifteen college deans. There is a library dean and three regional deans for colleges of medicine.[26]

Honors College

UIC's Honors College, started in 1982, was located on the Navy Pier Campus. It was part of the University of Illinois system's James Scholars Honors Program created at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign.

In 1962, with the expansion of the Chicago Undergraduate Division, the honors program was extended and consolidated with the University of Illinois College of Medicine. It was also renamed the "Honors College".[27]

The Honors College is like a small liberal arts college nestled within a large research university, allowing the University of Illinois at Chicago to offer the best of both worlds to honors students and faculty. The Honors College is a home for students seeking extra intellectual challenges as well as campus and community engagement. It is also a home for faculty members seeking collaboration with some of the most motivated students on campus.

The Honors College offers scholarships and tuition waivers for incoming freshmen, transfer students, and continuing students. Other awards support undergraduate research, study abroad, and civic engagement.

One of the most important benefit of membership in the Honors College is dedicated mentoring by the UIC faculty members. At the end of the first year, each student is assigned an Honors College Fellow-a faculty mentor who is a leader in the student's field.

Students admitted to the Honors College must complete an additional application for specific admittance to the college, in addition to the degree-granting college. In order to be admitted and remain into the Honor's College, a student must provide evidence of scholastic merit, maintain a GPA of 3.4 or above and participate in an Honors College activity each semester, separate from their regular classes.

The Honors College offices and student lounge are located on campus at Burnham Hall. Additionally, students admitted to the Honors College are eligible to live on designated floors of UIC's residence halls. They have their own study hall, computer lab and a personalized professional advisors.[28] The current dean of the Honors College is Dr. Bette L. Bottoms.


UIC's East Campus in October

The student body at UIC consists of more than 27,000 total students, of which nearly 17,000 are undergraduate students.[29] Demographic statistics for undergraduates as of 2009 were[30]:

Race Number Percentage
White (non-Hispanic) 7,102 44.3%
Asian/Pacific Islander 3,584 22.3%
Hispanic (of any race) 2,961 18.5%
Black (non-Hispanic) 1,358 8.5%
Native American/Alaska Native 31 0.02%
Nonresident Alien 230 1.4%
Unknown 778 4.8%

While not tracked in the sources above, informal surveys suggest that between 5% and 10% of the UIC student population identifies themselves as being of middle eastern descent.

The chancellor operates six diversity-related committees on Asian Americans, Blacks, Latinos, LGBT issues, Persons with disabilities, and Women. UIC has been publicly recognized as diverse. US News & World Report repeatedly ranks UIC in the top 10 most diverse universities in the nation.[31] In 2006, UIC was ranked by Advocate College Guide as one of the nation's top 100 LGBT friendly campuses.

Rankings and statistics

University rankings (overall)
U.S. News & World Report[32] 150
Washington Monthly[33] 122
ARWU[34] 102-150
QS[35] 162
Times[36] 167


UIC is one of 96 American universities receiving the highest research classification ("RU/VH") by the Carnegie Foundation.[37] Under the prior Carnegie classification system, UIC was one of 88 "Research I" universities.[38] In 2005, National Science Foundation statistics on research funding ranked UIC 48th out of more than 650 universities receiving federal research money. UIC's level of research funding surpassed one Big Ten university and the University of Chicago.[39]

2007 rankings from the Institute of Higher Education in Shanghai placed UIC in 59th–76th place (tied) among universities in North America and in 102nd–150th place (tied) worldwide.[40]

In 2011 QS World University Rankings[41] placed UIC at 162nd in the world.

Subject areas/Program-specific

In 2008 rankings by the Institute of Higher Education in Shanghai, UIC tied for 51st–76th in the subject area of social sciences[42] and 76th–107th in the subject areas of medicine[43] and life/agricultural sciences.[44]

Many programs ranked in the top 50 overall graduate program rankings by US News & World Report:,[45] including: Criminology (19), Education (50), English (41), Fine Arts (37), History (36), Mathematics (36), Nursing (7), Occupational Therapy (4), Pharmacy (9), Physical Therapy (15), Public Affairs (41), Public Health (13), Social Work (22), and Sociology (41). The June 2007 issue of the Communications of Association for Computing Machinery published a ranking of graduate computer science programs based on recent scholarly publications. That list ranked UIC 34th, tied with Caltech, among the top 50 U.S. graduate programs.

The Princeton Review and Entrepreneur magazine's survey of more than 700 American schools ranked UIC’s entrepreneurship program 9th (undergraduate) and 12th (graduate). In 2008 US News & World Report ranked UIC's undergraduate business program 58th and the undergraduate engineering program 57th in the United States. US News & World Report also ranked UIC's part-time MBA 24th out of over 300 programs nationally and the graduate finance program 19th; undergraduate program rankings were accounting (28th) and finance (17th in 2010). In 2010 Princeton Review ranked UIC in the top 50 undergraduate game design programs of 700 universities in the US and Canada. Criteria included the quality of the curriculum, faculty, facilities and infrastructure. The Princeton Review also looked at data on scholarships, financial aid and career opportunities.[46]


Jane Addams' Hull-House Museum

UIC is composed of three campuses supporting more than 25,000 students and 2,300 faculty members and staff.[47] These campuses cover 311 acres (125.9 ha) in the Little Italy and the University Village section of Chicago.

The East Campus was designed in the brutalist style by Walter Netsch. The plan included second-story walkways that connected all of the buildings. These were taken down in phases during the early 1990s to make the campus more welcoming.[48] Considerable effort has been expended to modify the original Netsch campus plan to create the feel of a traditional college campus. The area in front of the main administration building, University Hall, has been the site of several renovations in the last decade. The UIC Pavilion was added in about 1982.

The East Campus is located on the Near West Side, just south of Greektown and a 15-minute walk from downtown Chicago. The juxtaposition of campus and commercial density was a direct result of large-scale urban renewal led by Mayor Richard J. Daley.[14] The proximity to downtown and public transit tends to attract students who want to experience life in a large city but have a typical college campus[citation needed]. Between East and West Campuses is Little Italy.

The West Campus is much older and includes some buildings built in the collegiate gothic style. The colleges of Medicine, Pharmacy, Nursing, Dentistry, Applied Health Sciences and Public Health, as well as the Library of the Health Sciences are all located on the West Campus. The West Campus is in the heart of the Illinois Medical District where the University of Illinois Medical Center is located.

South Campus is in the University Village neighborhood, formerly the Maxwell Street area. There are no strictly educational buildings here; South Campus is composed of residence halls, athletic facilities, and a large presentation space (the Forum). Since the East Campus was opened in 1965 several large-scale developments creating thousands of new residences have been built in the Taylor Street area. Development of The South Campus in the early 2000s included a rapid increase in new housing units.[citation needed]

The Chicago Transit Authority's Blue Line, part of the Chicago 'L', runs through the median of the Eisenhower Expressway along the north side of the campus. Three Blue Line stations are close to the university: UIC-Halsted, Racine, and Illinois Medical District. The Pink Line serves UIC's west campus on Polk Street and runs directly to Ogilvie Transportation Center.

Student housing

UIC's James Stukel Towers residence hall with downtown Chicago in the background

UIC offers 10 residence halls for its students. The East Campus contains four residence halls, the South Campus contains three, and the West Campus contains three. Until the South Campus expansion, UIC students were still predominantly commuters. However, the administration has worked to change the campus to one where most students are residential.[49] Nearly 6,000 students live within one-and-a-half miles of campus.[50] 3,800 students, including over half of all freshmen, live in UIC's 10 residence halls.[51] There are also thousands of apartments within walking distance to classes.

On the East Campus, Commons West and Commons South are traditional halls with double rooms opening into a common hallway; each floor shares a common bathroom. Courtyard and Commons North are cluster-style buildings with rooms grouped to share a small private bathroom. These four buildings are connected to the Student Center East which houses a cafeteria, the campus bookstore, a convenience store, bowling/billiards, a barber shop, and the Inner Circle (an assortment of fast food restaurants).

West Campus housing is composed of the Single Student Residence (SSR, apartments for graduate students), Polk Street Residence (cluster style rooms), and Student Residence Hall (a traditional dormitory).

South Campus is home to Marie Robinson Hall and Thomas Beckham Hall, both apartment style buildings. In the fall of 2007, James Stukel Towers opened containing suite style rooms with a bathroom and living room.

In keeping with UIC culture,[citation needed] students often referred to residence halls by abbreviations instead of their full names (e.g. "TBH" instead of "Thomas Beckham Hall").

The main purpose of the SSR is to house graduate students, undergraduate students of the ages 24 and older, and professional students. The third and fourth floors house undergraduate students of the ages of 21 through 23. The nursing house is located on the 16th floor. The fifth floor of the SSR has a pilot program for students with families. The program can house up to 15 families.[52]

Residents of the family program are zoned to Chicago Public Schools.[52] Families living in the SSR are assigned to Washington Irving Elementary School and Crane High School.[53][54]

Student recreation facility

UIC Student Recreation Facility Entrance
UIC Student Recreation Facility Atrium

The UIC Student Recreation Facility (SRF) is a recreational complex for UIC students. Opened in spring 2006, the SRF features a three-story climbing wall; multipurpose courts for games such as basketball, indoor soccer, tennis and many others; and a pool with adjoining lazy river. A few NBA players practiced and worked out at the facility in the summer of 2007 including Andre Iguodala, Antoine Walker, and Eddy Curry.

Other amenities include:

  • 18,000 sq ft (1,700 m2). exercise room with equipment
  • 1/8 mile, 3-lane jogging track
  • Three-lane lap and leisure pool including 50-person jacuzzi and a lazy river
  • Racquetball and convertible squash courts
  • Four court wood floor gymnasium
  • 11,000 sq ft (1,000 m2). Multi Activity Court
  • Group fitness suites, including Spin Suite, Mind/Body Suite, Large Multipurpose Suite and the MAC Suite
  • Human performance lab
  • 42 ft (13 m). rock climbing wall
  • Outdoor adventures office
  • Juice and coffee bar
  • Active and passive lounge areas
  • Daily and annual use lockers

Medical center

UIC is a major part of the Illinois Medical District (IMD). While IMD's billing itself "the nation's largest urban medical district" may be up for debate, the district is a major economic force contributing $3.3 billion to the local economy and supporting 50,000 jobs.[55]

Campus renovations

Grant Hall (renovated)

With the major $550 million South Campus expansion complete, the university is focusing its attention on renovating existing facilities on campus. The focus on renovations is in part due to a constrained state budget: state funds for new buildings are scarce. Since renovation is less costly, this approach is being used to update facilities.

These renovations began on a cluster of three original "pillbox" buildings: First Grant Hall, then Lincoln Hall and most recently Douglas Hall.[56] These renovations are 'green' as the renovated buildings use solar and geothermal power. Fifty wells were dug 500 feet into the ground east of University Hall. These provide an energy savings of 20–25%. Lincoln Hall has been US LEED Gold certified; Douglas Hall is also expected to apply for LEED Gold certification. Grant Hall did not apply for LEED certification even though it was the prototype for many of the features found on Lincoln and Douglas Halls.[57] [58] [59]

The new fascia are all glass and the buildings contain facilities for faculty and students. There are plans to expand the renovation project to every lecture hall cluster if the pilot program is successful.

Other campus renovations include the roof of the Behavioral Sciences Building and the terrace of the Education, Performing Arts, and Social Work building.[60]


The university's Office of Sustainability was founded in January 2008.[61] Current sustainability initiatives include lighting upgrades, building envelope improvements, metering upgrades, and landscape waste composting.[62] Recent work on Grant, Lincoln, and Douglas Halls included upgrading them to use geothermal heat pumps, which efficiently heat and cool the building. The university has approved a Climate Action Plan.[63]


UIC baseball plays at Les Miller Field

UIC's team name is the Flames, a reference to the Great Chicago Fire which started a few blocks east of campus. The mascot is Sparky D. Dragon.

UIC has generally focused on basketball[citation needed], soccer and baseball have also had successes.

In September 2006, the men's soccer team earned its highest ranking in school history when the College Coaches Poll pegged the Flames at #6 in the country. In November 2006, UIC defeated Western Illinois 3–0 in the opening round of the NCAA tournament before falling in the second round to Notre Dame 1–0. UIC finished the 2006 season as the nation's best defensive squad after allowing a mere eight goals in over 1993 minutes of play during 21 matches for a goals-against average (GAA) of 0.36. The GAA was tops in the nation in 2006 and it also ranked fifth all-time in NCAA history. UIC posted 13 shutouts and never allowed more than a single goal in a match. UIC also allowed just two goals after intermission the entire season. Along with the GAA mark, UIC posted the nation's best save percentage with a 0.908 rate.

In 2007, UIC soccer's successful season culminated in an Elite-Eight appearance in the NCAA tournament by way of wins over #12 St. Louis, Northwestern, and #8 Creighton. In a bid for a Final-Four appearance, UIC fell to Massachusetts 2–1. At season's end, UIC had a record of 13–6–6 and was named a top 10 team by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA).

UIC's baseball team has recorded 30 or more victories in 9 straight seasons, won the last 7 Horizon League Championships, and advanced to an NCAA regional in four of the past six years (2003, 2005, 2007, 2008). UIC baseball has recorded regional wins against #1 Long Beach State in 2007 and #2 Dallas Baptist University in 2008.

Student life

The university is located near the neighborhoods of Taylor Street, Greektown and Pilsen, with restaurants, and bars nearby. Downtown Chicago is a 10 minute walk or a short CTA ride away.

UIC organizations include:

  • Greek Life,
  • Intramural Sports,
  • Cultural Groups,
  • Student Government,
  • Mock Trial,
  • Model UN at UIC
  • Religious Groups (Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, et al.).

UIC's monthly/weekly events:

  • Friday Night Live

UIC's once-a-semester/year events:

  • Relay for Life,
  • Recess (Mini Carnival),
  • Organization Olympics,
  • UIC Fashion Show,
  • Black History Month,
  • Taste of UIC,
  • Cultural Fest.

Student media

  • Chicago Flame - An independent weekly newspaper
  • the Argus - An independent weekly newspaper and media site
  • UIC Radio - An internet based radio station
  • Red Shoes - A review literary magazine
  • UIC Today - A former daily newspaper
  • Housing Cable - TV closed-circuit cable station

Notable alumni

In popular culture

The UIC police station house shown on TV show Hill Street Blues.

Film and television series have used UIC for filming locations:

  • The 2006 movie Stranger than Fiction used classrooms and offices.
  • Swimfan was shot, partially, at the school's competition swimming pools
  • The movie Primal Fear featured UIC's baseball field, Les Miller Field.
  • The main character in My Big Fat Greek Wedding attends classes at UIC, and the film is set in Greektown, adjacent to East Campus. (However, the film was actually shot at Truman College in Chicago.)
  • In the horror film Candyman, the main character is a graduate student at the University of Illinois at Chicago. The opening credits include an aerial shot of the original Walter Netsch-designed East Campus, before the late 1990s renovations.
  • The movie Mahogany was filmed, in part, on the east campus of UIC.
  • Maxwell Street, in what is now the South Campus, was a filming location for both The Blues Brothers and Child's Play.
  • TV shows such as Early Edition and ER have used the UIC Medical Center for scenes. Ironically, although ER was set in Chicago and predominantly filmed at the Warner Bros. studios in Burbank, California, the courtyard within the UIC College of Medicine doubled for the University of Michigan in the episode "One for the Road".
  • The UIC police station [at the time, still a station of the Chicago Police rather than the university] was shown in the establishing shots for the award-winning TV show Hill Street Blues.


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External links

Coordinates: 41°52′19″N 87°38′57″W / 41.871889°N 87.649250°W / 41.871889; -87.649250

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