The Division of Rehabilitation-Education Services (DRES) records have been made available due to the generous support of B. Joseph White and the President’s office. DRES records were processed and selectively digitized for online exhibition in 2008-2009.
The Gizz Kids program was created in 1948 by Timothy Nugent and was run by the service fraternity Delta Sigma Omicron as a program of sports available to student-athletes with disabilities. The intention of the program mirrors that of DRES: to offer students with disabilities the ability to fully experience college and all of its many opportunities, athletics included. The Gizz Kids program grew to include a number of sports, including football, basketball, baseball, track and field, fencing, archery, cheerleading, and square dancing for students in wheelchairs. The program also included bowling for the blind and adaptive swimming.
The Gizz Kids program was an important one for both students in the Rehabilitation-Education program and the general public. The fierce competition that one expects in college athletics was retained in each of the adapted Gizz Kids sports; the program became an important tool in educating the public. The program showed the general public the strength, skill, and abilities of athletes with disabilities and motivated other students and younger people with disabilities. To mirror traditional basketball, the wheelchair basketball organization followed NCAA regulations exactly, excepting three modifications . Continue reading “The Gizz Kids: Athletics for Students with Disabilities”→
This month commemorates the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), which ensures and protects the civil rights of people with physical and mental disabilities. In honor of this important legislation, we are celebrating the work of Illinois’s Disabilities Rehabilition-Education Services (DRES). The records that the U of I Archives holds on DRES and its work was processed and selectively digitized in 2008-2009, thanks to funding from the University of Illinois President’s office and support from B. Joseph White.
DRES, a groundbreaking institution that provides resources, therapies, and advocacy for students with disabilities, was founded by Timothy Nugent, an internationally recognized professor, lecturer, and advocate for disability resources and scholarship.
DRES transformed the community of Champaign-Urbana; the accommodations made and supported by DRES allowed students with disabilities to participate as full members of the University—in classes, student groups, and athletics—benefiting both the whole student body and the University. 
The journey to bring DRES to campus began in 1947, as many veterans with disabilities were returning from World War II. A deputy commander of the American Legion wrote to U of I President George Stoddard. DRES was founded at the University of Illinois Galesburg campus, which opened to support the influx of veterans coming to campus under the GI Bill. Previously a hospital, the facilities at Galesburg were suited to DRES’s needs. At the Galesburg campus, students’ therapies included bowling, swimming, and basketball.  Continue reading “The Founding of Disability Resources at the U of I”→
July 16 marks the 80th anniversary of first installation of the parking meter (1935), brought to us by news reporter and inventor Carl C. Magee of Oklahoma City. (1) (Thanks Carl.)
As someone who has paid many campus parking tickets over the years, I will not be marking the occasion; I’m sure I am not alone. Illinois students and staff are all too familiar with the appearance of that annoying white ticket wedged in their windshield wiper.
Before parking meters made their debut in Champaign-Urbana in the 1940s, (2) Illinois students negotiated other automotive-related restrictions. In September 1926, UI Council on Administration, the campus decision-making body, instituted a regulation prohibiting undergraduate students to use cars on campus without permission.(3)
William O’Dell ’31 vividly recounts his encounter with this rule in a 2001 interview for the SLC Archives:
“Oh I remember the [rule] that made me a 1931 graduate instead of a 1930 graduate. When I got kicked out of school!
There was a “no car” rule at the University at that time and undergraduates could not drive cars unless they were employed. I got my parents’ permission to take the family car from LaGrange down to Champaign for a big Spring dance weekend…this made travel with my girlfriend from one fraternity to another easier and to go to many different fraternity parties during on weekend.
I was driving down Green Street with three or four people, in route to Chicago or LaGrange, to return my car and then take the train back to Champaign on Monday. There was a note in my mailbox from Dean [of Men] Thomas Arkle Clark asking me to come into his office at 11:30 the next morning. This would strike terror into anyone’s heart!
Since its inception, the U of I has been home to many illustrious awards and award-winners. One of the more unique titles, though, was awarded to an Illinois student one hundred years ago.
In April 1914, the Chicago Sunday Tribune named ten girls “The Most Popular Girls in College.” The
girls selected represented schools from across the country, from Stanford University in California to Wellesley College in Massachusetts. According to the Tribune, the defining characteristic of all of the young women selected was “a gracious democracy.” They wrote, “[E]ach and all of the girls chosen possessed above everything else the genius for democracy. It was their certain loadstone of attraction.” The women were selected after correspondents from the paper sent photographs and a description of each girl, detailing “the traits which accounted for her being the universal choice of her school” .
“Through the shady Arboretum,/ By the Balm of Gilead tree,/ gently flows the Bone-yard/On its journey to the sea./ In the summer, little violets/ ‘Midst the greenest mosses bloom,/ And their sweetest fragrance mingles/ With the Bone-yard’s own perfume.“
While there are many aspects of life as a U of I student that have remained the same throughout the years, one of the things that has changed is the symbolism and importance of Boneyard Creek. Fraternity battles! Student antics! Accidental explosions! Boneyard Creek has been home to it all.
For students of the past, Boneyard Creek was one of the most recognizable aspects of life in Champaign-Urbana. In fact, almost every Illio yearbook through the early 1920s featured some mention of the Boneyard. A student on campus in 1907 described the creek as “the most famous place here.”  Continue reading “Campus Memories: Boneyard Creek”→