Student Life at Illinois: 1910-1919


Push Ball marshals of Homecoming, circa 1910
Push Ball marshals of Homecoming, circa 1910


  • Intermission period between classes changed from five to ten minutes.
  • Cosmopolitan Club house damaged by fire.
  • Argos Club became chapter of Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity.
  • Aztec Club re-organized as Psi Upsilon fraternity.
  • Baseball team took Western Conference championship, having won all of its fourteen intercollegiate games.
  • Mary E. Fawcett appointed Acting Dean of Women.
  • Class of 1910 donated terra cotta container–known as Celebration Urn–which was installed on Illinois Field
  • First Homecoming on UI campus occurred. Illinois football team defeated Chicago by a score of 3-0.


  • The University of Illinois Alumni Association of India became the first overseas Illini club.
  • Control of Daily Illini invested in a board of six trustees–three faculty members and three undergraduates.
  • President William Howard Taft visited the University.
  • Publication of Facts for Freshmen authorized.
  • First Siren published.


  • Champaign voted to go alcohol-free.
  • Ex-President Theodore Roosevelt visited Champaign.
  • Council of Administration ruled that students may not join fraternities until they have completed eleven hours of study.
  • First annual mass meeting for women held.
  • Pan-Hellenic Council voted against hazing.
  • Colleges of Literature and Arts and of Science combined.

    Siren, June 1913
    Siren, June 1913

  • Student votes defeated petition to open theaters on Sundays.
  • Chapter of Jewish fraternity Zeta Beta Tau established.
  • Robert Zuppke appointed football coach.
  • Transportation Building completed.
  • Class of 1912 donated “Eternal Flame” bench.


  • First issue of Fortnightly Notes, supplement to the Alumni Quarterly, published.
  • Lincoln Hall dedicated.
  • Kappa Alpha Nu, first African-American fraternity on campus, was organized. Group’s name was later changed to Kappa Alpha Psi.
  • Ex-President Draper died.
  • Phi Beta sorority became Gamma Phi Beta.
  • Trustees approved system of freshmen advisers.
  • All classes adopted class hats.
  • Sack rush replaced pushball contest.
  • East wing of Commerce (now Administration) Building completed.
  • Council of Administration banned popular dances from University functions.
  • Lincoln Hall gateway was gift of Class of 1913.
Sack Rush, 1914
Sack Rush, 1914


  • All athletic and social events called off because of scarlet fever.
  • First African-American sorority–Alpha Kappa Alpha–on campus was organized.
  • Chapter of Alpha Rho Chi established.
  • First annual freshmen cap burning held on Illinois Field.
  • First campus sing held.
  • Martha Kyle appointed Acting Dean of Women.
  • University boasted largest fall enrollment up to that point: 3,906.
  • Fifteen thousand people attended Armory dedication.
  • President James’s wife died.
  • Kappa Alpha Theta house damaged by fire.
  • Stock Pavilion completed.
  • Football team shared national championship title with Army.


  • Lambda Chi Alpha established.
  • Louise Freer appointed director of physical training for women.
  • Council of Administration declared end to class scrap.
  • Armory completed.
  • West wing of Commerce (now Administration) Building completed.


  • Fire destroyed the Co-op Bookstore. The new building constructed in its place will ultimately house Follett’s bookstore.
  • Long-time professor and former acting regent Thomas Burrill died.
  • Fanny Cook Gates appointed Dean of Women.
  • Movie “Pro Patria” filmed on campus.
  • Lorado Taft, ’79, and Roland Conklin, ’91, announced gift of bronze Alma Mater statue.
Engineering Corps Cadets Exercises, 1917
World War I in Champaign County


  • William B. McKinley gave $100,000 for construction of University hospital.
  • On April 21st, 136 students withdrew for military and farm work. This figure grew to 1,000 by May 5th.
  • Military instruction began
  • YMCA and new Women’s Residence Hall used as barracks.
  • Daily Illini launched “smokes and chocolates” fund for Illini overseas.
  • Fall enrollment was twenty percent below previous year’s number.
  • Panhellenic Council abolished dances for the year.


  • University service flag raised with 2,960 stars–one for each Illini in the service.
  • Daily Illini published semi-centennial edition.
  • Gamma Epsilon Pi established.
  • Dean of Women Fanny Gates resigned. She was succeeded by Ruby Mason.
  • Some 3,000 students enrolled in Student Army Training Corps (SATC).
  • Woman’s Residence Hall (Busey Hall) completed. (This was the first residence hall built by the University.)
  • Phi Delta Psi became national ‘Mortarboard.’
  • Matrix re-organized as Theta Sigma Chi.
  • Chapter of Jewish sorority Delta Alpha Omega installed.
  • Homecoming canceled because of war.
  • Influenza pandemic struck campus. About 300 students were afflicted, with roughly ten deaths.
  • Classes canceled in celebration of end of World War I.
Women's Residence Hall postcard, circa 1930
Women’s Residence Hall postcard, circa 1930


  • Alumni Association released University of Illinois in Action, a film showing University life.
  • David Kinley appointed acting president.
  • Women’s Residence Hall opened to students.
  • Victory Homecoming attracted large crowds, including many Illini veterans.
  • Wartime restrictions on student dances abolished.
  • Chapter of Jewish fraternity Phi Epsilon Pi installed.
  • The University closed early for the winter holidays because of a coal shortage.
  • Football team shared national championship title with Harvard and Notre Dame.

Return to 1900-1919 | Continue to 1920-1929