Courtyard Design

According to the following site, the courtyard was designed by Richardson, Severns, Scheeler & Associates, Inc, with “preliminary site sketches” being produced by Ambrose Richardson:

Below is an image of the courtyard ca. 1970 (Found in Box 98 in the University of Illinois Archives

ugl courtyard 1970 image


By June 1966, the class planners were deciding what to do with the class fund of $25,000, and the decision was made to dedicate the inner courtyard of the new Undergraduate Library in honor of President Edmund Janes James, who served during their tenure at the University and was instrumental in the development of the University’s library system.

Edmund James portrait
President Edmund Janes James — U of Illinois 1904-1920

Inscriptions around the Courtyard

In conjunction with University Historian Winton Solberg, they chose the following inscriptions, which adorn the upper perimeter of the courtyard:

“This court is dedicated by the class of 1916 to the memory of Edmund Janes James, president 1904-1920. Let this be a holy place for the human spirit consecrated to the forces which magnify the soul – James. The real object of university education is to furnish preparation for efficient social service- James. Books are alive to the man who knows how to use these sources of inspiration and power- James.”

inscriptions on the courtyard


Edmund Janes James. James was well-liked, well-respected, and very active in the university’s physical growth as well as it’s academic growth (particularly the library). All of the quotes are from James’ writings. A block at the north end of the courtyard displays the names of all the “Sixteeners” who made a donation to this James memorial fund. The courtyard is referred to as the “Edmund Janes James Memorial Courtyard.”

Courtyard 1996-2015

The central courtyard of the library is dedicated to Edmund Janes James, and the inscriptions around its top are a gift from the class of 1916.   Professor A. Doyle Moore designed the lettering on the perimeter.  The class of 1991 also  spent $40,000 re-landscaping the courtyard.

professor doyle moore portrait

Doyle Moore– Designed courtyard inscription and metal block with names of class of 1916

ugl courtyard block

Resting in the north center of the courtyard is a metal block that lists on all sides the names of the members of the class of 1916.

plaque in ugl courtyard


In 1996: A large maple tree was planted, in addition to other landscaping by the class of 1916 for their 50th anniversary.The large evergreen tree which stands in a concrete pot in isolation on the Undergraduate Library Mall was planted in 1996.

ugl courtyard

1991 courtyard renovation

landscaping in ugl courtyard
Yin-Yang Image in Courtyard

Events in the Courtyard

The UGL courtyard has been used for various events.  Below are some images of a Dance Troup, Bubble Blowing and some articles:

dance troup photo in ugl courtyard photo of dance troup courtyard photo of dances in UGL courtyard

Dance Troup images 2008

photo of courtyard bubbles Blowing bubbles in UGL coutyard photo

Bubbles in the Courtyard 2010 40th UGL Anniversary Celebration and Bobbi the book blowing bubbles

Removal of Tree in 2015

The large maple tree which stood in a concrete pot in isolation on the Undergraduate Library Mall was planted in 1996 and was removed in May  2015 due to an Emerald Ash Borer.  It had just been named “Treebeard” via a student naming competition.  It was replaced by an Autumn Brilliance Serviceberry. in 2015.

tree removal from the ugl courtyard



Class of 1916 Secretary’s Papers, 1965-1966, 1971 [Record series number: 26/40/1916 Box. 1]
The Illio (1916)
The Alumni Record – U of I (1918)
President Edmund J. James. Installation, October 1905. Program and Conference Materials
[Record series number: 2/5/17 Box. 1]
Vertical File: Edmund Janes James