The distinguished historian Winton U. Solberg presents a detailed case study of one institution's transformation into a modern American university.
The years 1894 to 1904 mark the stormy tenure of Andrew S. Draper as president of the University of Illinois. Draper, a successful superintendent of schools with no college or university experience and no credentials as a post-secondary administrator, presided over many crucial improvements in the university's physical plant, curricula, and other areas. However, he failed to infuse the university with a spirit of cohesion, and his term as president was fraught with conflict.
From his inauguration on, the autocratic Draper collided with deans and faculty who opposed both the substance of his changes and the manner in which he presented and implemented them.
This volume closely examines the Draper years from the perspectives of faculty, students, and administrators. Solberg outlines the administrative, faculty, staff, and physical infrastructure. He also reveals a vibrant and varied student life, including a whirl of social activities, literary societies, intercollegiate debate and athletics, hazing, religion, and increasingly prominent fraternities.
A sharply delineated and detailed picture of a university in transition, The University of Illinois, 1894-1904 traces the school's shift from an institution known primarily as a training ground for engineers to a full-fledged university poised to compete on the national level.