On This Day: March 11, 1868

original campus building (Photo courtesy of the University of Illinois Alumni Association)

On March 11, 1868, Illinois Industrial University (later renamed the University of the Illinois) hosted its inaugural ceremonies on the fourth floor of the original University building, nicknamed “the Elephant”—in Urbana, shown here with the student body and faculty. The event took place nine days after the University first opened its doors on March 2, and featured Regent John Milton Gregory’s inaugural address, a choir performance, prayers by local clergy and a dinner “gotten up in the highest style of Central Illinois, hog and hominy,” according to the Chicago Evening Post.