Illini 411: Why’s there a cow buried on campus?

Question courtesy of Kyle McCafferty, ’09 LAS, ’12 IS

Photo illustration of a cow, milk jugs, wooden buckets and round barns. Nellie (Photo-illustratrion by Dana Smith)
Question courtesy of Kyle McCafferty, ’09 LAS, ’12 IS

A: Because she was the greatest cow of all time. Illini Nellie (1927–1940), a Brown Swiss, became legen-dairy in the 1930s, setting records for milk and milk fat production 12 years in a row. She produced so much milk that 23.5 families could have consumed a quart of it every day for 10.5 years! Nellie joined University regent John Milton Gregory—whose final resting place is near a shaded path between the Henry Administration Building and Altgeld Hall—as the only Illini to be officially buried on campus. Her grave, complete with a biographical marker, is at the University’s Lincoln Avenue Dairy, where she spent her life.

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