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Selected Resources found in the UIC University Archives on the University of Illinois at Chicago Circle site selection process and initial construction: Home

About the University Archives

The University Archives is the official depository for records with permanent historical value from the University of Illinois at Chicago and includes over 5000 linear feet of material from the establishment of the Chicago College of Pharmacy in 1859 to the present day. In addition to the records of the colleges, departments, and campus units at UIC, the University Archives also includes selected professional and personal manuscripts of faculty, staff, students, and alumni that may be given to the University for preservation and use.


For over thirty years, Chicago had two independent campuses for the University of Illinois - the University of Illinois at Chicago Circle and the University of Illinois at the Medical Center. (For resources on the general history of UIC and its predecessors, see the online research guide History of UIC.) The University of Illinois at the Medical Center had roots in Chicago's Illinois Medical District going back to the nineteenth century, although only in the fields of medicine and related health sciences. A second University of Illinois campus in Chicago was opened in 1946 when university officials anticipated a large influx of veterans taking advantage of the GI Bill to attend college after the Second World War. This campus, officially known as the Chicago Undergraduate Division, was a two-year program located at Navy Pier. Demand for the program soon outstripped the facilities available at the Pier and a search began for a permanent four-year traditional public university in the Chicago area.

In 1963, after many long years of debate, groundbreaking began for a new four-year campus by the intersection of Halsted and Harrison Streets. Due to its close proximity to the Circle Interchange, the campus was called University of Illinois at Chicago Circle (UICC). UICC opened to the public in 1965 and operated as a separate campus with its own Chancellor for seventeen years. In 1982, “Circle Campus” merged with the University of Illinois at the Medical Center to form the University of Illinois at Chicago that exists today.

The decision to locate "Circle Campus" at Harrison and Halsted was controversial long after the construction was completed. This is a guide to some of the resources available in the UIC University Archives concerning the decision to locate the campus at the Harrison-Halsted site, the construction of the campus, and UICC's early impact on the surrounding community.

The resources listed in this research guide were compiled by Douglas A. Bicknese, (Former) University Archivist, University of Illinois at Chicago, and were last updated 17 November 2005 by Douglas A. Bicknese.

Special Collections and University Archives

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