Public university operated by a Board of Trustees elected by the people of Illinois. Has campuses in Chicago, Urbana-Champaign and Springfield. Also has a highly-developed program for delivering courses via the internet...several degree programs are offered entirely on an internet-participation basis!

The Urbana-Champaign campus is the flagship of the university, a typical example of the massive public land-grant residential campuses the midwest is famous for. University employment dominates both towns' economies, although other industries exist. The campus is 130 miles distant from Chicago, yet the vast majority of students hail from the Chicago metropolitan area (reflecting the general distribution of population in the state). Famous for its athletics, the campus teams are called the Fighting Illini.

The Chicago campus is a synthesis of two formerly distinct units: the UI Medical Center and the UI Circle Campus. The campus has a notable NCAA basketball team, known as the Flames (a reference to the Chicago Fire which started just two blocks from the campus).

The Springfield campus was formed when Sangamon State University was assimilated in the 1990s. Liberal arts subjects are taught.

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