University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Department of Military Science | University of Illinois Archives
Military training has been a part of the University of Illinois curriculum since 1868. In that year, the Illinois Industrial University was officially opened in compliance with a requirement of the Morrill Land Grant of 1862.1 By laws of Congress and the state, the University was required to teach Military Tactics to its students. All able-bodied male students of the first and second years were enrolled in the companies of the University Battalion, and received instruction from one to three hours each week.2 World War I severely affected the University ROTC program. By the end of the school year 1916-17 all the officers were ordered away. Only one officer, Major Edward W. McCaskey, U.S.A. retired, was assigned for 1917-18. The Student Training Corps, coming in the fall of 1918, was a further serious set back. This program converted the University into a military school for all practical purposes. It lasted for only four months and, in effect, replaced the ROTC. It left the ROTC in a position of much reduced effectiveness for this period.3 In 1961, the name was listed as Department of Military Science.4
1. A Brief History of the University of Illinois ROTC, 1918, p. 1.
2. Board of Trustees Transactions, 10th Report, 1881, p. 39.
3. A Brief History of the University of Illinois ROTC, 1918, p. 2.
4. University of Illinois Undergraduate Study Catalog, 1961, p. 93.