Intercollegiate Football at the
University of Illinois at Chicago

An Online Exhibit

PART II: Navy Pier and Circle Campus, 1950-1973


The entrance to the University of Illinois Chicago Undergraduate Division, located at Navy Pier

The undergraduate program at what is now the University of Illinois at Chicago was much different in the 1940s than the one that exists at today. Anticipating that many people returning from military duty after the Second World War would want to attend college, the University of Illinois created a two year program known as the Chicago Undergraduate Division at the recently decommissioned naval training center located at Navy Pier. Although not intended to be a permanent campus, the program remained at Navy Pier for almost two decades before becoming a four year program at its current location in Chicago's Near West Side.

School spirit along with an interest in athletics picked up almost immediately after the campus opened in 1946. By the spring semester of 1948 "The Pier" had established varsity teams in basketball, track, swimming, cross country, wrestling, gymnastics, tennis, and baseball. With these teams going strong, many people debated if the campus should have a football team as well.

 

 

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