Circle campus opened with no evening classes and no dormitories. Many of the students came from working-class backgrounds and worked their way through college.   While these were barriers to establishing a campus life, student groups began to take root and flourish.

Groups formed both formally and informally on the Circle campus.  Some of these groups included the Student Congress, which helped organize the transition of students from Navy Pier to Circle through their Project Trans-Corps, became the Undergraduate Student Government; Royal Order of Petunias, a social group that transitioned from Navy Pier; and The Excedra Sitters, who later became the Patricians and eventually formally formed Pi Alpha Tau, a coed social fraternity, using the first three letters of their previous name.

William W. Johnson, senior class president for the Class of 1966, organized the graduation photo of 120 seniors the week before graduation and lined up the Chicago Sun-Times to take the photograph and run the story.  This first graduating class had to struggle for recognition.  It seems there was a desire to hold the first commencement on the University’s 100th anniversary, in 1967.  That first ceremony held June 19, 1966, in the Chicago Circle Center’s (now, Student Center East) Illinois Room was called a convocation.  Looking back through time, however, it doesn’t matter what the event was called as this was the first graduation at UICC.

For more, see these UIC ARCHIVES collections:

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