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John Milton Gregory
was elected Superintendent of Public Instruction in Michigan in 1858, after several years spent as editor of the Michigan Journal of Education. After leaving office in 1864 he became the second president of Kalamazoo College
Kalamazoo College, also known as K College or simply K, is a private liberal arts college in Kalamazoo, Michigan, United States. Founded in 1833, the college is among the 100 oldest in the country. Today, it produces more Peace Corps volunteers per capita than any other U.S...
from 1864 until 1867. Following this, he served as the first president of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
The University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign is a large public research-intensive university in the state of Illinois, United States. It is the flagship campus of the University of Illinois system...
, from the university's founding in 1867 until his resignation in 1880. While Gregory credited Jonathan Baldwin Turner
Jonathan Baldwin Turner Born in Templeton, Massachusetts, Turner was a classical scholar, botanist, dedicated Christian, and political activist. He was perhaps the leading voice in the social movement of the 1850's that produced the land grant universities that pioneered public higher education in...
as the central figure in the university's establishment, Gregory, during his tenure as University of Illinois's first president, helped determine the direction of the university by advocating the presence of a classically-based liberal arts curriculum in addition to the industrial and agricultural curriculum desired by the Illinois Industrial League and many state residents and lawmakers of the time.
Gregory is buried near the Main Quadrangle
The Main Quadrangle at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign comprises the main campus of the university. It is a major quadrangle surrounded by buildings of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and is the center of campus activities....
on the UIUC campus.