With warm appreciation,. Interim Dean of the Graduate College. As the University reaches its 150th anniversary, we celebrate 125 years of excellence in the Graduate College. Founded in 1892, the Graduate College is the hub of graduate education on campus. More than 180,000 alumni have earned their master's and doctoral degrees from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Illinois is among the top five U.S. universities in the number of earned doctorates awarded annually.