Associate Head welcomes first-year and transfer students

6/7/2021 10:00:00 AM

Professor John Popovics, CEE at Illinois Associate Head and Director of Undergraduate Studies, recently sent the following letter to the newest CEE class, welcoming them to the department and sharing information about their fellow first-year students:

Dear incoming first-year and undergraduate transfer students,

On behalf of the entire faculty of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) at the University of Illinois, I am excited to be the first to welcome you to CEE at Illinois! Our department has led the world in CEE education and research since 1867, when the University of Illinois was founded. Our alumni and faculty built the world’s infrastructure and continue to transform society with sustainable solutions to our greatest challenges.

As an incoming student, you are now part of that long, historic tradition of excellence. Someday, with your education from CEE at Illinois, you will shape the future.

Your class is large, diverse and academically strong. You hail from all over Illinois and around the world. Some facts about you:

  • There are 177 of you who will begin your studies in August 2021.
  • 66 percent of you are from the state of Illinois, 20 percent are from other parts of the United States, and 14 percent of you are international students.
  • 31 percent of you are women.
  • 18 percent of you identify as Hispanic.

Because you chose CEE at Illinois, during your first year you will experience a number of unique opportunities including:

  • Being immersed in the world of engineering starting in your first semester on campus through the first-year experience class (ENG 100), which gives you a broad understanding of the work of engineers, and CEE’s project-based learning class (CEE190), which introduces you to civil and environmental engineering through practical, engaging, real-world projects.
  • Taking classes in two brand-new, state-of-the-art teaching facilities -- the new CEE building and the Campus Instructional Facility, both opening in 2021.
  • Being on campus for the exciting debut of our Smart Bridge, which is both a functional pedestrian bridge connecting our CEE buildings and a teaching tool unique among CEE programs – fully instrumented to demonstrate the latest innovations in infrastructure sensing.
  • Having the opportunity to participate in research with our world-class faculty.

Furthermore, you will enjoy a traditional in-person, on-campus experience, knowing that the University of Illinois is a national leader in COVID testing and mitigation efforts.

So enjoy your summer and get ready for the start of a life-changing experience – the beginning of your lifelong identity as an Illini engineer. Welcome to the family! We can’t wait to meet you, and we can’t wait to see what you do with your one-of-a-kind Illinois engineering experience.

With best regards,

John S. Popovics, Ph.D., P.E.
Professor and Associate Head and Director of Undergraduate Studies
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Incoming first-year and undergraduate transfer students:


first-year and undergraduate transfer students in Fall 2021


are from Illinois; 20% are out-of-state; 14% are international


are women


identify as Hispanic


median ACT score
(ACT test was optional this year)


median SAT score
(SAT test was optional this year)


first students to take classes in CEE's brand new building 


Joining the leading program in CEE education, since 1867