Nathan Ricker was the first person in the nation to receive a degree in architecture. He might have achieved that distinction even sooner but for the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. A cadet in the Illinois National Guard, Ricker helped restore order after the disaster. He then briefly worked as part of the world-famous architecture movement that rose from Chicago's ashes. After completing his studies, Ricker was offered a position teaching and leading architecture studies at Illinois. Renowned for his innovative use of modern technology and building materials, Ricker also served as the university's architect, designing Harker Hall, the University Library, the Natural History Building, and other structures. In 1888, he created the Ricker logo, which endures as the symbol of the University of Illinois Alumni Alliance. In addition to his 37 years as head of the architecture program, he served as dean of the College of Engineering from 1878 to 1905.