President George Dinsmore Stoddard came to the University as president in 1946, leaving his position as Commissioner of Education for the Department of Education in New York. Prior to coming to Illinois, Stoddard was a faculty member of psychology and education at the University of Iowa, dean of the graduate school and director of the Iowa Child Welfare Research Station.
World War II had ended and veterans were returning home in large numbers, creating an explosion in student enrollment. In 1947 Illinois had 12,000 freshman veterans, of whom 3,000 were married and 1,200 had children. Stoddard addressed the situation by doubling the faculty with a 24 percent average increase in salaries, opening the Chicago Undergraduate Division at Galesburg and Navy Pier, and organizing the Small Homes Council (now the Building Research Council) to research ways that the university could help meet the demands in the national housing shortage for returning soldiers. Hundreds of small prefabricated houses for faculty and married veteran students were quickly built to meet demand.
The University also saw more growth during these years. The Speech Clinic, the Institute of Government and Public Affairs, the Business Management Service and the Institute of Communications were formed. Robert Allerton donated an estate of 1,600 landscaped acres and 4,000 acres of farmland in Monticello, Illinois. The University Library's collection expanded to 2.5 million books, making it the largest in Illinois and the third largest university library in the country. The first Festival of Contemporary Arts was held at the University in 1948 with exhibitions, lectures, gallery talks, concerts, and conferences on art.
In July 1953 the majority of the Board of Trustees voted "no confidence" for Stoddard and the provost so both were forced to resign. The core issue for the vote was the controversy surrounding Krebiozen, a cancer drug developed by Dr. Stevan Durovic. Stoddard had banned further research on the drug after he received a report from the American Medical Association stating that it was useless and read unfavorable articles on Krebiozen published by eminent medical experts. Years later, the California Cancer Commission investigated Krebiozen and concluded that it was nothing more than mineral oil.