The Big Ten Academic Alliance was established by the presidents of the Big Ten Conference members in 1958 as the athletic league's academic counterpart. Initially known as the Committee on Institutional Cooperation, the consortium's name was changed to the Big Ten Academic Alliance in 2016 to better reflect the composition of the member institutions.
In 1958, a membership invitation was extended to the University of Chicago, one of the founding members of the Big Ten who withdrew from the conference in 1946, and was accepted. The Big Ten Academic Alliance invited the Pennsylvania State University to join the consortium following its admittance to the Big Ten in 1990. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln joined the Big Ten in 2011, and the Big Ten Academic Alliance extended an invitation that culminated in UN-L's admittance to the consortium on July 1, 2011. The University of Maryland and Rutgers University were welcomed to membership July 1, 2013, in advent of the schools' admittance to the Big Ten in 2014.
The history of Big Ten Academic Alliance (known then as the CIC) was written by founder Herman B Wells, Indiana University president from 1938 to 1962, and published in the Fall 1967 issue of EDUCATIONAL RECORD, a publication of the American Council on Education, Washington, D.C.
For more on the consortium, the Big Ten Academic Alliance's 4-minute video has an overview of programs, initiatives, and impact of this historic collaborative.