University Park is a village south of Chicago mostly in Will County with a small portion in Cook County in the U.S. state of Illinois. It is the only predominantly African-American community in Will County. The village, one of the region's few planned communities, was developed in the 1960s as Wood Hill, then Park Forest South, and finally University Park. Governors State University was established in the village in 1969. The village population was 7,129 at the 2010 census.
In the late 1950s, Woodhill Enterprises purchased land south of Park Forest for a large subdivision. Building began in 1961, but by 1967 Wood Hill had only 240 homes. Residents created a homeowners association, which fostered a community identity.
In 1966, Nathan Manilow, one of the developers of Park Forest, started to purchase land around Wood Hill. Park Forest had been a model for planning in the 1940s, and Lewis Manilow, son of Nathan, formed New Community Enterprises (NCE) to build "a whole new town". Major partners included Illinois Central Industries and United States Gypsum Company.
NCE supported the incorporation of Park Forest South in 1967 with projections for 100,000 residents. Under the federal New Communities Act of 1968, Park Forest South was designated as one of 15 such "new communities".