Illinois State University’s campus is in the twin-city community of Bloomington-Normal near the geographic center of the state, 137 miles southwest of Chicago and 164 miles northeast of St. Louis. Interstates 74, 55, and 39; U.S. Route 150; and Illinois Route 9 intersect in Bloomington-Normal, creating a transportation hub. An Amtrak passenger station is just two blocks from the University.
The following quick facts for fall 2016 are provided by the Office of Planning, Research, and Policy Analysis.
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Gov. William Bissell signed a bill on February 18, 1857, to create a normal school and establish the Board of Education of the State of Illinois as its governing body. The bill stipulated that the permanent location would be the place that offered the most favorable inducements. Jesse W. Fell took up the campaign for Bloomington and obtained financial backing totaling $141,000. Abraham Lincoln, acting as attorney for the board, drew up the bond guaranteeing that Bloomington citizens would fulfill their financial commitments. Consequently, Illinois State Normal University was founded as the first public institution of higher education in the state. Established as a teacher education institution, Illinois State has developed into a multipurpose university with degree programs at the bachelor's, master's, and doctoral levels.
The University is one of 12 public universities in Illinois. Its academic departments offer more than 160 major/minor options in the Colleges of Applied Science and Technology, Arts and Sciences, Business, Education, Fine Arts, and Mennonite College of Nursing. The Graduate School coordinates 41 master's, specialist, and doctoral programs. The University's academic programs are supported by the services and collections of Milner Library, which contains more than three million holdings and special collections.
Illinois State is accredited by the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education of the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools. The teacher preparation programs are accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education and are certified by the Illinois State Board of Education. In addition, 22 programs hold discipline-based accreditation.
The University enrolls students from throughout Illinois, 40 other states, the District of Columbia, and 61 other countries. Students are mentored by a faculty that includes numerous teacher-scholars recognized at national and international levels, and all are dedicated to superior teaching.
Conveniently located in Central Illinois, the University is situated at the intersection of three major interstate highways, as well as along the Chicago-St. Louis railroad corridor. Because of its easy access in a region of strong economic growth and its multidimensional profile, Illinois State is able to respond to the varied needs and interests of its constituents and to contribute to the development of its students as responsible citizens.
Illinois State University History Collection at Milner Library - Illinois State University History is a growing collection that currently includes campus history books, proceedings of the first university governing board, and nearly 400 photographs.
The Old Main Project - The Old Main Project is dedicated to telling the history of Illinois State's first building through the analysis of excavated remains, oral histories, and historical documents.