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Illinois Wesleyan University
Official logo
Motto Scientia et Sapientia
"Knowledge and Wisdom"
Established 1850
Type Private University
Endowment US $151.1 million[1]
President Richard F. Wilson
Faculty 161
Staff 600 (approximate)
Undergraduates 2,094
Location Bloomington, IL, USA
Campus Suburban
80 acre (324,000 m²)
Nickname Titans

Illinois Wesleyan University is an independent undergraduate university located in Bloomington, Illinois. Founded in 1850, the central portion of the present campus was acquired in 1854 with the first building erected in 1856. It comprises 17 academic departments offering 50 majors and 476 courses.

The University's mission is to foster the traditional liberal arts of creativity, character, and knowledge. Its motto - Scientia et Sapientia, or "Knowledge and Wisdom" - was coined by famed explorer and Wesleyan Professor John Wesley Powell.



IWU was founded in 1850 by 30 civic and Methodist Church leaders with the goal of establishing "an Institution of learning of Collegiate grade". The central portion of the present campus was acquired in 1854, with the first building constructed in the same year. The University taught solely preparatory classes from 1850 until 1919; college classes began in 1851. IWU is categorized by the Carnegie Commission as one of America's 162 liberal arts colleges.[citation needed]

John Wesley Powell (right)

John Wesley Powell joined Illinois Wesleyan's faculty in 1865. In 1867 Powell took Illinois Wesleyan students to the Rocky Mountains, the first expedition of its kind in American higher education. Illinois Wesleyan now hosts an annual undergraduate research conference named in Powell's honor, the John Wesley Powell Student Research Conference.

Illinois Wesleyan was founded as a Methodist institution, but has gradually shed its religious affiliation and is currently completely secular in instruction and graduation requirements. Nevertheless, while the University sets its own curricular guidelines, it still is accredited by the United Methodist Church and still holds ties to that organization through the Illinois Great Rivers Conference thereof.[citation needed] This can be witnessed by the fact that the bishop of that conference holds a permanent spot on the University's Board of Trustees.[citation needed]

TKE Founders

In 1899, five students founded a fraternity named "The Knights of Classic Lore". The Knights of Classic Lore would go on to become the first chapter of Tau Kappa Epsilon less than a decade later.[citation needed]

On May 15, 2009, the University announced the beginning of its "Transforming Lives" fundraising campaign. The campaign aims to raise $125,000,000 to create endowed faculty positions, increase the number of grants and scholarships to students, create an expanded Theater Arts Complex, a new Center for Instruction, and new student housing. [2]


Illinois Wesleyan is an independent, residential, liberal arts university with an enrollment of 2,137. It offers 50 majors and 476 courses. [3] The university maintains a low student/faculty ratio of 12 to 1, and the that while it offers 476 courses, only 9 of them have more than 40 students. [4] Also, 9 in 10 IWU students receive a scholarship or need-based assistance. [5]

Illinois Wesleyan is ranked in the top tier of liberal arts colleges by US News. [6] It is also ranked as one of the "best values" in the nation. [7] Illinois Wesleyan is also a member of the Annapolis Group.

The University consists of the College of Liberal Arts, with 17 academic departments; the College of Fine Arts, comprising of the professional School of Art, School of Music, and School of Theatre Arts. Illinois Wesleyan’s campus occupies more than 70 acres (280,000 m2) in the heart of Bloomington in central Illinois.

IWU's School of Nursing was established in 1959. Applicants apply directly to the School of Nursing and typically graduate in 4 years with a BSN. The course work emphasizes clinical placement[citation needed] and individualized education[citation needed] and experience.

Bachelor's degree programs are offered in three Colleges:[8]

  • College of Liberal Arts (17 departments and 7 interdisciplinary programs, organized in 1906)
  • College of Fine Arts (schools of art, music, and theater arts organized in 1929, 1946, 1947 respectively)
  • School of Nursing (established in 1959)

Ames Library

The rear of Ames Library

Wesleyan's Ames Library was completed in 2002. It contains over 360,000 volumes spread over five floors. The Ames Library also houses 8 sets of stained glass panels originally from Pembroke College at Oxford University. Among the special collections are the papers of former U.S. Congressman Leslie C. Arends; the Gernon collection of first editions of detective fiction and mysteries; and the Schultz collection of 18th and 19th Century British Drama, including The Beggar's Opera. Construction cost $25.7 million; Shepley Bulfinch Richardson and Abbot were the principle architects. [9]

May Term

Illinois Wesleyan offers a May Term course option. The University refers to it as a 4-4-1 system. This allows any student who has completed a full course-load in either the Spring or Fall Semesters of that academic year to enroll in a May Term class.

May Term classes last for approximately three weeks during the month of May. Students take several hours of instruction in the same course each day for five days each week. This allows the students to immerse themselves in that one topic. At the end of the May Term a student completes the equivalent of a single course during one semester.

May Term emphasizes curricular experimentation, and also offers an opportunity for service projects, study-abroad, and internships. [10]

Study abroad

Illinois Wesleyan offers a number of study abroad opportunities, and ranks in the top 40 schools in the nation for students studying abroad. [11] IWU's International Office provides support for over 300 Global Study Abroad Options in 70 countries. Domestically, IWU offers a UN semester, a Washington Semester, and the Chicago Center. Internationally it offers programs in London and Madrid.[citation needed] It also maintains a very strong relationship with Pembroke College, Oxford, and traditionally sends a number of students there to study abroad.[citation needed]


The University publishes 4 different undergraduate research journals in the fields of Political Science, Economics, History, and English. [12] The John Wesley Powell Student Research Conference was established in 1990 to provide opportunities for students to present research projects and findings in a public and interactive manner.[citation needed] The Action Research Center (ARC) was established in 2007 to partner student research and service projects with the wider Illinois community.[citation needed]


Shirk Center - IWU's Athletic Center

Illinois Wesleyan University participates in the NCAA's Division III and is a member of the College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin (CCIW). Since 1946, Wesleyan has won 101 CCIW Titles and 3 Division III National Championships since 1997. Wesleyan also ranks in the Top 10 nationally with 111 Academic All-Americans, tied with UCLA. [13]

The IWU men's basketball team won CCIW championships in the 2003, 2004 and 2005 seasons.[citation needed] Illinois Wesleyan won the Division III National Basketball Championship in 1997. In addition to the 1997 championship, the Illinois Wesleyan University basketball team has reached the Division III Final Four in 1996, 2001, and more recently 2006, losing in the semifinals to Virginia Wesleyan, then winning the 3rd place game against Amherst.

In 2009 the Women's Basketball Team won the CCIW Championships, made it to the Sectional Round of NCAA tournament play, and ended their season ranked 3rd in the Coaches poll. 2009 was the first time the Women's team had been ranked first by the ESPN/USA Today College Coaches Poll. The Titans were ranked first for 10 straight weeks. [14]

Other recent CCIW championship teams have included women's and men's golf and baseball and football in 2007.[citation needed] The Illinois Wesleyan Women's Track and Field Team won the CCIW indoor conference championship in 2008 and went on to be Division III Indoor National Champions for 2008.[citation needed] Head track and field coach, Chris Schumacher, was named the CCIW and National Coach of The Year for Division III Women's Indoor Track and Field in 2008.[citation needed]

Illinois Wesleyan University's Division III athletic teams, known as the "Titans," helped found the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin (CCIW). Illinois Wesleyan was a member of the Illinois Intercollegiate Athletic Conference from 1910-1937.

IWU defeated the University of Illinois 16-0 in the Illini’s first-ever football game. [15]

Shirk Center

Shirk Center

Shirk Center is the University's Athletic Complex. The two-story 135,000 square foot complex was constructed in 1994. It provides a multi-use facility for squash, tennis, basketball, and other indoor sports. It also houses Fort Natorium, the University's swimming center, as well as classrooms and a 200-meter track. [5]

Division III NCAA National Championships

  • Men's
    • Basketball - 1997
  • Women's
    • Indoor Track & Field - 2008
    • Outdoor Track & Field - 2008

Campus Life

The University and Student Senate regularly bring speakers and comedians to campus. There are regularly organized (and some rather spontaneous) social events both on and off-campus.[citation needed] Faculty colloquia regularly provide opportunities for intellectual discussion and encouragement.[citation needed] The campus itself is an arboretum, home to over 1,000 trees from 90 difference species. [16]

Residential living and community

While all Freshman are required to live on campus unless they are excused by the Office of Residential Life, the majority of students - 8 in 10 - elect to remain on campus their entire time at Wesleyan. [17] All halls are co-ed, all dorm rooms have cable television, internet, and phone, and the vast majority of dorm rooms are two-person units. Dodds Hall offers eight-person suites and Harriett Fuller Rust House offers four-person and six-person suites as well as two eight-person two-story townhouse style suites.[citation needed]

Campus activities and organizations

There are 165 student organizations at Wesleyan, ranging from the rock-climbing club, the Anime club, to Pi Kappa Lambda (the music honors society). [18] A little over a third of the students choose to go Greek. The 6 social fraternities on campus are Sigma Chi, Theta Chi, Tau Kappa Epsilon (TKE), Phi Gamma Delta (Fiji), Acacia, and Sigma Pi. The 4 social sororities on campus are Alpha Gamma Delta, Kappa Delta, Sigma Kappa, and Kappa Kappa Gamma.

Lectures and speakers

Illinois Wesleyan co-hosts the annual Stevenson Lecture Series, initiated in 1965 as a memorial to former Governor and IWU Alumnus Adlai Stevenson. IWU co-hosts the Lecture Series with Illinois State University.

Wesleyan was also privileged to have Martin Luther King, Jr. speak at the University twice, in 1961 and 1966. [19] In 1966 he came to the University while he as trying to organize in Chicago. There, he said,

And I still have faith in America because I love America and I believe that we will continue to build a coalition of conscience that one day will solve this problem.  We sing a little song in our movement and it has been our guiding faith.  Sometimes we’ve been facing hooded perpetrators of violence; sometimes we face jeering mobs.  Sometimes we face dogs and the gushing waters from fire hoses.  Sometimes in crowded jail cells we join hands to sing it.  And sometimes in just open mass meetings.  But we could sing it as a hymn of faith.  We shall overcome, we shall overcome, deep in my heart I do believe we shall overcome. [20]


Wesleyan has its own radio station, WESN 88.1 FM. Its slogan is "Radio to the Far Left." It plays a mix of Indie, Rock, Classic, Electronic, and Folk music. [21] Wesleyan also has its own Television station: Titan TV. Titan TV broadcasts exclusively to IWU's dorms. It broadcasts a collection of movies and campus announcements.


Officers of the Board of Trustees

  • George A. Vinyard (President)[22]
  • Gilbert L. Dorsey (First Vice President)
  • Herbert A. Getz (Second Vice President)
  • Susan D. Waring (Secretary)
  • Robert E. Field II (Treasurer)
  • Richard F. Wilson (President of University)

List of Presidents of the University

  • Clinton W. Pears (1855-1857)
  • Oliver Spencer Munsell (1857-1873)
  • Samuel J. Fallows (1873-1875)
  • William H. H. Adams (1875-1888)
  • William H. Wilder (1888-1898)
  • Edgar M. Smith (1898-1905)
  • Francis G. Barnes (1905-1908)
  • Theodore Kemp (1908-1922)
  • William J. Davidson (1922-1932)
  • Harry W. McPherson (1932-1937)
  • Wiley G. Brooks (1937-1939)
  • William E. Shaw (1939-1947)
  • Merrill J. Holmes (1947-1958)
  • Lloyd M. Bertholf (1958-1968)
  • Robert S. Eckley (1968-1986)
  • Wayne Anderson (1986-1988)
  • Minor Myers, Jr. (1989-2003)
  • Richard F. Wilson (2004-)

Notable alumni


IWU's new Welcome Center, the Minor Myers, Jr. Welcome Center, includes a geothermal heating/cooling system.[23] It has been awarded Silver Certification as a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) building. [24]

The university's "Think Green" behavioral change campaign encourages community members to conserve resources [25], and its spring 2008 global warming teach-in had 700 attendees.[25].

Illinois Wesleyan has recently improved from a D- to a D+ on the College Sustainability Report Card. [26]


  1. ^ As of June 30, 2009. "U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2009 Endowment Market Value and Percentage Change in Endowment Market Value from FY 2008 to FY 2009" (PDF). 2009 NACUBO-Commonfund Study of Endowments. National Association of College and University Business Officers. Retrieved March 9, 2010. 
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ at page 28
  5. ^ a b
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ Illinois Wesleyan University website, "Degrees and Majors", accessed 12/06/2007.
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^ at page 12
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^ Page 14
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^ [1] at Illinois Wesleyan University, courtesy of WJBC, 1966.
  21. ^
  22. ^ Illinois Wesleyan University website, "Board of Trustees", accessed 12/06/2007.
  23. ^ "Illinois Wesleyan is All About Being Green". Illinois Institute of Technology. Retrieved 2009-06-08. 
  24. ^
  25. ^ a b [ "IWU Efforts to Conserve Resources"]. Illinois Institute of Technology. Retrieved 2009-06-08. 
  26. ^ "Illinois Wesleyan Green Report Card 2010". Sustainable Endowments Institute. Retrieved 2010-03-08. 

External links


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