Illinois Wesleyan University is an independent undergraduate liberal arts college 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.
Illinois Wesleyan University was founded in 1850 by a diverse group of 30 civic and religious leaders who came together to establish "an Institution of learning of Collegiate grade." When a sponsor was needed, the founders gained support from the United Methodist Church, which is how "Wesleyan" was added to the original name, "Illinois University." While maintaining its Methodist affiliation, Illinois Wesleyan continues to be a diverse and inclusive community, independent in its governance.
Illinois Wesleyan's tradition of engaging its students inside and outside the classroom dates back to its earliest days when explorer-geologist John Wesley Powell, a founder of the National Geographic Society, joined the faculty in 1865. A pioneer of using field work in teaching science, Powell in 1867 took Illinois Wesleyan students to Colorado's mountains – one of the first expeditions of its kind in U.S. higher education.
The liberal arts and sciences have been at the foundation of Illinois Wesleyan's curriculum since its inception, and the fine arts were taught from its earliest years in the 19th century.
In 2005, the Undergraduate Economic Review was formed. The first of its kind, the journal is a peer-managed, open access Economics publication that features original content from undergraduate students both in the U.S. and at least 15 other countries. Published papers cover a variety of Economics-related topics, ranging from labor and monetary policy issues, to game theory frameworks.
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 Theatre Arts Complex, a new Center for Instruction, and new student housing.
Illinois Wesleyan is an independent, residential, liberal arts university with an enrollment of 2,020. It offers 50 majors and 476 courses. The university maintains a low student/faculty ratio of 11 to 1, and while it offers 476 courses, only 9 of them have more than 40 students. Also, 9 in 10 IWU students receive a scholarship or need-based assistance.
Illinois Wesleyan is ranked as one of the "best values" in the nation. Illinois Wesleyan is also a member of the Annapolis Group and its strong foundations in the liberal arts have earned it chapters in the prestigious Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Kappa Phi honor societies.
The University consists of the College of Liberal Arts, with 17 academic departments; the College of Fine Arts, comprising 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 and individualized education and experience.
Bachelor's degree programs are offered in three Colleges:
Wesleyan's Ames Library was completed in 2002. It contains over 368,000 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 principal architects.
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 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.
May Term is also sometimes referred to as "Play Term" by the students of Illinois Wesleyan. This applies to very few students as most of the May Term classes meet three hours every day and the workload is that of an entire semester. "Play" simply refers to the fact that there is more time to lounge on the quad, get off campus, and spend time with friends. Classes may also be more participatory or have lighter topics than those offered during the traditional semesters.
Illinois Wesleyan offers a number of study abroad opportunities, and ranks in the top 40 schools in the nation for students studying abroad. IWU's International Office provides support for over 300 global Study Abroad Options in 70 countries through various institutes such as IES and SIT Study Abroad. Domestically, IWU offers a UN semester, a Washington Semester, and the Chicago Center. Internationally it offers programs in London and Barcelona. It also maintains a very strong relationship with Pembroke College, Oxford, and traditionally a few juniors can spend a year there as exchange students.
The University publishes 4 different undergraduate research journals in the fields of Political Science, Economics, History, and English. Perhaps the most notable, the Undergraduate Economic Review is a student-managed, open access journal that has published original undergraduate content from students in the U.S. and 15 other countries. It's 'internal twin', the Park Place Economist publishes original work of Economics seniors graduating Illinois Wesleyan University. Articles range from basic topical explorations to focused senior research. All published volumes are available online. 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. The Action Research Center (ARC) was established in 2007 to partner student research and service projects with the wider Illinois community.
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 6 Division III National Championships since 1997. Wesleyan also ranks in the Top 10 nationally with 113 Academic All-Americans, tied with UCLA.
The Women's Basketball Team won the 2012 National Championships in Division III, beating George Fox by a score of 57 – 48.
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.
Shirk Center is the University's Athletic Complex. The two-story 135,000-square-foot (12,500 m2) 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. The Shirk Center also hosted the 2010 & 2011 NCAA Division III Women's National Basketball Championships. The "Shirk" is also the championship venue for the annual State Farm Holiday Classic, one of the largest, coed high school holiday basketball tournaments in the nation.
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. Faculty colloquia regularly provide opportunities for intellectual discussion and encouragement. The campus itself is an arboretum, home to over 1,000 trees from 90 different species.
While all first-year students are required to live on campus unless they are excused by the Office of Residential Life, 80% of students elect to remain on campus their entire time at Wesleyan. All halls are co-ed, all residence hall rooms have cable television, Internet, and phone, and the vast majority of rooms are two/three-person units. Dodds Hall offers eight-person suites and Harriet Fuller Rust House offers four-person and six-person suites as well as two eight-person two-story townhouse style suites. Traditional style living is offered in Magill Hall, Pfeiffer Hall, and Martin Hall. First-year students live in first-year halls – Dolan Hall, Gulick Hall, Munsell Hall, and Ferguson Hall. Illinois Wesleyan also offers two themed housing communities: Kemp Hall (the International House) and Blackstock Hall (the Arts House). Nearly 33% of the campus community is involved and/or resides in one of five fraternities or four sororities. Students are now also able to live in The Gates (est. 2013), which are modern, apartment-style dormitories that students can sign as leases.
There are 170 student organizations at Wesleyan, ranging from the rock-climbing club, the Anime club, to Pi Kappa Lambda (the music honors society).
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. In 1966 he came to the University while he as trying to organize in Chicago. There, he said,
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. 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. The campus newspaper is called The Argus.
IWU's new Welcome Center, the Minor Myers, Jr. Welcome Center, includes a geothermal heating/cooling system. It has been awarded Silver Certification as a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) building.
The university's "Think Green" behavioral change campaign encourages community members to conserve resources, and its spring 2008 global warming teach-in had 700 attendees.