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Northern Illinois University

Northern Illinois University (NIU) is a public research university located in DeKalb, Illinois, United States in Chicagoland, with satellite centers in Hoffman Estates, Naperville, Rockford, and Oregon. It was originally founded as Northern Illinois State Normal School on May 22, 1895, by Illinois Governor John P. Altgeld as part of an expansion of the state's system for producing college educated teachers. Douglas Baker was named the university's twelfth president in May, 2013.
The university is composed of seven degree-granting colleges and has a student body of 25,000 with over 225,000 alumni. Many of NIU's programs are nationally accredited for meeting high standards of academic quality, including business, engineering, nursing, visual and performing arts, and all teacher certification programs. It is one of only two public universities in Illinois that compete in the National Collegiate Athletic Association at the highest levels of all sports, Division I. NIU's athletic teams are known as the Huskies and compete in the Mid-American Conference.


1425 W. Lincoln Hwy.

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Black and Cardinal
Missouri Valley

College History

Northern Illinois University was founded as part of the expansion of the normal school program established in 1857 in Normal, Illinois. In 1895, the state legislature created a Board of Trustees for the governance of the Northern Illinois State Normal School, which would eventually grow into the what is today known as NIU.
In July 1917, the Illinois Senate consolidated the boards of trustees for the five state normal schools (Eastern Illinois State Normal School, Illinois State Normal School, Northern Illinois State Normal School, Southern Illinois State Normal University, and Western Illinois State Normal School) into one state Normal School Board.
Over the next fifty-eight years both the school and the governing board changed their names several times. In 1921, the legislature gave the institution the name Northern Illinois State Teachers College and empowered it to award the four-year Bachelor of Education degree. In 1941 the Normal School Board changed its name to the Teachers College Board. In 1951 the Teachers College Board authorized the college to grant the degree Master of Science in Education, and the institution's Graduate School was established. On July 1, 1955, the state legislature renamed the college Northern Illinois State College and authorized the college to broaden its educational services by offering academic work in areas other than teacher education. The Teachers College Board granted permission for the college to add curricula leading to the degrees Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science. On July 1, 1957, the Seventieth General Assembly renamed Northern Illinois State College as Northern Illinois University in recognition of its expanded status as a liberal arts university.

College Specialty


The vision of Northern Illinois University is to be the premier student-centered, research-focused public university in the Midwest, contributing to the advancement of knowledge for the benefit of the people of the region, the state, the nation, and the world. With this vision, the mission of the University is to promote excellence and engagement in teaching and learning, research and scholarship, creativity and artistry, and outreach and service.

In pursuing our vision and fulfilling our mission, the University values: A community of diverse people, ideas, services, and scholarly endeavors in a climate of respect for the intrinsic dignity of each individual Access for a broad spectrum of students to high quality undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs that prepare them to be lifelong learners and productive, socially conscious citizens Engaged teaching and learning that evolves from the synergy of research, artistry, and service Research and artistry in creating, transmitting, expanding, and applying knowledge Student success supported through academic and co-curricular programming and activities The application of current technology in enhancing and broadening all institutional endeavors A system of shared governance that incorporates input from faculty, staff, and students in decision- and policy-making Commitment to a public purpose addressing regional, state, national, and global challenges and opportunities.


Judith Curry (B.S. 1974, Ph.D. 1982), climatologist, Timothy P. Marshall, (B.S. 1978), meteorologist and civil engineer, damage analysis expert, Paul Sereno, Paleontologist, University of Chicago, B.S., Biology, 1979, Bharath Sriraman, Academic Editor, Professor of Mathematics at The University of Montana (M.S. 1999, Ph.D. 2002, Joan Allen, 1980, Actress, Academy Award-Nominated, Dan Castellaneta, 1979, Actor, Emmy Award-winning actor, voice of "Homer Simpson" and others on The Simpsons, Jimmy Chamberlin, Musician, drummer of The Smashing Pumpkins, Andrew Harris, Musician, lead vocals for Judas Iscariot



The campus sits on 756 acres in DeKalb and includes 64 major buildings. One of the most prominent buildings on campus is the iconic castle-like Altgeld Hall. It is one of the five castle-themed buildings built according to the suggestion of Governor John Peter Altgeld. The Auditorium in Altgeld Hall, which was designed to also function as a ballroom, was restored and can seat up to 500. On the level below the Auditorium, the original gym was transformed into a computer classroom. Also on the same level is the NIU Art Museum which occupies two large spaces.