This article has multiple issues. Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page. (Learn how and when to remove these template messages) This article relies excessively on references to primary sources. Please improve this article by adding secondary or tertiary sources. Find sources: "Aurora University" – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR (June 2020) (Learn how and when to remove this template message) A major contributor to this article appears to have a close connection with its subject. It may require cleanup to comply with Wikipedia's content policies, particularly neutral point of view. Please discuss further on the talk page. (March 2023) (Learn how and when to remove this template message) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
Aurora University
Other name
Former names
Mendota Seminary (1893)
Mendota College (1893–1911)
Aurora College (1911–1985)
George Williams College (1886–2000)[1]
MottoSapientes abscondunt scientiam
Motto in English
Wise persons will carry away knowledge
TypePrivate university
EstablishedJanuary 9, 1893; 131 years ago (1893-01-09)
Endowment$39.1 million[2][needs update]
PresidentSusana Rivera-Mills
Location, ,
Campus40 acres (16.2 ha)[needs update]
ColorsRoyal blue and white   
NicknameSpartan Army
Sporting affiliations

Aurora University (AU) is a private university in Aurora, Illinois, United States. In addition to its main campus, AU offers programs online and at its George Williams College campus in Williams Bay, Wisconsin. Approximately 6,200 students are enrolled in bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degree programs at Aurora University.


Aurora University was founded as Mendota Seminary in Mendota, Illinois, in 1893. At that time, the school was focused on education and training rooted in the Advent Christian Church. Within a few years of its founding, the seminary changed its name to Mendota College, and broadened its programs into a traditional liberal arts curriculum.

In 1911, residents of the nearby town of Aurora raised funds to construct a new college, led by funding from businessman Charles Eckhart, who founded the predecessor company to the Auburn Automobile Company. Recognizing mutual benefits, administrators of Mendota College moved their operations to Aurora and the school became known as Aurora College.

In 1971, Aurora College separated from the Advent Christian Church, and in 1985, changed its name to Aurora University to better reflect the breadth of its academic programs.

In 1992, the school entered into an affiliation agreement with George Williams College, in Williams Bay, Wisconsin, which was followed by a full merger in 2000. George Williams College (named for YMCA founder George Williams) had been instituted in 1886 by YMCA leaders to create a summer school where young men and women would gather for learning, fellowship and reflection. With the merger, the one-time summer school, camp and conference center now serves undergraduate students in a variety of degree programs. Over the past decade, the historic George Williams College campus has been transformed through renovations to new structures including the creation of the Winston Paul Educational Center, Oak and Hickory lodges, the Beasley Campus Center and the Ferro Pavilion, where the annual Music by the Lake outdoor concert series takes place during the summer months.In November 2022, Aurora University announced “plans to end academic programming at the campus in December 2023” and continue operations as a conference center and as the host of Music by the Lake.[4]

Aurora University added a third location in 2009 with the opening of the Woodstock Center. The center is located in Woodstock, Illinois, approximately 50 miles north of the university's main campus.[5] In 2023, the building was sold to McHenry County College to become its University Center, "adding additional partner universities while continuing to collaborate with AU in offering their degree programs already in place."[6]

Today, Aurora University and the GWC campus are operated by the Board of Trustees of Aurora University and presided over by a chief executive officer. Each site has a team of senior administrators who report to the president.



Aurora University offers 60 undergraduate majors and minors, a wide variety of master's degrees, several graduate certificates in education and social work, and online doctoral degrees in education and social work .[7]

The university is composed of the following:[8]

The university states that its student-faculty ratio is 18:1, and that the average class size is 26 students.[7]

Aurora University operates on a semester-based academic year. The school offers an international- and service-focused “Travel in May” program at the conclusion of the spring semester, as well as summer courses.

Aurora University also offers programming to support college-capable students with autism spectrum disorder through the Pathways program. The first class Pathways Collegiate Program freshmen and transfer students started in the 2022-23 academic year.[10]


The Higher Learning Commission accredits Aurora University at the bachelor's, master's and doctoral levels.[11]

Program-specific accreditations include:


The Aurora campus is based primarily around a traditional quadrangle and adjacent areas. In total, the campus is approximately 32 acres. All buildings constructed by the university have red tile roofs (with the exception of two, which continue the red theme on exterior wall panels), a stipulation of Charles Eckhart in his initial donation in the early days of Aurora College.[13]

Aurora College Complex (Eckhart, Davis & Wilkinson Halls)
Aurora University is located in Illinois
Aurora University
Aurora University is located in the United States
Aurora University
Location347 S. Gladstone Ave.
Aurora, Kane County, Illinois, United States
Coordinates41°45′17″N 88°20′52″W / 41.75472°N 88.34778°W / 41.75472; -88.34778
Architectural styleTudor Revival
NRHP reference No.84001126
Added to NRHPFebruary 16, 1984

Buildings include:

George Williams College of Aurora University is located on the shores of Geneva Lake in Williams Bay, Wisconsin and includes 137.5 acres of property.

Buildings include:

Schingoethe Center of Aurora University

Aurora University is home to the Schingoethe Center of Aurora University, a museum best known for its collection of Native American artifacts.[20] The museum was founded when Herbert and Martha Schingoethe commissioned the building of Dunham Hall, which opened to the public in 1990 and which housed their donated collection of 6000 artifacts.

In 2015, the museum relocated to the newly constructed Ellsworth and Virginia Hill Welcome Center.[20][21] The Schingoethe Center was named as a Smithsonian affiliate in 2017.[22][23]


The Aurora athletic teams are called the Spartans. The university is a member of the Division III level of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), primarily competing in the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference (NACC; formerly known as the Northern Athletics Conference (NAC) until after the 2012–13 school year) since the 2006–07 academic year; while its men's and women’s hockey teams compete in the Northern Collegiate Hockey Association (NCHA) and men’s and women’s wrestling and women’s bowling teams compete in the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin (CCIW). The Spartans previously competing in the D-III Northern Illinois-Iowa Conference (NIIC) from 1995–96 to 2005–06; and in the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) as an associate member from 1954–55 to 1959–60.[24]

Aurora competes in 24 intercollegiate varsity sports: Men's sports include baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, ice hockey, lacrosse, soccer, track and field (indoor and outdoor), volleyball and wrestling; while women's sports include basketball, bowling, cross country, golf, ice hockey, lacrosse, soccer, softball, track and field (indoor and outdoor), volleyball and wrestling. Club sports include women's cheer and dance, men's ice hockey (ACHA D2 & D3) and women's ice hockey (ACHA D1).[24]


The home athletics facilities are Thornton Gymnasium, Spartan Athletic Park, Stuart Sports Complex, Fox Valley Ice Arena, Oakhurst Forest Preserve, Aurora Country Club, and Vago Field.[24] The Vago Field grandstand seats 600 people while Spartan Athletic Park seats 1,150.[25] Spartan Athletic Park is located less than a mile from the main campus in Aurora. "The complex houses...venues for football, lacrosse, soccer, and softball as well as a multipurpose indoor facility with [a] wrestling room and [a] weight room."[5]


Aurora University athletic teams have captured 209 conference championships in school history. Since joining the NCAA in 1982, AU men's and women's teams have won 186 conference championships and appeared in 171 NCAA tournaments.[26]

Notable alumni

This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (February 2023)


  1. ^ "Historical Timeline". Aurora University. Retrieved January 1, 2023.
  2. ^ As of June 30, 2010. "U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2010 Endowment Market Value and Percentage Change in Endowment Market Value from FY 2009 to FY 2010" (PDF). 2010 NACUBO-Commonfund Study of Endowments. National Association of College and University Business Officers. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 17, 2012. Retrieved February 17, 2010.
  3. ^ a b c "Aurora University". National Center for Education Statistics. 2021. Retrieved April 5, 2021.
  4. ^ "Illinois university to stop teaching at Wisconsin branch campus due to falling enrollment". Higher Ed Dive. Retrieved March 14, 2023.
  5. ^ a b "Aurora University Factbook 2022 by Aurora University - Issuu". October 7, 2022. Retrieved March 14, 2023.
  6. ^ "MCC Unveils Plans to Launch New University Center in Woodstock, Partners with Aurora University to Offer Four-Year Degrees | McHenry County College". Retrieved October 7, 2023.
  7. ^ a b "Academics". Aurora University Web Site. Aurora University. Retrieved September 8, 2011.
  8. ^ "Colleges and Schools". Retrieved March 14, 2023.
  9. ^ "Locations". Retrieved March 14, 2023.
  10. ^ "With new facility on the way, Aurora University working to extend its support of students on the autism spectrum". Chicago Tribune. November 12, 2021. Retrieved October 7, 2023.
  11. ^ "Directory of HLC Institutions". The Higher Learning Commission Web Site. North Central Association of Schools and Colleges. Archived from the original on January 1, 2011. Retrieved September 8, 2011.
  12. ^ "Accreditation". Retrieved March 14, 2023.
  13. ^ "About Us". Aurora University Web Site. Aurora University. Retrieved September 9, 2011.
  14. ^ a b "Residence Halls". Aurora University Web Site. Aurora University. Retrieved September 9, 2011.
  15. ^ "With new facility on the way, Aurora University working to extend its support of students on the autism spectrum". Chicago Tribune. November 12, 2021. Retrieved March 13, 2023.
  16. ^ "Aurora University, Ellsworth and Virginia Hill Welcome Center and Schingoethe Museum". School Designs. Retrieved March 13, 2023.
  17. ^ "Aurora University Magazine Fall/Winter 2022 by Aurora University - Issuu". December 16, 2022. Retrieved March 13, 2023.
  18. ^ "Aurora University's John C. Dunham STEM Partnership School Awarded LEED Platinum | Cordogan Clark & Associates". Archinect. Retrieved March 13, 2023.
  19. ^ "Student Success Center Opens with Expanded Career Services and Alumni Relations". Retrieved March 13, 2023.
  20. ^ a b "Schingoethe Center of Aurora University". Retrieved July 29, 2022.
  21. ^ "Aurora University, Ellsworth and Virginia Hall Welcome Center and Schingoethe Museum". American School & University. 88 (12): 113. 2016.
  22. ^ "Affiliate Profile". Smithsonian Affiliations. Retrieved July 29, 2022.
  23. ^ "Aurora University's Schingoethe Center Named As Smithsonian Affiliate". Targeted News Service (TNS). February 1, 2017. Retrieved July 29, 2022.
  24. ^ a b c "Aurora University Athletic Department Quick Facts". Aurora University Athletics. Retrieved March 22, 2023.
  25. ^ "Facilities". Aurora University Athletics. Retrieved March 22, 2023.
  26. ^ "Aurora University Athletics – Championship History". Aurora University Athletics Web Site. Aurora University Athletics. Retrieved September 9, 2011.