Eastern Illinois University
Former names
Eastern Illinois State Normal School (1899–1921)
Eastern Illinois State Teachers College (1921–1947)
Eastern Illinois State College (1947–1957)
TypePublic university
Established1895; 129 years ago (1895)
Endowment$62.8 million[1]
PresidentJay Gatrell
ProvostRyan C. Hendrickson
Students8,804 (Fall 2023)[2]
Undergraduates6,849 (Fall 2023)
Postgraduates1,955 (Fall 2023)

39°29′4″N 88°10′31″W / 39.48444°N 88.17528°W / 39.48444; -88.17528
CampusCollege town, 320 acres (129.5 ha)[3]
NewspaperThe Daily Eastern News
Colors    Blue and grey[4]
Sporting affiliations
NCAA Division I FCSOhio Valley Conference
MascotBilly the Panther

Eastern Illinois University (EIU) is a public university in Charleston, Illinois. Established in 1895 as the Eastern Illinois State Normal School, a teacher's college offering a two-year degree, Eastern Illinois University gradually expanded into a comprehensive university with a broad curriculum, including bachelor's and master's degrees in education, business, arts, sciences, and humanities.


Eastern Illinois Normal School was established by the Illinois State Legislature in 1895 "to train teachers for the schools of East Central Illinois." A 40-acre campus was acquired in Charleston and the first building was commissioned. When the school began classes in 1899, there were 125 students and an 18-member faculty.[5]

Old Main building

The first building was finished in 1899[6] and is called Old Main, though it is formally named the Livingston C. Lord Administration Building in honor of EIU's first president, who served from 1899 to 1933. Built of Indiana limestone in a heavy Gothic revival style with turrets, towers, and battlements, its distinctive outline is the official symbol of the school. Old Main is one of "Altgeld's castles", five buildings built in the 1890s at the major Illinois state colleges. Governor John Peter Altgeld was instrumental in funding the Illinois university system, and he was especially fond of the Gothic style. Eastern's "Old Main" and Illinois State University's Cook Hall are the only schools where the "castle" is not named after Altgeld. Other original Gothic Revival buildings include Booth Library[7] and Blair Hall.[8] Blair Hall was restored after a disastrous fire in 2004.[9] In fall 2008, the university opened the newly constructed Doudna Fine Arts Center, designed by international architect Antoine Predock. The 138,000-square-foot (12,800 m2) complex houses the music, theatre, and visual arts departments.[10]

Through the twentieth century, the school changed its name several times in order to reflect its transition from a teachers college into a multi-purpose institution that could be of wider service to Illinois. Thus, Eastern Illinois State Normal School became Eastern Illinois State Teachers College in 1921, which then became Eastern Illinois State College in 1947. In 1957, the Illinois General Assembly changed the name of the institution to Eastern Illinois University.[11]



The EIU Alumni Courtyard, library quad and the Doudna Fine Arts Center

Eastern Illinois University has roughly 8,800 students. Undergraduate admissions are selective. Tuition is approximately $8,880 per year for residents of Illinois and other bordering states, while it is $11,110 for non-residents. Additional fees amount to $2,923.48.[13] The university estimates its average cost-of-attendance to be approximately $24,640 per academic year.[14]

There are prominent Communication Disorders and Sciences and Biological Sciences programs, though the College of Education remains the largest department. The university has an endowment of approximately $82 million. The current president is Jay Gatrell.[15]


In the U.S. News & World Report college rankings, EIU is classified as a regional public university and fits into one of four regions: the Midwest Region. In the publication's 2019 rankings, EIU ranks No. 5 among its peers in that region.[16] EIU's Business Program is ranked No. 405 as Best Undergraduate Business Programs.[17]

Colleges and schools

Eastern Illinois University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation.[18] Eastern Illinois also offers 51 undergraduate degree programs; 32 graduate degree programs; and 10 post-baccalaureate certificate programs.[19]

Eastern is divided into four colleges:

Other academic divisions include The Graduate School,[24] Sandra and Jack Pine Honors College,[25] and the School of Extended Learning.[26] The Graduate School was founded in 1951 and has an enrollment of approximately 1,800 full and part-time students with more than 300 faculty holding graduate faculty status. The university also includes the Center for Academic Support and Achievement, the Office of Inclusion and Academic Engagement, the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, and the Office of Study Abroad. The university's Booth Library hosts yearly exhibits, the Ballenger Teachers Center, and numerous digital collections. The main university art museum, the Tarble Arts Center, maintains a 1,000-piece permanent collection, including a 500-piece collection of late 20th-century Illinois folk arts and related archival information. A majority of the holdings are concentrated on art from the state of Illinois and the Midwest region.[27]

Eighty-eight percent of graduates find work in a field related to their major within six months after graduation.[28]

Campus life


Eastern Illinois University offers over 170 student organizations, ranging from religious, multicultural, service, academic, Greek, honorary, governing, social, athletic and political organizations.[29]



The school's daily newspaper is The Daily Eastern News, which was founded on November 5, 1915, and thus gives Eastern Illinois the distinction of being one of only three universities in the United States to run its own newspaper printing press; EIU is also one of the smallest universities in the country to have a daily newspaper.


Eastern Illinois also has a student-run radio station, Hit-Mix 88.9 WEIU, WEIU (FM). The radio station can be heard across Coles County and surrounding counties on 88.9 FM, as well as online through their website.


WEIU-TV is a PBS station on the campus of Eastern Illinois University. WEIU-TV airs adult and kids PBS programming as well as a student-produced 30 minute nightly newscast. WEIU covers Champaign, Christian, Clark, Coles, Crawford, Cumberland, Douglas, Edgar, Effingham, Jasper, Macon, Moultrie, Piatt, Sangamon, Shelby, and Vermilion counties in Illinois and Vigo County in Indiana.


Eleven on-campus residence halls include seven co-ed, three female-only, and one male-only. Throughout the year the residence halls participate in competitions and various community service activities.

Former residences

Ruth Carman Hall was a former residence. It was named after Ruth Carman, an EIU alumni.[30]

Carman Hall opened on September 4, 1970, but wasn't officially completed until November 14, 1971.[31] Initially, the housing office was unable to fill the upper two floors of the building, but by 1977 the entire building was in use.[32] From August 2011, only eight floors were occupied due to reduced enrollment.[33] Carman Hall was closed after May 30, 2013, to allow for an assessment of the condition of the building and for future renovation.[34] In 2014, the university stated that it would remain closed as a cost-saving measure due to low enrollment.[35]

Since closure, the building has been used for training purposes by the Reserve Officers' Training Corps.[36]

Dining services

Eastern Illinois University features two residence hall dining centers (Taylor and Stevenson), the University Food Court with six fast food locations, Java Beanery & Bakery (Java B & B), Chick-fil-A, Charleston Market, Panther Grille, Ace Sushi, Qdoba, and two Marketplace Convenience Centers.[37] They also operate a restaurant-style option (Reservation-Only Dining) on the weekends.

Greek life

Fraternities on campus:[38]

Sororities on campus:


Dial-A-Ride Rural Public Transportation provides deviated fixed-route and demand-response service to campus. Amtrak service to campus is provided in nearby Mattoon at the Mattoon station, which can be accessed by Coles County Zipline.


Main article: Eastern Illinois Panthers

Eastern Illinois University's colors are blue and grey; the sports teams' mascot is the Panther. The teams participate in NCAA Division I (I-AA FCS for football) in the Ohio Valley Conference. Eastern Illinois University was a member of the Illinois Intercollegiate Athletic Conference from 1912 to 1970.

The football team is coached by Chris Wilkerson and competes at home in O’Brien Field.

Current National Football League head coach, Sean Payton of the Denver Broncos, is an alumnus of Eastern Illinois. Brad Childress, head coach of the Minnesota Vikings from 2006 to 2010, is also a graduate, preceding Sean Payton at Eastern Illinois. Additionally, Tony Romo, the former starting quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys, and Jimmy Garoppolo, starting quarterback of the Las Vegas Raiders, are alumni of the university.

Eastern Illinois is also the host of the IHSA Boys and Girls State Track and Field Finals, which have been held at O'Brien Field since the 1970s. They also host the IHSA Girls State Badminton Finals and the State Journalism Finals.[39]

Alma mater

Simply referred to as the "EIU Alma Mater," the song itself was composed by Friederich Koch during his tenure as a music teacher at Eastern. The lyrics were composed as a poem titled "For Us Arose Thy Walls and Towers" by Isabel McKinney, a professor of English at Eastern from 1911 to 1945. These lyrics were originally set to the German folk tune Die Wacht am Rhein (The Watch on the Rhine), but were changed around the time of World War I due to anti-German sentiments at the time.[40]

Notable alumni

Main article: List of Eastern Illinois University alumni


  1. ^ "Data USA: Eastern Illinois University". Data USA. November 7, 2023.
  2. ^ "EIU enrollment holds steady as global reach soars".
  3. ^ "EIU at a Glance-Campus". www.eiu.edu. Retrieved March 21, 2019.
  4. ^ Eastern Illinois University Brand Guidelines (PDF). Retrieved July 16, 2018.
  5. ^ Tingley, Donald (January 1974). ""The Emerging University - A History of Eastern Illinois University 194" by Donald F. Tingley". EIU.edu.
  6. ^ [1] Archived October 12, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ "Eastern Illinois University :: Booth Library Homepage". eiu.edu.
  8. ^ Nora Pat Small, "A Building for the Ages: The History and Architecture of Old Main," Archived January 16, 2005, at the Wayback Machine September 1999, Department of History, Eastern Illinois University website.
  9. ^ Julie Morss, "Blair Hall bags another award,"[permanent dead link] Daily Eastern News, January 9, 2007.
  10. ^ Nathaniel West, "EIU's Doudna Rededicated," Journal-Gazette/Times-Courier, Coles County, Illinois, October 24, 2008.
  11. ^ Donald F. Tingley, "The Emerging University - A History of Eastern Illinois University 1949-1974" Retrieved December 20, 2012.
  12. ^ "EIU History". eiu.edu.
  13. ^ "Eastern Illinois University :: Financial Aid - Cost of Attendance". www.eiu.edu. Retrieved July 31, 2018.
  14. ^ "EIU Integrity Documents". Retrieved July 16, 2018.
  15. ^ Kidd, Madelyn (February 3, 2023). "BREAKING: Jay Gatrell to be EIU's 13th president". The Daily Eastern News. Retrieved March 2, 2024.
  16. ^ [2] from USNews.com
  17. ^ [3] from USNews.com
  18. ^ "About EIU". eiu.edu. Retrieved March 21, 2019.
  19. ^ "EIU at a Glance - Academics". eiu.edu. Retrieved March 21, 2019.
  20. ^ "Eastern Illinois University :: College of Arts and Sciences". eiu.edu. Retrieved July 16, 2018.
  21. ^ "Eastern Illinois University :: Lumpkin College of Business and Technology". eiu.edu. Retrieved July 16, 2018.
  22. ^ "Eastern Illinois University :: College of Education". eiu.edu. Retrieved July 16, 2018.
  23. ^ "Eastern Illinois University :: College of Health and Human Services". eiu.edu. Retrieved July 16, 2018.
  24. ^ "Eastern Illinois University :: Graduate School". eiu.edu.
  25. ^ "Eastern Illinois University :: Honors College". eiu.edu.
  26. ^ "Eastern Illinois University :: School of Continuing Education Homepage". eiu.edu.
  27. ^ "Eastern Illinois University :: Tarble Arts Center". eiu.edu. Retrieved July 16, 2018.
  28. ^ "USNews.com: America's Best Colleges 2008: Eastern Illinois University: Services & Facilities".
  29. ^ "EIU at a Glance-Organizations". www.eiu.edu. Retrieved March 21, 2019.
  30. ^ "History of Carman Hall". EIU Housing. Archived from the original on June 18, 2012. Retrieved January 17, 2022.
  31. ^ Brock, Corryn. "Exploring Carman Hall's history". The Daily Eastern News. Retrieved January 17, 2022.
  32. ^ "Students find dorm living more attractive at EIU". Journal Gazette. August 17, 1977. p. 39. Retrieved January 17, 2022.
  33. ^ Stroud, Rob (August 6, 2011). "Decline in EIU enrollment leaves residence hall with empty floors". JG-TC.com. Archived from the original on January 18, 2022. Retrieved January 17, 2022.
  34. ^ "Carman Hall to close for renovations, aseessments". Journal Gazette. February 19, 2013. p. 3. Retrieved January 17, 2022.
  35. ^ Hernandez, Debby. "Carman Hall to remain closed". The Daily Eastern News. Retrieved January 17, 2022.
  36. ^ Markham, Stephanie (April 2, 2015). "ROTC receives training in Carman Hall". The Daily Eastern News. Archived from the original on June 20, 2015. Retrieved January 17, 2022.
  37. ^ "Panther Dining | University Food Court". Eastern Illinois University. Retrieved July 27, 2018.
  38. ^ "GREEK LIFE AT EIU". Eastern Illinois University. Retrieved August 4, 2018.
  39. ^ "EIU | IHSA State Championships". Eastern Illinois University. Retrieved July 27, 2018.
  40. ^ "Eastern Illinois State College - Fifty Years of PublicService" (PDF). thekeep.eiu.edu. January 1, 1950. Retrieved May 15, 2019.