|Elmhurst Academy (1871–1919)|
Elmhurst Junior College (1919–1924)
Elmhurst College (1924–2020)
|United Church of Christ|
|Endowment||$109.9 million (2020)|
|Campus||Suburban, 48 acres (0.19 km2)|
|Colors||Blue & white|
|NCAA Division III – CCIW|
Elmhurst University is a private university in Elmhurst, Illinois. It has a tradition of service-oriented learning and an affiliation with the United Church of Christ. The university changed its name from Elmhurst College on July 1, 2020.
In 1871, Jennie and Thomas Barbour Bryan gave land in Elmhurst to the German Evangelical Synod of the Northwest. This land was given for the purpose of establishing a school to prepare young men for the theological seminary and to train teachers for parochial schools, and was named the Elmhurst Proseminary. The first students, who were all male, studied Latin, Greek, English, German, music, history, geography, mathematics, science, and religion. All classes were taught in German. It wasn't until 1917 that the catalog was published in English. In 1919, the name was changed to the Elmhurst Academy and Junior College, and the expanded curriculum included courses in public speaking, physical education, economics, psychology, and the history of education. In 1924, the school was renamed Elmhurst College and became a four-year college for men. The college seal was designed in the 1920s by Robert Leonhardt, first registrar of the college, who also served as coach of the football team. Women first enrolled in 1930, and four years later, the college was accredited. The college began its graduate programs in 1998, and in 2012 the School for Professional Studies (SPS) was established to offer a wide range of online programs, including undergraduate degrees, graduate degrees and certificate programs. On June 15, 2019, the Elmhurst College Board of Trustees approved a name change to Elmhurst University, which took place July 1, 2020.
The campus is 48 acres (19.4 ha) in Elmhurst, Illinois, a Chicago suburb. It is a certified Level 2 Arboretum and a member of Tree Campus USA, with more than 950 different species from around the globe.
In 1943–44, Elmhurst University admitted four new students from California—American citizens of Japanese descent, or Nisei—at a time when more than 110,000 people of Japanese descent had been sent to 10 government "relocation centers" in desolate regions of the American West. Elmhurst was one of a number of colleges and universities that attempted to right the wrong of the relocation camps by opening its doors to Japanese-American students during World War II. (The U.S. government agreed that the Nisei could enroll in participating schools, provided that they passed an FBI background check.) The Student Refugee Committee, a new campus organization, and President Timothy Lehmann paved the way for the students to enroll—over the vocal opposition of a small group of local residents, including members of the American Legion. The Elmhurst Press ran a front-page editorial with the headline, "No Room For Jap Students in this Town". However, support for the Nisei on campus was "practically 100 percent," President Lehmann noted at the time.
In the summer of 1966, the university brought Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to the podium of Hammerschmidt Memorial Chapel during Dr. King's historic, yearlong effort to racially desegregate city and suburban neighborhoods in the Chicago area. The university later established an annual Martin Luther King Jr. Guestship, which examines issues and ideas related to Dr. King's work.
The university has fourteen Social Action and Service Groups for students to join, among them Habitat for Humanity, Best Buddies, Active Minds, the Global Poverty Club, Relay for Life, Autism Speaks, Students Assisting Animal Shelters, the Greenjays (sustainability club), Alpha Phi Omega and others.
In 2011, the university decided to include an optional question about prospective students’ sexual orientation and gender identity in its admission application in order to better serve all Elmhurst University students.
Elmhurst University offers bachelor's degrees and master's degrees. Approximately 3,350 full-time and part-time students are enrolled in its 26 undergraduate academic departments, 15 certificate programs, and 17 master's programs, including a MBA. There are also 15 preprofessional programs, and accelerated Degree Completion Programs designed primarily for working adults. The college offers 63 majors and allows students the flexibility to create their own. The Elmhurst University Integrated Curriculum (EUIC) requires each student to take several courses from the Areas of Knowledge curriculum and the Skill and Value Development subjects, but there is a wide variety of classes that can be used to fulfill these requirements. The average class has 17 students, although lower class sizes exist primarily in courses tailored to fine arts majors. Traditional general educational classes range between 25 and 35 students per class. The student to faculty ratio is 13 to 1.
The university has a 4-1-4 academic calendar (four month fall term, optional one month January term (J-term), and four month spring term) as well as two summer school sessions.
The EUabroad program offers students short- and long-term opportunities to study in foreign countries, including bilateral foreign exchange programs with educational institutions around the world.
The Elmhurst Learning and Success Academy (ELSA) is a four-year program that offers a full-time, post-secondary educational experience to young adults with developmental disabilities.
Elmhurst Partners provides corporations and organizations with credit and non-credit workforce training and development as well as customized business consulting.
In the U.S. News & World Report's Best Colleges rankings for 2017, Elmhurst was ranked #4 in the Best Value Schools in the Midwest category, up from #9 last year.
Elmhurst athletic teams are the Bluejays. The university is a member of the Division III level of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), primarily competing in the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin (CCIW) for most of their sports since the 1967–68 academic year; which they were a member on a previous stint from 1946–47 to 1959–60, while in women's bowling, a sport with a single NCAA championship open to members of all three NCAA divisions, the school had been a member of the Division II Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association until after the 2018–19 season, but has since become a charter member of the Central Intercollegiate Bowling Conference (CIBC), a new Division III bowling league. The Bluejays previously competed in the Illinois Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (IIAC) from 1925–26 to 1940–41. Their previous nickname was the Pirates.
Elmhurst competes in 20 intercollegiate varsity sports: Men's sports include baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, lacrosse, soccer, tennis, track & field and wrestling; while women's sports include basketball, bowling, cross country, golf, lacrosse, soccer, softball, tennis, track & field and volleyball.
Langhorst Field is named in honor of the late Oliver M. Langhorst, multi-sport coach, athletic director and graduate (1930). Elmhurst University competes in only one club sport, men's rugby. The school has won two NCAA National Championships, both in women's volleyball in 1983 and 1985.
Elmhurst University has over 100 non-athletic student-run organizations. The university's radio station is WRSE-FM and the student newspaper is The Leader. MiddleWestern Voice is the Elmhurst University student-run art, literature, and music journal. Elmhurst Esport's organization offers scholarships for 6 different Esport titles, and has a lively gaming club for all students .The student yearbook is The Elms. Both The Leader and MiddleWestern Voice have online and print editions. WRSE's 320 watt signal reaches most of DuPage County and parts of Cook County and Kane County, Illinois, about one million people. It is also streamed online.
Elmhurst University is home to six sororities: Alpha Phi, Kappa Kappa Gamma, Phi Mu, Sigma Gamma Rho, Sigma Kappa, and Sigma Lambda Gamma and four fraternities: Alpha Phi Alpha, Alpha Sigma Phi, Alpha Tau Omega, and Lambda Chi Alpha. Elmhurst University also has active chapters of the male music organization Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia and female music organization Sigma Alpha Iota. Fraternities and sororities do not have houses on or off campus. There are also 23 honor and recognition societies across of wide range of majors for those students with superior academic and leadership achievements.
Students who live on campus reside in six residence halls:
Senior students are able to reside in campus apartments which include the Elm Park apartments (with housing for 28) and the Prospect apartments (with housing for 32), though exceptions have been made. There are also fourteen university-owned houses adjacent to campus that house a total of 56 upper-class students.
The hash bell is a large hand bell rung at Elmhurst ceremonies as a reminder of the long history of the institution. This is the bell that kept the school on schedule in its early years, and generations of alumni have recalled fondly the loud clanging that woke students in the morning, assembled them for classes and activities, and then called them from their chores to dinner in the evening. One of the earliest Elmhurst catalogs declares: "Life in the institution is regulated entirely by the stroke of the bell." Why it came to be called "the hash bell" remains a mystery.
The Victory Bell is a large bell located in the corner of Langhorst Field which is rung by every member of the football team after every home victory. The bell was originally located in the Old Main bell tower and moved to Langhorst Field in a new stone tower as a gift from the class of 1964.
A wood stage in the game room (located in the Bluejays' Roost in the lower level of the Frick Center) is where occasional open mic sessions for students are held, including poetry slams, improv comedy, literary readings and musical performances, sometimes impromptu.
The Elmhurst University Jazz Festival, now in its 53rd year and one of the oldest jazz festivals in the nation, has brought hundreds of high school and college jazz bands from throughout the country and dozens of notable judges and performers such as Dizzy Gillespie, Doc Severinsen, Bobby Shew, Dee Dee Bridgewater, the Count Basie Orchestra, Maynard Ferguson, Clark Terry, Cannonball Adderley, Diane Schuur, Marian McPartland, Frank Mantooth and many others to the stage at Hammerschmidt Chapel.
Now in its 23rd year, the Elmhurst University Summer Extravaganza is a free jazz concert held in the College Mall on a Saturday in June. The Manhattan Transfer, Dee Dee Bridgewater and Doc Severinsen have been among the guest performers with the Elmhurst University Jazz Band.
Student, faculty and staff signatures and dates can be seen inside the clock tower in Old Main, some dating back to the founding years of the university's history. It has remained a rare occasion when students are allowed access, and it is a coveted prize to be able to add your own name.
The university was given the original nativity scene from the movie Home Alone, which is displayed each year during the holiday season.