|Northern Illinois State School (1895–1921)|
Northern Illinois State Teachers College (1921–1955)
Northern Illinois State College (1955–1957)
|Type||Public research university|
|Established||May 22, 1895|
|Endowment||$99.2 million (2021)|
|Students||15,649 (Fall 2022)|
|Undergraduates||11,429 (Fall 2022)|
|Postgraduates||4,220 (Fall 2022)|
945.13 acres (382.5 ha)
|Colors||Cardinal and Black|
|NCAA Division I — MAC|
Northern Illinois University (NIU) is a public research university in DeKalb, Illinois. It was founded as Northern Illinois State Normal School in 1895 by Illinois Governor John P. Altgeld to provide the state with college-educated teachers. In addition to the main campus in DeKalb, it has satellite centers in Chicago, Naperville, Rockford, and Oregon, Illinois.
The university is composed of seven degree-granting colleges and has a student body of approximately 16,000. NIU is one of seven public universities in Illinois that compete in the National Collegiate Athletic Association's, Division I. The athletic teams are known as the Huskies and compete in the Mid-American Conference (MAC).
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 grow into 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, 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.
In 1965, the Illinois State Teachers College Board became the Board of Governors of State Colleges and Universities and was reorganized to include Northeastern University, Governor's State, and Chicago State Universities. In 1967 authority for Northern Illinois University, Illinois State University, and Sangamon State University were passed on to a newly formed board of regents. In 1984, the board created the position of chancellor for the three regent universities to act as a chief executive for all three schools. In 1996, authority for each of the three regency universities was transferred to three independent boards of trustees, each concerned with only one university.
In 2008, the university drew international attention when a gunman opened fire in a crowd of students on campus, killing five students and injuring 17 more people before fatally shooting himself.
13 presidents have served at the university.
|Northern Illinois University|
|College of Business|
|College of Education|
|College of Engineering and Engineering Technology|
|College of Health and Human Sciences|
|College of Law|
|College of Liberal Arts and Sciences|
|College of Visual and Performing Arts|
NIU has seven degree-granting colleges that together offer more than 60 undergraduate majors, 70 minors, nine pre-professional programs, and 79 graduate programs, including a College of Law, and 24 areas of study leading to doctoral degrees. Many of NIU's academic programs are nationally accredited for meeting the highest standards of academic quality and rigor, including business, engineering, nursing, visual and performing arts, and all teacher certification programs. New interdisciplinary academic programs in Environmental Studies and Community Leadership and Civic Engagement were established in FY 2012.
|THE / WSJ||601–800|
|U.S. News & World Report||299–391|
|U.S. News & World Report||671|
In 2021, Northern Illinois University was ranked the 97th top college in the United States by Payscale and CollegeNet's Social Mobility Index college rankings. NIU is classified as a "National University" by U.S. News & World Report and ranked number 177 out of 206 which were ranked (75 were left unranked). The same publication also ranked NIU as 41st best in the country for Public Affairs programs, and within that field, NIU's program in City Management & Urban Policy was ranked third in the nation and the Public Finance & Budgeting program at 12th. Forbes magazine placed NIU as number 386 on its list of 600 universities in 2021.
NIU is classified among "R2: Doctoral Universities – High research activity". The university is also a member of the Universities Research Association that manages several federal physics laboratories including Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Illinois. The university is expanding its program in accelerator technology.
Established in 1963, Northern Illinois University's Center for Southeast Asian Studies (CSEAS) is currently one of seven federally recognized National Resource Centers (NRC) for Southeast Asian foreign language and area studies. NIU has been awarded the Title VI Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowships since 1974 and Undergraduate NRC grants since 1997. NIU's CSEAS operates within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and offers an undergraduate minor and a graduate concentration in Southeast Asian studies, enrolling more than 1,500 students each year.
The main campus sits on 756 acres in DeKalb and includes 64 major buildings. Additional campus sites include, the Lorado Taft Field Campus (144 acres), Rockford Campus (10 acres), and the Naperville Campus (11.2 acres).
One of the most prominent buildings on campus is the 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.
The East Lagoon near Altgeld is a recreation spot on campus. The Holmes Student Center also houses a 78-room hotel.
NIU's residence halls (including two complexes with four 12-story towers each) provide several living options to on-campus students. Living-learning floors include the Health Professions House; Business Careers House; Teacher Education and Certification House (TEACH); Honors House; International House; Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM) House; and Fine Arts House. Other floor options include all-men, all-women, transfers, quiet lifestyle and alcohol-free.
Northern View Community, which opened in 2008, offers apartments to undergraduate students who are at least two years post-high school, graduate students, law students, or any student who has a dependent and/or a partner or spouse.
The Fanny Ruth Patterson Complex, a 1,000-bed complex just north of Lincoln Hall, opened to all students in the fall of 2012. It features two residential buildings where students can live in clusters of 12.
After an extensive renovation, Grant C Tower reopened in the fall of 2011 with completely new accommodations and furnishings for NIU students. Gilbert Hall, which had not been used as a residence hall since 1995, underwent a complete renovation and re-opened in the fall of 2013. Grant D Tower was renovated and re-opened in the fall of 2013.
Douglas Hall, a part of the pair of residence halls Lincoln-Douglas, was demolished by the spring of 2016. Lucinda Avenue has been extended and used since the spring of 2016. This is a part of the master plan to create a new campus.
Residence halls in use:
On the west side of campus is Brigham Field at Huskie Stadium, the home of NIU football games, which also often hosts other outdoor events. Huskie Stadium, which has a seating capacity over 23,000, is surrounded by large open grassy areas which provide recreation, and also serve as the tailgating lots for football games. There is also a baseball field, Ralph McKinzie Field; a softball field, Mary M. Bell Field; a soccer field, Huskie Soccer Complex; and tennis courts, Gullikson Tennis Courts, which flank Huskie Stadium.
At the stadium's north end zone are two athletic buildings. The first is the Jeffrey and Kimberly Yordon Academic and Athletic Performance Center. The facility opened in August 2007. The second is the Kenneth and Ellen Chessick Indoor Practice Center, an 80,600-square-foot practice facility that houses the football, baseball, and softball teams.
On the far west side of campus is the Convocation Center, a 10,000-seat arena opened in 2002. The Convocation Center hosts NIU men's and women's basketball, gymnastics, wrestling, and volleyball, Victor E. Court, games, the opening convocation ceremony for incoming freshmen, music concerts, and a variety of events throughout the year including job fairs, internship fairs, and other expositions.
At the corner of Annie Glidden Road and Lucinda Avenue is the Chick Evans Field House, home to two large activity rooms with mirrors often used by dance clubs; a three-lane, 1/7-mile jogging and walking track; four multipurpose courts for basketball, volleyball, indoor soccer and floor hockey; and a cardio- and strength-training room, which has been under-used since the basketball team moved to the Convocation Center. The field house continues to host expositions and sporting events of a smaller scale, and is the headquarters for the campus ROTC program.
Two swimming pools are located in Anderson and Gabel Halls.
|Race and ethnicity||Total|
NIU's Campus Child Care Center offers care to children aged two months to five years, along with a summer school program for children ages 6 to 8. Enrollment is secured on a first-come, first-served basis, with priority given first to currently enrolled families, followed by NIU students, NIU faculty and staff, and the community. The center is licensed through the State of Illinois and accredited through the Academy of Early Childhood Program Accreditation.
The Peters Campus Life Building is home to the Campus Activities Board, Career Services, the Counseling and Student Development Center, the Honors Program, the Northern Star student newspaper, the Student Association, and Student Involvement and Leadership Development.
NIU has more than 400 student organizations, including recreational sports clubs such as lacrosse, volleyball, rugby, swimming, and ice hockey. Groups embrace interests from academics, advocacy, athletics and the arts to community service, ethnicity, politics, language studies, and religion. There are dozens of fraternities and sororities.
Each year, several of the Greek organizations at NIU host IFC Tugs, a bracket-style athletic tournament competition similar to tug-of-war with a long history at Northern Illinois University. NIU Tugs was captured on film in a 1996 documentary, Tugs Untied, about NIU's unique version of the sport; the 37-minute documentary won the "Best of Arizona" award at the 2000 Arizona International Film Festival.
Students, faculty and guest artists in NIU's College of Visual and Performing Arts host more than 200 art exhibitions, music concerts and theatrical and dance productions throughout each year. Ticketed events are free of charge to all NIU students.
The NIU Art Museum is located on the main floor of Altgeld Hall and features a number of exhibitions every year including visiting exhibitions, exhibitions from the art museum's collection and from faculty of the NIU School of Art and Design. Jack Arends Hall, the home of the visual arts at NIU features three gallery spaces, the main Jack Olson Gallery, the Annette and Jerry Johns Student Art Gallery and the Backspace Gallery.
NIU's Pick Museum is located in Cole Hall and features works from the university's anthropology collection with a focus on North American native collections and cultural artifacts from throughout Southeast Asia. NIU is home to a large collection of Burmese art, maintained by the university's Center for Burma Studies.
Theres is a School of Art and Design, a School of Music, and a School of Theatre and Dance.
Theatre performances are held in the newly renovated Stevens Building which features four theatre spaces, O'Connell Theatre, a 440-foot proscenium theatre, the 220 seat Sally Stevens Players Theatre, a flexible "Black Box" Theatre that can be configured in many different seating and stage arrangements and the 150 seat Corner Theatre.
The Department of Communication sponsors the annual Reality Bytes Film Festival, created in 2002 by media studies professor Laura Vazquez to give NIU students the ability to competitively screen their work. The 2011 festival received more than 40 entries from across the country and as far away as Cuba, South Africa and Australia.
Main article: Northern Illinois Huskies
NIU was a member of the Illinois Intercollegiate Athletic Conference from 1920 to 1967. Currently, the NIU Huskies compete in NCAA Division I, FBS (I-A) for Football, in the Mid-American Conference.
NIU's athletic department experienced large growth in reputation in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Almost completely unknown to observers from outside of Illinois before the mid-1990s, the Huskies were ranked as high as 10th in the 2003 AP College Football poll after victories against BCS opponents number 14 Maryland (who finished that season at number 17), number 21 Alabama and Iowa State. In 2010, NIU football had its first undefeated MAC regular season (8-0), and cracked the top 25 in Associated Press and coaches' polls. In 2012, NIU football, after winning another MAC Football Championship earned a place in the Orange Bowl and was the first team to participate in a BCS Bowl from the Mid-American Conference.
Main article: List of Northern Illinois University people