Illinois Wesleyan University - History

History

Illinois Wesleyan University was founded in 1850 by a diverse group of 30 civic and religious leaders who came together to establish "an Institution of learning of Collegiate grade." When a sponsor was needed, the founders gained support from the United Methodist Church, which is how "Wesleyan" was added to the original name, "Illinois University." While maintaining its Methodist affiliation, Illinois Wesleyan continues to be a diverse and inclusive community, independent in its governance.

Illinois Wesleyan’s tradition of engaging its students inside and outside the classroom dates back to its earliest days when explorer-geologist John Wesley Powell, a founder of the National Geographic Society, joined the faculty in 1865. A pioneer of using field work in teaching science, Powell in 1867 took Illinois Wesleyan students to Colorado's mountains — one of the first expeditions of its kind in U.S. higher education.

The liberal arts and sciences have been at the foundation of Illinois Wesleyan's curriculum since its inception, and the fine arts were taught from its earliest years in the 19th century.

In 2005, the Undergraduate Economic Review was formed. The first of its kind, the journal is a peer-managed, open access Economics publication that features original content from undergraduate students both in the U.S. and at least 15 other countries. Published papers cover a variety of Economics-related topics, ranging from labor and monetary policy issues, to game theory frameworks.

On May 15, 2009, the University announced the beginning of its "Transforming Lives" fundraising campaign. The campaign aims to raise $125,000,000 to create endowed faculty positions, increase the number of grants and scholarships to students, create an expanded Theatre Arts Complex, a new Center for Instruction, and new student housing.

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