Founded in 1857 Illinois State University is the first public university of Illinois and Abraham Lincoln acted as the attorney for the board. Illinois State University’s campus is in the twin-city community of Bloomington-Normal near the geographic center of the state, 137 miles southwest of Chicago and 164 miles northeast of St. Louis. The University is one of 12 public universities in Illinois. Its academic departments offer more than 160 major/minor options in the Colleges of Applied Science and Technology, Arts and Sciences, Business, Education, Fine Arts, and Mennonite College of Nursing. The Graduate School coordinates 41 master’s, specialist, and doctoral programs. The University´s academic programs are supported by the service and collections of Milner Library, which contains more than three million holdings and special collections.
Illinois State is accredited by the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education of the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools. The total enrollment is 21,039 students. More than 58% of undergraduate students come from the Chicago area and undergraduate and graduate students from 46 states and territories and 72 different countries. The University conferred 5,392 degrees in 2016. The University has 3,552 employees from which 1,210 are departmental faculty.
Illinois State made U.S. News & World Report’s 2017 ranking of America’s best public national universities, at No. 78, based on academic quality and excellence. Additionally, Illinois State was ranked by College Factual as the 22nd Best College for the Money out of 1,200 universities across the United States. The University’s College Town in Bloomington-Normal ranks as one of the top 10 college towns in the United States based on its quality of life and arts and entertainment opportunities. Illinois State was named a Great College to Work For by The Chronicle of Higher Education.