History of the University

Northeastern Illinois University traces its origin to the beginnings of teacher training in Illinois. Founded in September, 1867 in Blue Island as the Normal School, Cook County’s first teacher training school, the institution has evolved into the comprehensive university that it is today. Its main campus, located at 5500 North St. Louis Avenue, opened in 1961 and was then called, Chicago Teachers College North.

In 1961, total enrollment was 1,348 students, who pursued Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degrees although the major concentration was primarily in education. Throughout the 1960s, enrollment increased, programs were expanded, and the institution’s mission broadened. In 1971, with a total enrollment of approximately 7,000, the college became Northeastern Illinois University.

Today, the 67-acre main campus is an attractively landscaped urban oasis near the north branch of the Chicago River. Its location eight miles northwest of downtown Chicago, only 20 minutes from O’Hare Airport, and convenient to expressways and public transportation, makes it an ideal campus for commuter students.

The main campus consists of 18 modern buildings of more than 1,000,000 square feet. Instruction is supported by technology-enhanced as well as conventional classrooms, a modern four-story library with access to local, regional and Internet resources and a wide assortment of traditional and computer laboratories. A redesigned Student Union, a modern Physical Education Complex and a state-of-the-art Fine Arts Center, containing both academic and performance space, complete the opportunities for students to attain an excellent, well-rounded education. Satellite campuses El Centro, the Jacob Carruthers Center for Inner City Studies, and the Multi-University Center in Lake County enhance the University’s ability to serve the entire metropolitan area.

Northeastern is a 21st-century learning community that is richly diverse in ethnicity, culture, age, and language with a strong commitment to raising global awareness and understanding. Northeastern provides a high quality, affordable education through low tuition as well as scholarships and financial aid opportunities for both full- and part-time students.