The private liberal arts college Illinois Wesleyan University was founded in 1850 by a group of thirty civic and religious leaders in Bloomington, Illinois. They wanted to establish “an institution of learning of collegiate grade” in the beautiful town of Bloomington, which they figured was an excellent environment for higher learning amongst the fields and open spaces of Illinois. The founders imagined an oasis of higher education in the middle of the country where students could find the best educational environment in the area. The founders sought support and sponsors, and the local United Methodist Church stepped up to help, which is why “Wesleyan” is attached to the name. IWU maintains its Methodist affiliation to this day, but its governance is independent, and the student body remains inclusive and diverse.
Soon after IWU was founded, the explorer and geologist John Wesley Powell joined the faculty. Powell wanted to teach students in the field, and before he went on to found the National Geographic Society, he taught students in the wild, and led an unprecedented trip for college students to the Colorado mountains for fieldwork. Throughout its history, IWU has maintained a reputation for excellent liberal arts and sciences education, with those subjects forming the foundation of the IWU curriculum throughout its history. Today, IWU still offers an excellent liberal arts education and is ranked among the top 40 institutions in the country for study abroad programs.
Eric Gilbert moved from Deerfield, IL to Bloomington to attend IWU. He writes a sports column for the campus newspaper The Argus, is the paper’s Sports Editor and competes on the soccer team. In addition to writing for the paper and playing soccer, Gilbert is focused on his studies. He earned a place on the Dean’s List and hopes to pursue a minor in English to use his writing skills.
Illinois Wesleyan University is a private, independent, liberal arts college in Bloomington, Illinois. Illinois Wesleyan offers students a wide range of unique opportunities designed to immerse them in the best liberal arts education possible. In addition to offering students an excellent education in liberal arts, fine arts, and nursing, Illinois Wesleyan is ranked in the top 40 institutions for study abroad opportunities, with study abroad options in seventy countries throughout the world. IWU also offers a UN semester, a semester in Washington, DC, and at the Chicago Center. IWU has strong relationships with Pembroke College in Oxford and offers classes in Barcelona and the United Kingdom.
IWU offers a unique classroom experience called May Term. Any student who has completed a full course load in either Spring or Fall Semester can enroll in a condensed, three-week course during the month of May. Students spend several hours a day in class every weekday and complete an entire semester of class credits in three weeks. May Terms immerse students into their chosen class in a short amount of time; curriculum for these courses are very flexible, with service projects, study abroad opportunities, and internships available to all May Term participants.
The IWU Ames Library is one of the best and most comprehensive in the area, containing over 368,000 volumes throughout its five floors. Some of the special collections in the Ames Library include the papers of former US Congressman Leslie C. Arends, a collection of Gernon first editions of detective fiction and mysteries, and the Schultz collection of Romantic-era British Dramas.
Eric Gilbert of Deerfield, IL currently attends Illinois Wesleyan University, is Sports Editor and writes for the student paper, The Argus as a sports reporter. Gilbert plays for the IWU soccer team and landed on the Dean’s List his first year.