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Elmhurst College

Not to be confused with Amherst College.
Elmhurst College
Latin: Collegium Elmhurstiense
Motto In Lumine Tuo Videbimus Lumen
Motto in English
In your light we shall see light
Established 1871
Type Private
Affiliation United Church of Christ
Endowment $94 million[1]
President S. Alan Ray
Academic staff
Undergraduates 3,400
Postgraduates 230
Location Elmhurst, IL, USA
Campus Suburban
Colors Blue and white         
Athletics CCIW
NCAA Division III
18 Varsity Teams
Nickname Template:If empty

Elmhurst College is a comprehensive private liberal arts college in Elmhurst, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, with a tradition of service-oriented learning. It has an affiliation with the United Church of Christ.


Carl Frederick Kranz 1871-1874
Phillip Frederick Meusch 1874-1880
Peter Goebel 1880-1887
Daniel Irion 1887-1919
Herman J. Schick 1919-1924
Helmut Richard Niebuhr 1924-1927
Timothy Lehmann 1928-1948
Henry W. Dinkmeyer 1948-1957
Robert C. Stanger 1957-1965
Donald C. Kleckner 1965-1971
Ivan E. Frick 1971-1994
Bryant L. Cureton 1994-2008
S. Alan Ray 2008–present

In 1871, Jennie and Thomas Bryan gave land in Elmhurst to the German Evangelical Synod of the Northwest. This land was given for the purpose of establishing a school to prepare young men for the theological seminary and to train teachers for parochial schools, called the Elmhurst Proseminary. The first students, who were all male, studied Latin, Greek, English, German, music, history, geography, mathematics, science, and religion. All classes were taught in German. It wasn't until 1917 that the catalog was published in English. In 1919, the name was changed to the Elmhurst Academy and Junior College, and the expanded curriculum included courses in public speaking, physical education, economics, psychology, and the history of education. In 1924, the school was renamed Elmhurst College and became a four-year college for men. The college seal was designed in the 1920s by Robert Leonhardt, first registrar of the College, who also served as coach of the football team. Women first enrolled in 1930. The school was first accredited in 1934. In 1949, Elmhurst College offered its first part-time classes. In 1998, Elmhurst College rolled out the first of a handful of graduate programs, meeting with great success [1].

The Old Main building at Elmhurst College dates to 1878.

The campus is Script error: No such module "convert". in Elmhurst, Illinois, a Chicago suburb. The grounds are painstakingly maintained, and the College boasts an arboretum with more than 700 different species from around the globe [2].

Notable campus buildings

  • The Barbara A. Kieft Accelerator ArtSpace houses a now-defunct 750,000-volt Cockcroft-Walton particle accelerator. Originally built by Dr. Sam Allison, professor of physics at University of Chicago, it was moved to Elmhurst in the late 1960s and opened in 2004. The building is now used primarily as an art exhibition space.[2]
  • The A.C. Buehler Library is home to over 220,000 volumes and a highly regarded collection of Chicago Imagist art. It was renovated in 1993 and 2002 and now contains almost a hundred computers.[3]
  • Daniels Hall, named after Illinois Representative and current professor Lee Daniels, is home to the computer laboratories, the departments of mathematics, computer science and information systems, foreign languages and literatures, and geography and geosciences.[4] The Instructional Media Center, located on the first floor, houses audio-visual material. Daniels Hall also contains several general-purpose classrooms, the Gretsch Recording Studio, the weather station, and specialized laboratories.
  • Constructed in 1911 and named for the fourth president, Irion Hall houses the music department, and the building's Buik Recital Hall is used for Concerts, Recitals, and Lectures.
  • Kranz Forum is the site of a statue of Reinhold Niebuhr, a pre-eminent 20th-century theologian and 1910 graduate of Elmhurst College, and is the site of the first building constructed on the campus. The Niebuhr statue was sculpted by Robert Berks.
  • Memorial Hall houses the Deicke Center for Nursing Education. Formerly Memorial Library, this building was erected in 1921 to honor the 900 young men of the Evangelical Synod who lost their lives in World War I.
  • Built in 1878, Old Main is the oldest building on campus. It contains classrooms, art and religion faculty offices, and art studios. Old Main is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Social justice

At times throughout its history, Elmhurst has been a pioneer on social justice issues.

In 1943, Elmhurst admitted four new students from California—American citizens of Japanese descent, or Nisei—at a time when more than 110,000 people of Japanese descent had been sent to 10 government “relocation centers’’ in desolate regions of the American West. Elmhurst was one of a number of colleges and universities that attempted to right the wrong of the relocation camps by opening its doors to Japanese-American students during World War II. (The U.S. government agreed that the Nisei could enroll in participating schools, provided that they passed an FBI background check.) The Student Refugee Committee, a new campus organization, and President Timothy Lehmann paved the way for the students to enroll—over the vocal opposition of a small group of local residents, including members of the American Legion. The Elmhurst Press ran a front-page editorial with the headline, NO ROOM FOR JAP STUDENTS IN THIS TOWN. But on campus, support for the Nisei was “practically 100 percent,’’ President Lehmann noted at the time.

In the summer of 1966, the College brought Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to the podium of Hammerschmidt Memorial Chapel during Dr. King’s historic, yearlong effort to racially desegregate city and suburban neighborhoods in the Chicago area. The College later established an annual Martin Luther King Jr. Guestship, which examines issues and ideas related to Dr. King’s work.

More recently, in 2011, the College decided to include a question about prospective students’ sexual orientation and gender identity in its admission application.


Elmhurst College offers bachelor's degrees and master's degrees. Approximately 3,400 full-time and part-time students are enrolled in its 22 undergraduate academic departments and nine graduate degree programs. The college offers over 50 majors and allows students the flexibility to create their own.[5] There are eleven required general education courses, but students are given a wide variety of classes to fulfill them [3].

Independent rankings have consistently considered Elmhurst to be a top college in the Midwest.[6][7] In 2004, six years after its inception, the College's master's program in Industrial/Organizational Psychology was ranked as 5th overall in the nation based on student ratings of quality.[8]

Student life


Elmhurst College is a member of the NCAA Division III College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin (CCIW). The Elmhurst Bluejays compete in 18 varsity sports for men and women in bowling, cross country running, soccer, golf, tennis, volleyball, basketball, track and field, softball, football, wrestling, and baseball. Elmhurst was a member of the Illinois Intercollegiate Athletic Conference from 1925 to 1941 and is now a member of the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin. Langhorst field is named in honor of the late Oliver M. Langhorst, class of 1930. Elmhurst College competes in only one club sport, men's rugby.

Student Organizations

Elmhurst College has over 100 different non-athletic student-run organizations [4]. The college's radio station is WRSE-FM and award-winning newspaper is The Leader.

Greek Life

Elmhurst College is home to five social sororities: Alpha Phi, Sigma Kappa, Sigma Lambda Gamma, Kappa Kappa Gamma, and Phi Mu, and three social fraternities: Alpha Sigma Phi, Alpha Tau Omega, and Lambda Chi Alpha. Elmhurst College also has active chapters of the male music fraternity Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia and female music fraternity Sigma Alpha Iota. Fraternities and sororities do not have houses on or off campus.

Residence life

The Frick Center houses lounges, dining facilities, a game room, the mailroom, meeting rooms, and radio station WRSE (88.7mHz). The offices of the Student Government Association, Union Board, the yearbook, the college newspaper, Student Affairs and Student Activities, and the Writing Center also are in this building. Formerly known as the College Union, this building was renamed in 1994 to honor the College's eleventh president, Dr. Ivan E. Frick, and his wife, Ruth Hudson Frick.

Students who live on campus reside in six residence halls:

  • Dinkmeyer Hall, built in 1956, is named for the eighth president of the College and also houses the drop-in child care center.
  • Niebuhr Hall houses a wellness center, which includes student health services and counseling services.
  • North Hall, opened in 1999, and rededicated in 2010 as Cureton Hall, also houses the Brinkmeier Vista Lounge and the School for Advanced Learning as well as conference and meeting facilities. The building included new facilities for the Office of Residence Life, which remained there from 1999 through 2008 when new facilities were built into West Hall.
  • Schick Hall, built in 1922 and expanded in 1967 and 1970, is named for Herman Schick, the fifth president of the college.
  • Stanger Hall, built in 1968, is named for the ninth president of the college.
  • West Hall, completed for use in 2008 at a cost of $23,677,000, is a spacious all-suite residence hall originally designed to house 170 upper-level students. Each suite contains 2-3 separate bedrooms, private bathrooms, ample storage space, multiple vanities, and a spacious living room, complete with blue accent walls. The Script error: No such module "convert". building proved insufficient to correct an ongoing housing shortage. Within a year of its completion, college residence policy was amended disallowing students of senior credit status to reside in on-campus residence halls. West Hall now houses junior-level students.

Senior students are able to reside in campus apartments which include the Elm Park apartments (with housing for 28), the Prospect apartments (with housing for 32), and the Elmhurst Terrace apartments (roughly Script error: No such module "convert". southwest of campus) -- though exceptions have been made.


The college hash bell is a large handbell rung at Elmhurst College ceremonies as a reminder of the long history of the College. This is the bell that kept the school on schedule in its early years, and generations of alumni have recalled fondly the loud clanging that woke students in the morning, assembled them for classes and activities, and then called them from their chores to dinner in the evening. One of the earliest Elmhurst catalogs declares: "Life in the institution is regulated entirely by the stroke of the bell." Why it came to be called "the Hash Bell" remains a mystery.

Mill Theatre was acquired by Elmhurst College in the early 1960s. Before becoming the primary theatrical space for the college, the single story building functioned as the molding mill for the Hammerschmidt lumber operations. Legend has it that David Payne, Technical Director during the 1970s, died and haunts the theatre and scene shop. The theatre itself is a thrust space with seating for 180. Thanks to the support of alumni and the college, recent improvements include a new lighting system, sound system, ventilation, and stage. The summer of 2012 brought a $250,000 renovation of the lobby, doubling its size, and include the addition of a new box office, public restrooms and renovated theatre seating. [5]

The Victory Bell is a large bell located in the corner of Langhorst Field, which is rung by every member of the team, after every football victory.

Selected signatures and dates can be seen inside the clock tower in Old Main, some dating back to the founding years of the college's history. It has remained a rare occasion when students are allowed access, and it is a coveted prize to be able to add your own name.

The college was given the original nativity scene from the movie Home Alone, which is displayed each year during the holiday season.

Notable persons

Notes and references

External links