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Chicago is chock full of colleges and universities, which means that Chicago is also packed with students. The city has something for everyone, whether you love sports or the outdoors, the arts, or nightlife. The L train can help you get around and see the sights of the city. There are numerous boutiques, museums, restaurants, parks, and music venues, and of course, there’s the famous Bean (its actual name is Cloud Gate), located in Millennium Park. Whatever course of study brings you to the windy city, you won’t be disappointed by the variety of things to do and try.
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Chicago has a plethora of colleges and universities, whether you’re there for undergrad studies, or to pursue graduate work or certificates. Many of its schools can trace their roots back to the 19th century. With such a rich history, is there any question why someone might pick a Chicago university? Here are some of the most popular universities and colleges in Chicago.
Loyola University Chicago was founded by the Jesuits in 1870, and its motto is Ad majorem Dei Gloriam, which is the motto of the Jesuits. It means “For the greater glory of God”. When the university was initially founded, it was named St. Ignatius College, for Ignatius, the founder of the Jesuits. In 1912 it began its move to the current campus and over the next 20 years, it added several professional schools. Today, the university boasts three campuses, in addition to a retreat center and gardens. In 2016, the university selected its first female President. The school has 7 LEED-certified (three silver and four gold) buildings, and all new buildings will be LEED-certified.
University of Illinois at Chicago traces its earliest roots back to 1859, with the Chicago College of Pharmacy. In 1913, that school, along with several others, was incorporated as the Colleges of Medicine, Dentistry, and Pharmacy. After several other iterations and additions, the professional colleges became known as University of Illinois at Chicago Circle in 1965. The school’s current name (UIC) came about in the eighties when two of the campuses consolidated. Currently, there are over 16 colleges in the university and over 33,000 students enrolled. Their mascot is Sparky D. Dragon! They offer 86 different undergraduate programs, and nearly 200 graduate programs.
Across its campuses, University of Chicago has nearly 300 acres of land; the main campus is located in the Hyde Park area of Chicago, across 200+ acres. John Rockefeller was one of the main initial contributors towards the founding of the school in 1890. He contributed $600,000 (equivalent to more than $25 million today). The school’s motto is “Let knowledge grow from more to more; and so be human life enriched.” Many of its original buildings were designed in the Gothic style, mirroring Oxford and Cambridge buildings. The University is known for its research breakthroughs, such as “discovering the link between cancer and genetics.”
DePaul University is the nation’s largest Catholic University, with over 22,000 students from all 50 states and 114 countries. The university was founded in 1898 by the Vincentians in a renovated church building (St. Vincent’s) with seven faculty members. The Vincentians are an order that was founded by St. Vincent de Paul in the 1600s. It has two campuses today, across 36 acres. The school’s motto reflects its Vincentian heritage: “I will show you the way of wisdom.” Originally the school was called St. Vincent’s College; it was rechartered in 1907 and accepted its first woman in 1911.
Northeastern Illinois University was established in 1867 as a teachers’ school: the Normal School (in Cook County). The school has had various names and locations over the years, but its commitment to teaching has remained the same since its inception. Its current name came about in 1971, when the state legislature granted it a charter for university status. The school, today, has roughly 10,000 students, and is a public university. Its main campus is located on 67 acres, however the university purchased the Gensburg-Markham Prairie in the 70s. That prairieland consists of about 100 acres. There are three satellite campuses throughout various Chicago neighborhoods.
Chicago State University, like Northeastern Illinois University, traces its roots to the establishment of the 1867 Normal School (in Cook County). The Normal School had multiple campuses and in 1971, three of them became NEI and the location on the South Side became CSU. The university’s student body is largely composed of a black and African American community. The school today has about 3000 students and has faced some financial challenges over the past 10 years. These culminated in a new president being installed in 2018: Zaldwaynaka Scott, Esq. The school’s mascot is the cougar and they offer 56 programs of study.