North Central College
|Affiliation||United Methodist Church|
|President||Troy D. Hammond, Ph.D.|
|Location||Naperville, Illinois, United States|
|Colors||Cardinal red and white|
|Affiliations||College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin|
|Mascot||Chippy the Cardinal|
North Central College is a private liberal arts college located in the historic district of Naperville, Illinois, US. It is affiliated with the United Methodist Church having nearly 70 areas of study in undergraduate majors, minors and programs through 19 academic departments organized in three undergraduate colleges/schools (College of Arts and Sciences, School of Business and Entrepreneurship, School of Education and Health Sciences) and a masters program (School of Graduate and Professional Studies). Unlike most colleges, it utilizes a trimester-based academic calendar.
North Central College was founded in 1861 as Plainfield College in Plainfield, Illinois. Classes were first held on November 11 of that year. On February 15, 1864, the Board of Trustees changed the name of the school to North-Western College. The college moved to Naperville in 1870 and the name was again changed in 1926 to North Central College.
In June of 2017, North Central College acquired Shimer and instituted the Shimer Great Books School of North Central College.
North Central College is just 30 minutes from the Chicago Loopwhich allows students to have internships, jobs and other opportunities in Chicago.
The college is located on a 65-acre (24 ha) campus in downtown Naperville on Chicago Avenue.
In the early 1900s College President Herman J. Kiekhoefer and Judge John S. Goodwin initiated contact with philanthropist Andrew Carnegie to seek out funds for new facilities on campus. Carnegie agreed to donate $25,000 (approximately $679,059 in the current consumer price index) to then North-Western College for a new library building. Carnegie Library, as it was formerly called, was one of only a few academic libraries in Illinois that received funding from Carnegie. The building still exists on campus today and is now known as Carnegie Hall.
Pfeiffer Hall is North Central College's oldest fine arts building. The 4,500-square-foot building was built in 1926 and seats 1,057. This structure has been historically used by the college to screen films and host lectures, debates, and theatrical productions. Today Pfeiffer Hall continues to host events such as these along with live performances by popular music artists and comedians.
In 2008, North Central College dedicated the $30 million Wentz Concert Hall and Fine Arts Center. Designed by the Chicago architectural firm of Loebl Schlossman & Hackl, the 57,000-square-foot (5,300 m2) facility was planned and sited with the needs of both the College and the Naperville community in mind. Plans evolved over a 15-year period, driven by explosive growth in the college’s music, theatre and art programs, as well as the parallel transformation of the city’s downtown, which has brought more than 50 restaurants, numerous national stores and the first four- and five-story buildings within a few blocks of the North Central campus.
The concert hall is named in honor of Myron Wentz, Class of 1963. Nearly $10 million in gifts from Wentz — a scientist, entrepreneur, and music lover — over the past two years have brought the facility to center stage. Plans for a new fine arts center were put on hold a decade ago when a devastating flood in Naperville forced the college to turn its attention to its damaged athletic complex instead.
In addition to Wentz Concert Hall, the Fine Arts Center also features the Madden Theatre, which is a 150-seat “black box” experimental theatre that can double as a dance studio and a facility to provide much needed music rehearsal space, practice rooms and offices. The center also houses a spacious lobby, a kitchen facility and the Schoenherr Art Gallery (all supportive of major civic gatherings).
The re-dedication of Meiley-Swallow Hall, the old Grace Evangelical Church at Ellsworth Street and Van Buren Avenue, was a highlight during the 2007 Homecoming weekend. In 2005, the college embraced the opportunity to preserve a part of Naperville and North Central history by acquiring the former Grace Evangelical Church. The 95-year-old structure was erected by the same denomination that founded North Central College and an addition to the college's art and theatre programs. Special features of this building include nearly 23,000 square feet (2,100 m2) of space, much-needed art display area, a 225-seat thrust stage theatre, and additional office space.
During the 2013-2014 year, the average high school GPA of admitted students was 3.6. For the 2015-2016 academic year, North Central had an acceptance rate of 57% for first year students, while the acceptance rate for transfers was 50%.
As of 2013, U.S. News & World Report lists North Central College as one of only two regionally ranked colleges in Illinois with the distinction of being "more selective", the other being Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois. Each year, North Central ranks among the top schools in the nation in the number of students to present at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research and hosts its own Rall Symposium for Undergraduate Research.
North Central College garnered recognition as a top producer of Fulbright students for 2014-2015. The college is one of five schools in the world recognized with a 2015 Senator Paul Simon Award for Comprehensive Internationalization. In the 2007 through 2017 editions of the U.S. News & World Report "Best Colleges Rankings", North Central College is ranked in the top 20 Regional Universities (Midwest) as well as a "Best College for Veterans". Forbes magazine has rated North Central College among the top 20 percent of the nation’s colleges and universities, through the 2010-2015 ranking editions.
North Central has all-college requirements, which include an intercultural seminar, a leadership, ethics and values seminar, and a religion and ethics course, which are important components to the integrative curriculum. The general education program enables students to have an interdisciplinary approach to courses, connecting science, politics, business, arts, and other areas. The core areas emphasize written and oral communication, critical thinking and reasoning.
Faculty and students collaborate across every field of study through year-round faculty-directed research, on-campus seminars, fieldwork and independent study. This provides students the opportunity of independent study, which consists of proposing a subject or area of study that is not in the catalogue of courses. A student-created plan of study must be approved by a faculty member. North Central College has additional opportunities for individual work, such as the Richter Independent Study Grants and the Honors program's Senior Honors Thesis. Students are encouraged to study abroad, with opportunities on five continents from three-week courses to full-time term-long or full-year programs. Service learning at North Central includes community-based projects, courses and athletic programs with service-learning components, and an alternative spring break program that sends hundreds of students out to support service projects such as building homes for Habitat for Humanity and rebuilding communities hit by hurricanes and tornadoes.
Arts and media
North Central College offers majors like Music, Theatre, Musical Theatre and the most recently created, Theatrical Design and Technology. It has four theatre venues, Madden Theatre, Wentz Concert Hall, Meiley Swallow Hall and Pfeiffer Hall. Madden Theatre is a 150-seat, black box theater which hosts college performances and visiting guests, including concerts, cabaret-style revues, theater, film and dance performances.
Wentz Concert Hall has a capacity of 617 spectators, and is home to performances of classical, jazz and contemporary music. The acoustics in Wentz Concert Hall were designed by Talaske Sound Thinking, acoustical consultants for Chicago’s critically acclaimed Pritzker Pavilion at Millennium Park. The venue also is ideally suited for recording. Wentz Concert Hall, which was created in honor of alumnus and donor Myron W. Wentz, has hosted a performers like cellist Yo-Yo Ma; Lyric Opera of Chicago soloist Elizabeth Futral; the Chicago Symphony Orchestra; jazz legends Herb Alpert, Herbie Hancock and Ramsey Lewis; and contemporary artists Béla Fleck and the Flecktones, Colbie Caillat and Los Lonely Boys.
The hall is the west suburban home of the Chicago Sinfonietta, and the home of the DuPage Symphony Orchestra. It is an incomparable venue to showcase bands, orchestras and choirs of area high schools, as well as the college’s multitude of musical ensembles and soloists. The Canadian quintet Canadian Brass, formed by Gene Watts and Charles Daellenbach, is a recurring guest at the hall.
The Pfeiffer Hall is the biggest theatre venue, with a capacity of 1,057 people and a large proscenium stage. When it opened, it was the largest theatre in the western suburbs of Chicago. Martin Luther King, Jr., Robert Frost and Henry Kissinger, have been guest speakers. This hall also provides classrooms for the music and theatre programs, and faculty offices for North Central’s speech communication department.
The Meiley-Swallow Hall has a capacity of 239 people and is suitable for intimate theatre productions, panel discussions, presentations and speakers. The theatre is located inside Meiley-Swallow Hall, formerly Grace Evangelical Church and former Central Baptist Church, purchased by North Central College and renovated to house North Central College’s fine arts performance, exhibit and curricular programs. It has a partnership with the Anderson's Bookshops in Naperville, and thanks to it, authors like Bill Bryson, Garth Stein and Antonio Sacre have been guest speakers.
The 2000 production of The Pirates of Penzance was selected to perform at Kennedy Center American College Theatre's Region III Festival. Productions of Ken Ludwig's Moon Over Buffalo and Schmidt and Jones' musical Philemon were both chosen to perform at the festival's "Evening of Scenes" in 2004 and 2005. The 2007 production of Thoroughly Modern Millie was selected as a regional finalist from more than 1,300 productions. The 2009 season featured a production of Cats, and in 2010 North Central became one of the first college theaters in the nation to stage a production of Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera.
In 2016, the college launched their Brilliant Future campaign, which at the heart lie the construction of the college's new science center.  The college added several new science majors including neuroscience and health science. North Central's new science building opened in 2017.
There are 12 residence halls at North Central College, eight of which are traditional while four are apartments and suites.
College radio station
North Central College is home to radio station WONC-FM 89.1. It is student-run, and is part of both the Broadcast Communication and Media Studies programs. The station helps students pursue careers in both on-the-air and behind-the-scenes roles. It airs music and talk shows, traffic reports, coverage and broadcast of sports events, and public service announcements. In 1974, WONC received the Billboard Magazine Radio Station of the Year Award. In March 2015, it won the Best College Radio station award. No other college radio station has garnered more Marconi College Radio Awards than WONC. It was awarded the 2015 Intercollegiate Broadcasting System Abraham and Borst Best College Station in the Nation.
North Central College's mascot is the Cardinal, in tradition of the bird's habitat in Illinois. The school competes in NCAA Division III and the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin (CCIW). It sponsors 22 sports and has won 30 team national championships, 26 NCAA and 4 NAIA. North Central athletes have won 115 individual national championships. The total number of national championships puts the college at eighth on the all-time list for most national championships. North Central is the only school in the CCIW to win a national championship in four different sports. Since joining the CCIW, North Central has won 164 conference titles along with 14 CCIW postseason tournament titles.
North Central College was a member of the Illinois Intercollegiate Athletic Conference from 1927 to 1937.
The college is best known for its men's track and field and cross country teams, which have won 25 national championships. For the 2009-2010 school year, the men's cross country and indoor/outdoor track teams swept the NCAA Division III Championships. North Central is only the second school in Division III history to accomplish this feat. During the 2011-2012 school year, the men's indoor track team repeated again as national champions, and the cross country team repeated as national champions. The campus has also hosted past NCAA Division III national events.
North Central's women's basketball team won the 1983 NCAA Women's Division III Basketball Championship in an 83-71 win over then-defending champions, Elizabethtown College.
Athletic facilities include Benedetti-Wehrli Stadium, which seats 5,500, was completed in 1999. The Jay and Dot Buikema track was resurfaced in 1997 and a Safeplay Plus artificial playing surface was installed in 2011. The stadium has hosted numerous high-profile events, including the Illinois high school boys and girls soccer state finals and the Wes Spencer Crosstown Classic, the annual showdown between Naperville North and Naperville Central high schools. It also served as the temporary home of the Chicago Fire for two seasons while Chicago's Soldier Field was reconstructed. In summer 2009, the stadium hosted an outdoor concert by the band Lifehouse.
North Central College’s baseball facility, Zimmerman Stadium, which includes Alumni Field, was dedicated in 1999. The home of Cardinal baseball has permanent seating for 750 fans and a fully enclosed and wireless press box. The facility has hosted the Illinois High School Baseball Coaches Association summer state tournament and Major League Baseball’s RBI World Series and Area Code tryouts.
Cardinal softball plays at Shanower Family Field. In April 2002, the field was dedicated to honor the family of Don Shanower, beloved professor emeritus of speech communication and theatre and enthusiastic softball fan. The dedication took on added meaning after the Shanowers' son Dan, a commander in the U.S. Navy, was among the victims of the September 11 terrorist attack on the Pentagon. The field has hosted an NCAA III regional tournament and was part of Major League Baseball’s RBI World Series.
Merner Field House is home to Cardinal indoor sports except track and field, with 2,000 seats in Gregory Arena for the basketball and volleyball teams. On the second floor of Merner Field House is Nichols Gymnasium, home to the North Central College wrestling team. The college’s swimming pool is also located in the Field House.
The Residence Hall/Recreation Center opened in the fall of 2009. This combination residential hall and 91,000-square-foot (8,500 m2) recreational center also contains a regulation NCAA 200-meter running track and is home to the Cardinal indoor track team. The Res/Rec Center has won national acclaim due to its environmentally conscious design. The facility, with its innovative geothermal heating and cooling system and other sustainability features, has been awarded LEED Silver Certification.
- Joe Birkett, DuPage County State's Attorney 1996-2010, Illinois Appellate Court judge
- Dick Blick, swimmer, 1960 Olympic gold medalist
- James Henry Breasted, Egyptologist
- Levert Carr, football player
- Marc Chandler, political economist, foreign exchange market analyst, writer and speaker
- Satyan Devadoss, mathematician, writer and college professor
- Alvin C. Eurich, first President of the State University of New York
- Harris W. Fawell, U.S. Representative
- John Warne Gates, Gilded Age industrialist, promoter of barbed wire
- John Giannini, head basketball coach, La Salle University
- Anthony Gomez, professional mixed martial artist and kickboxer, also NCAA Division III wrestler with North Central College in 2003
- Corwin C. Guell, Wisconsin state assemblyman
- Dennis Hastert, former U.S. Representative and Speaker of the House (attended, but later graduated from Wheaton College); Hastert spoke at the College's graduation in 2004
- Nicholas Hood, American Congregational minister, Civil Rights activist and politician, first African American to receive a degree from North Central College
- Cynthia Jele, South African novelist, winner of the Commonwealth Writers' Prize
- Kevin Manno, host of MTV show The Seven, former on-air personality at WKQX Chicago (Q101)
- F. L. Maytag, appliance company founder
- Steve Joslyn, college baseball coach
- Sherrill Milnes, opera baritone; attended North Central before transferring to Drake and Northwestern universities; was awarded an honorary doctorate from North Central in 2006
- Jena Morrow, writer and activist of health and body image
- ArLynn Leiber Presser, writer and graduate of Northwestern Law School
- David Rall, scientist, cancer specialist and leader in environmental health
- Mildred Rebstock, chemist, developed the world’s first synthetically engineered antibiotic, chloromycetin.
- Wayne Randazzo, broadcaster for the New York Mets, ESPN and the Big Ten Network
- Gordon St. Angelo, former chairman of the Indiana Democratic Party
- Sandra Schaeffer, singer, author and game inventor
- John S. Stamm, bishop of Evangelical Church
- Orrin Tucker, bandleader
- Myron W. Wentz, founder of USANA Health Sciences
- Harold A. Zahl, physicist who had a 35-year career with the U.S. Army Signal Corps Laboratories
- As of June 30, 2013. "NCSE Public Tables Endowment Market Values" (PDF). Retrieved 2014-08-22.
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