Chicago State University opened its doors as a teacher training school in a leaky
railroad freight car in Blue Island, Illinois on September 2, 1867. Today, in contrast,
the university is a fully accredited public, urban institution located on 161-picturesque
acres in a residential community on the Southside of Chicago. During the first year
of its founding, CSU enrolled 62 students. The current student enrollment is nearly
The path from then until now has been marked by change. During more than 140 years,
CSU has changed its name, focus, governance and location. But with each transition,
the university has kept sight of its educational mission and enhanced its services
to Chicago and its surrounding communities.
Under the name of Cook County Normal School, the school found its first permanent
home in 1870. Daniel S. Wentworth was the institution’s first principal. The original
building contained 27 rooms and a model grammar school. A few years later, Cook County
Normal School added a dormitory that earned it a jump in enrollment and a national
reputation. The school was acquired by the Chicago Board of Education in 1897, and
renamed Chicago Normal School. In 1913, it became Chicago Normal College, and still
later Chicago Teachers College.
A major change, reflected in a broadening of the college’s curriculum, came in 1965,
when control of the school passed into the hands of the State of Illinois. The revamped
institution was renamed Illinois Teachers College: Chicago South. Soon after, the
legislature acted to remove the title of “teachers college” from all state colleges
and universities. In 1967, the school became Chicago State College. Throughout the
1960s, Chicago State expanded its academic programs and began to move toward fulfilling
its new, more comprehensive role as a liberal arts institution. The school was renamed
Chicago State University in 1971.
In November 1972, the university made the monumental move from its 6800 South Stewart
Street campus, where it had been located for 102 years, to its present location at
9501 South King Drive, 12 miles from the Loop. A new student union and a 360-bed residence
hall opened in August 1995, giving CSU students an opportunity to experience the convenience
of living on campus in an enriched academic, social and cultural environment.
Today, CSU is governed by a Board of Trustees appointed by the Governor of Illinois.
The university’s five colleges- Health Sciences, Arts and Science, Business, Education,
and Pharmacy - offer 38 undergraduate and 30 graduate degree-granting programs. In
addition, CSU has a Division of Continuing Education and Non-Traditional Programs
that reach out to the community with extension courses, distance learning and not-for-credit
From its humble origins, Chicago State University has evolved into an outstanding,
nationally acclaimed university that provides a value-added education for all who
enter its hallowed halls. Consistently evolving to reflect state-of-the-art trends
in higher education, Chicago State University prepares students for success in the