Eastern Illinois University was founded as a teacher training school in 1895 under the name of Eastern Illinois State Normal School. The institution had multiple name changes as it broadened its curriculum and began offering degree programmes.
The university logo depicts Old Main, the oldest building on campus. It was designed by the architect George H Miller in the style of a medieval castle, with turrets and a rampart-like roof. It was opened in 1899.
The four colleges at the university are: Arts and Humanities, Business and Applied Sciences, Education and Professional Studies and Science.
Environmentalism has a strong profile at the university. Its renewable energy centre provides electricity to the campus and is one of the country’s largest biomass fuel facilities. The university’s Clean Energy Research and Education facility’s mission is to enable students and staff to study new initiatives in renewable energy.
Campus life is very active, with 180 student organisations and 30 sororities and fraternities. Clubs range from jive dance to Japanese animation and from Spanish to soccer.
Famous Eastern alumni include the Chicago Bears manager Ryan Pace, journalist Ted Gregory and Vermont Supreme Court Justice Marilyn Skoglund.
The university is based in Charleston, Illinois. The decision to open the school in Charleston proved controversial with the nearby town of Mattoon, which had led the campaign to open a teaching school in the county. Mattoon residents resented the fruit of their labour being located in a different town.