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*Chicago State University began conducting classes on this date in 1867. They are one of over 100 Historical Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) in America.
They opened their doors as a teacher training school in a railroad freight car in Blue Island, Illinois. 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. One year later, the university moved 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 1995, giving CSU students an opportunity to experience the convenience of living on campus in an enriched academic, social and cultural environment. Currently, CSU is governed by a Board of Trustees appointed by the Governor of Illinois. The university’s four colleges- Health Science, Arts and Science, Business, and Education offer 36 undergraduate and 19 graduate degree-granting programs.
Also, 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 programs. From its beginnings, Chicago State University has evolved into an outstanding, nationally acclaimed university that provides a value-added education for all who enter its classrooms. Consistently evolving to reflect state-of-the-art trends in higher education, Chicago State University moves, with confidence, into the twenty-first century.
Today the university is a fully accredited public, urban institution located on 161-picturesque acres in a residential community on the Southside of Chicago. During its first year, CSU enrolled 62 students. The current student enrollment is nearly 7,200. The path from then until now has been marked by much change. for over 150 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.