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Bradley University


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BRADLEY UNIVERSITY is a top-ranked private university in Peoria, Illinois that offers 5,400 undergraduate and graduate students opportunities and resources of a larger university and the personal attention and exceptional learning experience of a smaller university. Bradley offers more than 185 undergraduate and graduates academic programs in business, communications, education, engineering, fine arts, health sciences, liberal arts and sciences, and technology.
Bradley is within three hours driving distance from Chicago, St. Louis, and Indianapolis, and is also accessible by air. The O'Hare and Midway bus service provides easy transportation between major Chicago airports and the Bradley campus. Alternatively, better yet, fly directly to General Wayne A. Downing Peoria International Airport, which provides daily jet service from Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, and Minneapolis-St. Paul.
Bradley University empowers students for immediate and sustained success in their personal and professional endeavors by combining professional preparation, liberal arts and sciences, and co-curricular experiences. Alongside our dedication to students, we embrace the generation, application, and interpretation of knowledge.
At the heart of Bradley University is a community built upon the valued relationships we find in each other as students, staff, faculty, administrators, and alumni. At the core of these relationships are the values of student success, knowledge and discovery, inclusiveness and connectivity, and excellence.
We are a community that ensures student access to an individualized learning experience. This is characterized by broad opportunities for students to marry their passions and skills, by innovative academic programming, and by an exceptional level of engagement between students, staff, and faculty, such that all students acquire the skills and dispositions essential to purposeful and productive living.
We are a community that prioritizes academic excellence by nurturing critical inquiry, research, creativity, and technical skills development. We work collaboratively to engage learners in high-impact practices, scholarship, and leadership development opportunities to foster lives of purpose and advance a better world.
We are a community that strives to contribute meaningfully to understanding and resolving the problems around us. By embracing servant leadership, purposeful civil discourse, and an inclusive identity whereby we understand that our differences are our strengths, we lend our passions and knowledge to build valued relationships with local, regional, and global partners.
We are a dynamic community committed to the continuous pursuit of excellence. As individuals, as units, and across campus, we welcome mutual accountability. We are strengthened by our shared, collaborative efforts to ensure that we are each exceptional and passionate stewards of Bradley University.
With more than 185 academic programs, we're bound to have a starting point to your career goals. From expertise in engineering to the fine arts, our degrees open the door to unexpected opportunities.
On April 10, 1897, the ground was broken for Bradley Hall. What had been a prairie-land cornfield was transformed into a seat of learning because of the remarkable courage, strength, and determination of one woman, Mrs. Lydia Moss Bradley. Lydia Moss Bradley had seen all of her hopes, ambitions, and dreams for her six children end in their untimely deaths. Tobias Bradley and her husband had devoted much time, though, and discussion to how their wealth might be used as a fitting memorial to their deceased offspring and considered establishing an orphanage.
In October 1896, Mrs. Bradley was convinced by Dr. William Rainey Harper, president of the University of Chicago, to move ahead with her plans and establish the school during her lifetime. Bradley Polytechnic Institute was chartered on November 13, 1896. Mrs. Bradley initially provided seventeen and a half acres of land funds for two campus buildings, including laboratory equipment and library books and annual operating expenses.
Contracts for Bradley Hall and Horology Hall (later renamed Westlake) were awarded, and work moved ahead quickly. Fourteen faculty and 150 students began classes in Bradley Hall on October 4, 1897–with 500 workers still hammering away. (The Horological Department added another eight faculty and 70 students.) Bradley Polytechnic Institute was formally dedicated on October 8, 1897. Its first graduate, in June 1898, was Corinne Unland.
By 1899, 350 pupils in the School of Arts and Science at Bradley were about equally divided between men and women. The instruction was offered in biology, chemistry, food work, sewing, English, German, French, Latin, Greek, history, manual arts, drawing, mathematics, and physics. Pleased with its progress, Mrs. Bradley transferred to the school the rest of her estate, including nearly 1,000 different property pieces, reserving its use and profits during her lifetime. At Founder's Day in 1906, she announced an additional gift to build Hewitt Gymnasium, now Hartmann Center for the Performing Arts. Mrs. Bradley died on January 16, 1908, at the age of 91.
The Institute continued to grow and develop to meet the educational needs of the region. Bradley became a four- year college offering bachelor's degrees in 1920 and a full university offering graduate programs in 1946 when it was renamed Bradley University.

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