Bradley University

Bradley University
Type Private, mid-sized, independent
Established 1897
Endowment $280 million
President Gary R. Roberts
Provost Walter Zakahi
Academic staff
Undergraduates 4,400[1]
Postgraduates 900[1]
Location Peoria, Illinois, U.S.
40°41′53″N 89°37′01″W / 40.698056°N 89.616944°W / 40.698056; -89.616944Coordinates: 40°41′53″N 89°37′01″W / 40.698056°N 89.616944°W / 40.698056; -89.616944
Campus Urban, 84 acres (340,000 m2)
Colors Red and White
Nickname Braves
Mascot "Kaboom!" the gargoyle

Bradley University is a private, mid-sized university in Peoria, Illinois. Founded in 1897, Bradley University currently enrolls 5,400 students, pursuing degrees in more than 100 undergraduate programs and more than 30 graduate programs in five colleges. All classes are taught by professors rather than teaching assistants. The university is accredited by 22 national accrediting agencies, including the Higher Learning Commission. Students can participate in more than 240 student organizations, including the Lewis J. Burger Center for Student Leadership and Public Service.[1]


Bradley Hall is one of the first buildings constructed for the university and bears the name of the university's founder.

The Bradley Polytechnic Institute was founded by philanthropist Lydia Moss Bradley in 1897 in memory of her husband Tobias and their six children, all of whom died early and suddenly, leaving Bradley a childless widow. The Bradleys had discussed establishing an orphanage in memory of their deceased children. After some study and travel to various institutions, Mrs. Bradley decided instead to found a school where young people could learn how to do practical things to prepare them for living in the modern world. As a first step toward her goal, in 1892 she purchased a controlling interest in Parsons Horological School in LaPorte, Indiana, the first school for watchmakers in America, and moved it to Peoria. She specified in her will that the school should be expanded after her death to include a classical education as well as industrial arts and home economics: " being the first object of this Institution to furnish its students with the means of living an independent, industrious and useful life by the aid of a practical knowledge of the useful arts and sciences."

In October 1896 Mrs. Bradley was introduced to Dr. William Rainey Harper, president of the University of Chicago. He soon convinced her to move ahead with her plans and establish the school during her lifetime. Bradley Polytechnic Institute was chartered on November 13, 1896. Mrs. Bradley provided 17.5 acres (71,000 m2) of land, $170,000 for buildings, equipment, and a library, and $30,000 per year for operating expenses.

Contracts for Bradley Hall and Horology Hall (now Westlake) were awarded in April and work moved ahead quickly. Fourteen faculty and 150 students began classes in Bradley Hall on October 4—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 Cora Unland.

Originally, the institute was organized as a four-year academy as well as a two-year college. There was only one other high school in the city of Peoria at the time. By 1899 the institute had expanded to accommodate nearly 500 pupils, and study fields included biology, chemistry, food work, sewing, English, German, French, Latin, Greek, history, manual arts, drawing, mathematics, and physics. By 1920 the institute dropped the academy orientation and adopted a four-year collegial program. Enrollment continued to grow over the coming decades and the name Bradley University was adopted in 1946.[2]

Strategic plan

The Board of Trustees adopted the 2012-17 strategic plan on January 27, 2012. The plan focuses on three overarching strategic goals: enhancing educational excellence and value of a Bradley education; enhancing Bradley’s living and working environment; and enhancing Bradley’s operations, endowment, and resource efficiencies to support activities of national distinction.[3]


Westlake Hall was recently renovated and expanded to six times its original size.

Bradley University was ranked 4th among Midwest universities providing a full range of undergraduate and master's programs in the 2015 edition of America's Best Colleges published by U.S. News & World Report. The annual survey also recognized Bradley as the ninth "best value" Midwestern school in the ranking of Great Schools at Great Prices.[4]

The Bradley University Department of Teacher Education and College of Education and Health Sciences is NCATE-approved.[5] Additionally, Bradley University's Foster College of Business is one of less than 2% of business schools worldwide to achieve and maintain AACSB International accreditation for both business and accounting programs.

Bradley University is organized into the following colleges and schools:

Undergraduate colleges

Students without a declared major may also be admitted to the Academic Exploration Program (AEP).

The University is also home to the Charley Steiner School of Sports Communication, the first such named school in the U.S.[6]

Graduate school

Through the Graduate School, Bradley University offers Masters level graduate degrees in five of its colleges: business, communication and fine arts, education and health sciences, engineering, and liberal arts and sciences. Each has its own hourly requirements and varies in completion time. The program of physical therapy offers a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree.

Turner School of Entrepreneurship and Innovation

Bradley University is among the first universities in the nation to have a school of entrepreneurship and the first established as a freestanding academic unit. The Turner School of Entrepreneurship and Innovation[7] is named in honor of Bob and Carolyn Turner, long-time supporters of Bradley. The Turners established the Robert and Carolyn Turner Center for Entrepreneurship in 2002.[8] Dr. Gerald Hills, the School's founding academic executive director, received the Karl Vesper Entrepreneurship Pioneer Award in 2012 and the Babson Lifetime Award in 2011. Hills served as the Turner Chair of Entrepreneurship until he retired in December 2014.[9]

Entrepreneur magazine and The Princeton Review ranked Bradley's undergraduate entrepreneurship program among the top 25 programs in the nation.

Bradley is headquarters for the national Collegiate Entrepreneurs' Organization (CEO), with CEO student chapters at 240 universities.

Tuition and financial aid

As of the 2015-2016 school year, students who are enrolled full-time at Bradley University pay $31,110 for tuition. Students living in the residence halls on campus pay an additional $9,700 for room and board, along with a $370 activity and health fee.[10] The total cost for full-time students living on campus is $41,180.[10] The University offers hundreds of different scholarships and grants from numerous sources such as federal, state and private entities. They provide financial aid in the form loans, work study, scholarship, and grants.[11] Financial assistance awards are typically received by more than 85% of the Universities students.[12]


Bradley's 84 acre campus on Peoria's west bluff.

Bradley's 84-acre (340,000 m2) campus is located on Peoria's west bluff and is minutes from the city's downtown. The campus of Bradley University is relatively compact. There are few places on campus which cannot be reached from any other part of campus in under ten minutes on foot. Bradley's student housing is concentrated on the campus's east side, and the residence halls include: College (all women's), Geisert, Harper, Heitz, University, Williams, and Wyckoff Halls. There is also a complex of singles dormitories and two university-owned apartment complexes: St. James Apartments and the Student Apartment Complex.[13]

Also located on the south side of Bradley's campus is Dingeldine Music Center, which was acquired from the Second Church of Christ, Scientist in 1983. The Center serves as the main performance and practice facility for Bradley's instrumental and choral programs.

Bradley University is also the site of Peoria's National Public Radio affiliate, WCBU-FM, located on the second floor of Jobst Hall.

Westlake Hall renovation

Built in 1897, Westlake Hall is the second oldest building on campus, that has been utilized as a learning facility for over one hundred years. This building is home to Bradley's College of Education and Health Sciences. In March 2010, this building underwent a $24 million renovation that was officially completed in June 2012. This renovation increased the building to four stories tall consisting of academic classrooms and offices. The building went from 13,500 square ft to 84,500 square ft, six times its original size.[14] The buildings signature clock tower and limestone was incorporated into the renovation to keep some of the buildings originality. The building was also designed to meet LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) gold certification standards, which includes qualities such as energy saving, water efficiencies, and CO2 emission reductions.[15] The remodel was recognized by American School and University for its remarkable design in adaptive reuse.[16]


Main article: Bradley Braves
Renaissance Coliseum

Bradley University is a member of the Missouri Valley Conference. Conference-approved sports at Bradley for men are baseball, basketball, cross country running, golf, indoor and outdoor track, and soccer. Women's' sports consist of basketball, cross country running, golf, indoor and outdoor track, softball, tennis, and volleyball. The men's basketball team has appeared eight times in the NCAA Tournament: 1950, 1954, 1955, 1980, 1986, 1988, 1996, and 2006. In 1950 and 1954 they were national runners up in the Final Four, and in 2006 the Braves made their first Sweet Sixteen appearance since 1955, defeating 4th seed Kansas and 5th seed Pittsburgh. However, Bradley's run came to an end in the Sweet Sixteen with a loss to the University of Memphis. Bradley also won the National Invitation Tournament in 1957, 1960, 1964, and 1982. In 2008, the men's basketball team was selected to participate in the inaugural College Basketball Invitational. They reached the Championship game but lost to Tulsa 2-1 in a 3-game series.

In 2006, the Bradley soccer team lost in the MVC Championship. In 2007, the Bradley soccer team returned to the MVC Championship and defeated Creighton 1-0 to claim their first MVC Tournament Championship and fourth appearance in the NCAA postseason soccer tournament. They had never won a game in the NCAA tournament. Following their first ever NCAA tournament game victory over DePaul 2-0, the Braves continued on a magical run to the Elite Eight by defeating seven-time national champion Indiana University on penalty kicks (5–4) and the University of Maryland in overtime, both on the road. During the Maryland game they were down 2–0 with less than three minutes left and won. The match has been referred to as "The Miracle in Maryland." Bradley’s coach, Jim DeRose, was named the national Coach of the Year by Soccer America after their great season.

In 2015, the Bradley baseball team received an at-large bid to the NCAA postseason baseball tournament, the school's first appearance in the tournament since 1968. After finishing the regular season with a record of 32-18, the Braves advanced to the Missouri Valley conference tournament championship game by defeating Evansville, Indiana State, and #11 nationally ranked Dallas Baptist and were ultimately defeated by #8 nationally ranked Missouri State 5-2. After finishing the season with the #19 RPI in the nation and a record of 35-19, the Braves were placed in the Louisville regional as the #2 seed, along with #3 seeded Michigan, #4 seeded Morehead State and #1 seed host Louisville. Video taken at the teams selection show viewing party shows the team excitement when they learned they would be participating in the NCAA tournament. When the Braves earned a 9-4 victory over Morehead State, they snapped a streak of 9 straight loses in NCAA postseason play dating back to the third round of the College World Series in 1956 when they defeated Wyoming 12-8.[17]

The university does not have a football team. The football program was disbanded in 1970.[18]

Bradley University was a member of the Illinois Intercollegiate Athletic Conference from 1910–1937.

Groups and activities

Markin Family Student Recreation Center


Bradley University boasts the most successful speech team in the nation, with their American Forensics Association Championship winning streak from 1980 through 2000 only broken in 1994 and 1995.[19][20] Bradley has garnered 141 individual national titles and 39 team sweepstakes over the last 30 years. Bradley's forensics team hosts the nation's oldest intercollegiate competition, known as the L.E. Norton Invitational named after former forensics director L.E. Norton. The team also hosts an annual tournament for high school speech teams, known as the George Armstrong Invitational.


More than thirty percent of undergraduate students are involved in fraternities and sororities at Bradley University. The community currently consists of twenty-seven chapters, representing the North-American Interfraternity Conference, National Panhellenic Conference, and National Pan-Hellenic Council. Twenty of the chapters have houses on campus, which are primarily located on the south side of campus.

Active Chapters of the North American Interfraternity Conference

Active Colonies of the North American Interfraternity Conference

Active Chapters of the National Panhellenic Conference

Active Fraternity Chapters of the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC)

Active Sorority Chapters of the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC)

Other social and professional organizations


The annual student literary journal, Broadside, publishes student art and writing in a 100-page journal that is released each spring. The publication is staffed and run entirely by students. The organization also holds two readings: an informal "open mic" night in the fall, and a formal reading in the Wyckoff Room of the Cullom-Davis Library in late April which usually features writers published in the journal.

The Scout

The student-run weekly newspaper, The Scout, covers student life and issues on campus, Bradley sports, and local Peoria news that concerns students. Dates for local concerts, movie and music reviews can all be found written by students in The Scout’s "Voice" section. Student staff rotates and changes yearly.

Common Ground

Common Ground provides a supportive, non-judgmental atmosphere in which people in the LGBTQ+ community, as well as their relatives or friends may explore and discuss the issues facing their lives. Common Ground also offers speakers bureau services, brings speakers to campus, and provides confidential, anonymous, private meetings. All communication made to Common Ground is kept confidential.




Notable people

Hayden-Clark Alumni Center


Government, public service, and public policy

Literature, arts, and media

Business and science



People who did not attend Bradley as a student but were on the Bradley staff or faculty.

See also


  1. 1 2 3 "Quickfacts". Bradley University. Retrieved 13 April 2016.
  2. The Founding of Bradley.
  3. "Bradley University Strategic Plan 2012-2017" (PDF). Retrieved 27 March 2014.
  4. "Bradley University". Retrieved May 26, 2016.
  5. NCATE Accredited Schools – Bradley University Archived June 26, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
  6. "Bradley University: Major-league Naming for Steiner". Retrieved May 26, 2016.
  7. "Bradley University: Turner School of Entrepreneurship and Innovation". Retrieved May 26, 2016.
  8. "Bradley University: Turner Center for Entrepreneurship". Retrieved May 26, 2016.
  9. "Bradley University: Profile". Retrieved May 26, 2016.
  10. 1 2 "Bradley University: Tuition". Retrieved 2015-11-02.
  11. "Bradley University: Sources of Assistance". Retrieved 2015-11-02.
  12. "Bradley University: Quickfacts". Retrieved 2015-11-02.
  13. Center for Residential Living and Leadership Archived July 18, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  14. "Bradley University: Westlake Hall dedicated". Retrieved 2015-11-02.
  15. "Bradley University: Time for a new Westlake Hall". Retrieved 2015-11-02.
  16. "Bradley University - Westlake Hall Remodel and Addition - River City Construction". River City Construction. Retrieved 2015-11-02.
  17. "Bradley Baseball Is Dancing". BradleyBraves. Retrieved 2016-03-21.
  18. Blast from the past: A look back at Bradley football. The Scout, Garth Shanklin. September 12, 2014. Retrieved September 25, 2015.
  19. Champions of the National Individual Events Tournament.
  20. The Bradley University Speech Team.
  21. 1 2 3 4 "Bradley University: Rankings/Guidebooks". Retrieved 2015-11-02.
  22. "Bradley University: Rankings/Guidebooks". Retrieved 2015-10-08.
  23. "Regional University Midwest Rankings | Top Regional Universities Midwest | US News Best Colleges". Retrieved 2015-11-02.
  24. "Bradley University". Retrieved 2015-11-02.
  25. ""Judge David T. Caldwell" in J. Cleveland Fruge, Biographies of Louisiana Judges"., Louisiana District Judges Association, 1971. Archived from the original on July 22, 2010. Retrieved May 28, 2010.
  27. "World Engagement Institute - The World Engagement Institute (WEI)". World Engagement Institute. Retrieved May 26, 2016.
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