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Bradley University is a private, co-educational university located in Peoria, Illinoismarker. It is a medium-sized institution with an enrollment of approximately 6,100 undergraduate and postgraduate students.


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, making 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 seventeen and a half acres 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 Peoriamarker 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.


Bradley University was recently ranked 6th among Midwestern comprehensive masters-degree-granting universities in the 2007 edition of America's Best Colleges published by U.S. News & World Report. In addition, Bradley's Department of Industrial Engineering was ranked second among colleges that do not grant PhDs.

Bradley University was named 24th on the list of "Top 25 Most Connected Campuses" and "Top 25 Most Entrepreneurial Campuses" in the nation by The Princeton Review and Forbes magazine.

The Bradley University Department of Teacher Educationmarker and College of Education and Health Sciences is NCATE-approved. Additionally, of the nation’s 3623 colleges and universities, Bradley University's Foster College of Business Administration is one of only 160 schools whose business and accounting programs are both accredited by AACSB International.

Bradley University is organized into the following colleges and schools:

Undergraduate School

  • College of Education and Health Sciences
  • College of Engineering and Technology
  • College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
  • Foster College of Business Administration
  • Slane College of Communications and Fine Arts
  • Academic Exploration Program (AEP), for students without a declared major

Graduate School

Through its Graduate School, Bradley University offers Masters level graduate degrees in 5 of its departments; 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 provides a Doctor of Physical therapy degree.



Bradley's 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 dormitories 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.

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.


The athletic emblem of the Bradley University Braves.
University is a member of the Missouri Valley Conference. Conference-approved sports at Bradley for men are baseball, basketball, cross country running, golf, soccer, and tennis. 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 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 Memphismarker. 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 3 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.

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

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


The schools teams were originally named the "Braves" in reference to the Peoria tribe from which the city takes its name.

In August 2005, the National Collegiate Athletic Association, which conducts collegiate athletics, instituted a ban on schools that use "hostile and abusive" American Indian nicknames from hosting postseason games, beginning February 2006. Bradley was initially placed on a list of schools with such names. In April 2006, after a lengthy and contentious appeals process by Bradley officials, the NCAA agreed to remove Bradley from the list but placed it on a 5-year watch list.

Groups and activities


University boasts the nation's most prolific college forensics team, with their American Forensics Association Championship winning streak from 1980 through 2000 only broken in 1994 and 1995. Bradley's forensics team hosts the nation's oldest intercollegiate competition, known as the L.E. Norton Invitational. The tournament is 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. The Speech Team has become the most successful intercollegiate team in history.

Since 1979, Bradley University has had one hundred and fifteen individual national champions. No other team has attained as many individual national champions. Since 1980, Bradley has won nationals thirty-three times. This record of success is unmatched by any other college forensics team in the United States.


For its size, Bradley has a relatively large presence of Greek fraternities and sororities, with multiple organizations in the North-American Interfraternity Conference, National Panhellenic Conference, and National Pan-Hellenic Council. Bradley chapter houses are primarily located on the south side of campus.

North American Interfraternity Conference chapters

National Panhellenic Conference sorority chapters

National Pan-Hellenic Council fraternity chapters

National Pan-Hellenic Council sorority chapters

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.

Project Springboard

Project Springboard is an annual business plan competition started in 2007 to complement Bradley's Entrepreneurship major. The grand prize is $15,000 in cash and one year of knowledge capital valued at more than $100,000. Project Springboard's inaugural winner, iRepair Squad, announced in February 2008 that their sales had topped $1 million. The competition was brought to Bradley by Peoria businessman Alexis Khazzam, owner of Junction Ventures, who donated $200,000 to the university to fund the competition.

Notable people


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

Nearby colleges

External links


  1. The Founding of Bradley
  2. About Bradley
  3. NCATE Accredited Schools - Bradley University
  4. Center for Residential Living and Leadership
  5. NCAA - NCAA Executive Committee Announces Native American Mascot Appeals Decisions
  6. Champions of the National Individual Events Tournament
  7. The Bradley University Speech Team
  8. Project Springboard
  9. Alum is Miss November
  10. Biography for Serria Tawan on IMDb
  11. [1]

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