Southern Illinois University Edwardsville traces its origin to a recommendation in 1956 by the Southwest Illinois Council for Higher Education. The Council was convinced that higher education facilities were needed in the Metro-East portion of the greater St. Louis area. Council members hired consultants, whose reports documented that need, and appealed to Southern Illinois University, 100 miles south, to establish satellite campuses.
In 1957, SIU opened residence centers in Alton and East St. Louis. The University expected to enroll 800 students, but actual enrollment reached 1,776. By 1959, the number of students had more than doubled to 3,800, greatly exceeding the physical facilities and demanding services faster than the University could develop and supply them.
A planning team investigated sites in the Metro-East counties and selected one just south of Edwardsville. In 1960, the Illinois legislature authorized a bond issue for construction of a new state university campus. Voter approval came in November 1960. After 2-1/2 years of planning, University officials and area residents attended groundbreaking ceremonies for the first permanent buildings.
In the fall of 1965, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville moved onto its new campus: 2,660 acres of rolling land and woods dotted with lakes. Much of the land still retains its natural shape. The academic center was designed by the internationally known architectural firm of Hellmuth, Obata, and Kassabaum of St. Louis. The brick, slate, and granite of the modern buildings complement the terrain and are softened by a carefully designed garden landscape that attracts visitors by virtue of its physical beauty. The campus has received several awards in recognition of the successful blend of the aesthetic and the functional in a setting that enhances growth and development and is now featured among the top 150 Illinois Great Places by the American Institute of Architects Illinois Council.
Today, SIUE is a major public university, offering a broad choice of degrees and programs ranging from career-oriented fields of study to the essential, more traditional, liberal arts. Here students have an opportunity to interact with outstanding teachers and scholars, as well as with other students from all parts of the United States and the world. They enjoy the excellent facilities of a young and growing campus, including extensive research laboratories, specialized equipment for professional preparation, and comfortable, spacious classrooms. In addition, academic services provide tutoring, testing, academic and career counseling, and other services designed to help students meet the demands of university life. At SIUE, students find comprehensive educational opportunities and a community in which individuals support each other in their search for knowledge and individual development.
In FY11, SIUE was cited by its peers, and reported in U.S. News & World Report for the third consecutive year, as one of 46 “up-and-coming schools” in the nation “making innovative changes in the areas of academics, faculty, student life, campus life and facilities.” Also according to U.S. News, SIUE is listed for the eighth year running in the Best Regional Universities Midwest (master’s granting) category. For the second consecutive year, Washington Monthly has listed the University among the Top 50 of the 553 master’s universities in America for “contributions to the public good in…Social Mobility, Research, and Service.” Additionally, SIUE has been named for the second consecutive year to the annual President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll – this time, in the prestigious Distinction category. G.I. Jobs magazine has also ranked SIUE as a Military Friendly School for the past three years. It’s no surprise that, given the University’s commitment to excellence and service, SIUE’s enrollment is now at an all-time high at 14,235 students!
While attending the University, students may choose to live on campus. Academic scheduling is designed to accommodate individual student needs through the availability of weekday, evening, and weekend classes. In every format, SIUE students are assured quality instruction.
At SIUE, education is more than classroom learning. Campus activities present students with an ever-changing spectrum of cultural, social, service and recreational experiences designed to complement the academic program. Theater and dance productions, musical presentations, art collections, renowned speakers and artists, and the fine swimming, biking and other recreation offered by the University’s 2,660 acres of rolling, wooded hills make SIUE an exciting place. In addition, the campus is situated in a rural area with access to the resources of the metropolitan St. Louis area, located just 25 minutes away.
At SIUE, approximately 975 full-time and part-time faculty members engage in instruction, scholarship, and public service. Though each of these activities enhances students’ academic opportunities, it is through instruction that students benefit most directly. Eighty percent of the full-time faculty possess terminal degrees earned at universities in the United States and abroad. In FY11, SIUE faculty submitted 377 new proposals for sponsored programs, receiving 226 awards totaling approximately $34 million.