ISU’s Alumni Association marks its sesquicentennial this year. The milestone was noted during this month’s annual Founders Day with a celebratory alumni luncheon. Many alums were chosen to participate in the traditional bell-ringing event.

The 156 individuals who rang the bell represented the strength of Illinois State’s graduates, who first came together after commencement in 1860. The 10 members of that first graduating class gathered at Majors Hall.

In 1863, the first formal meeting of the Illinois State Normal University (ISNU) Alumni Association occurred when members of that class assembled in Old Main. Graduates shared intentions for giving back to the University.

Alumni 150th logo

The Alumni Association’s official 150th anniversary logo.

The association established its wider purpose through the years. Friendship and service were reinforced when a new channel of alumni communications appeared with the Alumni Quarterly, first published in February of 1912 as the precursor to Illinois State.

The collective voice of alumni proved powerful through the years, especially when the continuation of ISU’s Agriculture Department was threatened with extinction by the state legislature in 1991.

The tradition of pride in and advocacy for their alma mater began when members of the Class of 1860 planned the first alumni reunion decades ago. Since then graduates have become advocates who not only attest to the grandeur of the University’s past, but are prepared to lift Illinois State even higher in the years that lie ahead.

Successful alumni and students continue to reflect, in no small measure, the efforts of the Alumni Association in promoting the University and contributing to the public’s perception of the institution that has evolved to provide the premiere undergraduate education in Illinois.

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