Named places: Stevenson Hall

Dr. Edgar M. Stevenson

Dr. Edgar M. Stevenson

Stevenson is the home of the School of Nursing and is currently IWU’s oldest building; when it was built in 1910 it received partial funding by the Andrew Carnegie Foundation. It was originally called the Science Building and was renamed for local doctor Edgar M. Stevenson after being renovated in 1965.


Dr. Carolyn Jarvis

Dr. Carolyn Jarvis

The Jarvis Center for Nursing Excellence was completed, along with several other updates to the building, in 2016. It was named in honor of Professor of Nursing Carolyn Jarvis, whose lead gift provided substantial funding for these renovations.

Named places: Eckley Quadrangle

Robert and Nell Eckley

Robert S. and Nell Eckley

At the heart of IWU’s 82-acre campus is the park-like Eckley Quadrangle, named for IWU’s 15th president Robert S. Eckley (1968-1986) and his wife Nell. They were instrumental in developing and implementing a landscaping plan for the Quad after Dutch elm disease destroyed almost all of the trees in the 1970s.

1970 campus aerial view

1970 campus aerial view prior to Quad redesign


1974 Aerial view of campus

1974 Aerial view of campus following redesign

Named places: Minor Myers, jr. Welcome Center

Minor Myers, jr.

Minor Myers, jr.. 1989

The Minor Myers, jr. Welcome Center, honoring Illinois Wesleyan’s 17th president (1989-2003), houses the Admissions Office and the Hart Career Center. Myers tenure saw the creation of the Shirk Center, the Center for Natural Sciences and The Ames Library.

Then-BOT President Craig Hart, 2003

Craig Hart, 2003





Craig C. Hart, former president of IWU’s Board of Trustees, is the Career Center’s namesake. The Welcome Center received Silver certification as a leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) Green Building – the first building in Bloomington to be certified by the U.S. Green Building Council.

Research Files: The Founder’s Gate/West Gate

Guest posted by Melissa Mariotti

IWU West Gate. Found on IWU Website.

IWU West Gate. Photo copied from IWU Website.

As most students and faculty know, there are several main entrances into Wesleyan’s campuses. There is the North entrance on Franklin Avenue, the South entrance by Empire Street, the East entrance by Park Street, and the West entrance by Main Street. There is not much known about the latter entrance. It stands between Pfieffer and Gulick Halls and bears the inscription:

“We stand in a position of incalculable responsibility to the great wave of population overspreading the valley of the Mississippi. Destiny seems to point out this valley as the depository of great heart of the Nation. From this center mighty pulsations, for good or evil, must in future flow, which shall not only affect the fortunes of the Republic but reach in their influence other and distant Nations of the earth.”

The West Gates, looking north toward the Women’s Dormitory. From a 1931 booklet of pen sketches of Illinois Wesleyan University.

The West Gates, looking north toward the Women’s Dormitory. From a 1931 booklet of pen sketches of Illinois Wesleyan University; RG 4-16/2/4.

Upon further research, it was discovered that the gates were ”erected and presented to the school by the Bloomington Association of Commerce in 1921” (Founders’ Day Convocation, 2006). There are two differing theories about where this quote came from. According to the 1960 Wesleyana, it is “an excerpt from the report on education to the annual meeting of the Illinois Conference held in Springfield in 1854.” But according to an Argus article from February 13th, 1940, it was said on December 18th, 1850 from the “Conference Record.”

The quote was verified in the Methodist Conference Record of 1854 by the archives that holds those documents: The Illinois Great Rivers Conference Archives at MacMurray College, Jacksonville, Illinois. There is more to the quote than was summarized on our West Gates, but the spirit of the passage resonates just as much today as it did for our Founders.

Students around the West Gate in 1951. From the 1951 Wesleyana.

Students around the West Gate in 1951. From the 1951 Wesleyana.

The quote that is inscribed on the gate is said to represent “the ‘incalculable responsibility’ the founders of Illinois Wesleyan felt in the work they had undertaken” in establishing Illinois Wesleyan as an “institution of learning” (President Wilson, Founder’s Day Convocation Remarks, 2006). It describes the passion that the Founder’s had for teaching and learning, along with the many obstacles they had to face into creating the school. This inscription is referenced many times during Founder’s Day Convocations, and is evident in the care and consideration of all who work to sustain and advance that goal today.


Research files: Acquisition/construction dates

Guest posted by Melissa Mariotti

As students and faculty, we are constantly on the move across campus, but while walking have you ever wondered about all the different buildings that are around us? Though Illinois Wesleyan is not a large campus, the number of buildings and their individual histories make up for its small size. The dates of acquisition and construction of each building range over time, creating a blend of older and newer buildings on campus.

The most recent building, State Farm Hall, was finished in 2013 and replaced the Sheean library, constructed in 1968. Before the Sheean and State Farm Hall, the first building on IWU’s campus, Old North Hall, was built in roughly the same area and lasted from 1856 until 1966.

The Alumni Relations Office was created in 1991 on January 15th alongside the later dedication of well-used Baseball Field in honor of Jack Horenberger on April 11, 1999. Only a year later, on April 14, 2000 the Softball Field also held its inauguration when the Titans hosted North Park.

Dialing the clock only a little farther back, the records of the Physical Plant also reveal the creation of buildings such as Publications, Printing, and Mailing Services on January 3, 1996; Information Technology on August 4, 1983; and the well-known Multicultural Center on November 20, 1980.

Some of the more common and well-loved buildings of campus also have long histories. The E. Melba Johnson Kirkpatrick Laboratory, or better known by theatre goers as the Lab Theatre, is actually part of the Alice Millar Center for Fine Arts which received its dedication on March 18, 1973. It was not until the autumn of 1993 that the Lab Theatre received its name in dedication. The Memorial Center has been home to many offices, rooms, and places of events. For instance, the Bertholf Commons, the campus’s largest dining hall, can be found there. The commons was dedicated to President Bertholf, who held office between the years of 1958 and 1968. Even the International Office, which is currently located in the Center for Liberal Arts (CLA), used to be housed in the Memorial Center. Some of the oldest buildings on campus are some of the least known. The English House was built in 1911, but was not acquired by Wesleyan until 1947. The Security office that we know today was a coach house for what is now called Blackstock Hall (acquired in 1937). The coach house has also been an art studio and the English House was once the Gallery Building. Look through the changes to our campus at the collection of historical maps online at,1185.

For many of the students on campus, after a day of classes, work study jobs, extracurricular activities, and studying, we all enjoy being able to return to our various residence halls for a bit of relaxation and rest, not to mention a place to live during the school year. The first residence hall was built in 1878 and was known as Henrietta Hall, a residence hall for women only. It was run by a group expressly created for that purpose: the Women’s Education Association of IWU. It was also originally known as the Young Ladies’ Boarding Hall. The second residence hall was Kemp Hall. It was formerly known as the DeMange Mansion and was renamed in honor of President Kemp after it was acquired in 1912 and was also an all-women residence hall. Until 1987, it also was home to a dining hall and offices for faculty members. Dolan Hall – formerly Franklin Hall for Men – was built in 1955 and was one of the first dormitories established for men. Prior to this time, men either lived in fraternities or resided off campus. A new Women’s Residence Hall is opened on the corner of East and University Streets in October of 1956. We know it today as Anna Gulick Hall. At the time of opening, it was also home to “The Sarepta Bane Whipp Department of Home Economics.” See front page story in the 1956 IWU Bulletin.

Until 1998, IWU’s Publications, Printing, and Mailing services resided in Holmes Hall. It was decided that the space was too small for the services and was moved to its current location, a small building off of Franklin Avenue nearby the TKE fraternity house. Before that, the building was actually a dentist’s office until it was acquired by Wesleyan at an unknown date. The space was vacant for sometime, and it was supposedly meant to be used as a child care facility. See the full article in the February 6,1998 IWU Argus.

Publishing, Printing, and Mailing services

Publishing, Printing, and Mailing services. From the IWU website.

Architectural history is alive and well on our campus, but this is only a short list of the buildings that cover the grounds. You will find photographs of these and other IWU landmarks in our online collection.

To learn more about other buildings new or old you can also visit Tate Archives and Special Collections in the Ames Library, or contact the Archives at!


Connecting the new to the old: time travel through “Re-Photography “

This recent addition to the archives offers an opportunity to introduce the campus to a trend in the archives world called re-photography.

1960_Holmes_hall_plantRe-photography involves re-enacting a scene from an earlier period in time by recreating it in a modern context. This is done in at least two ways: by deliberate restaging or reenactment without any variation such as is illustrated here, or by using an old photo for inspiration to create something with a modern twist.


2014_Holmes_hall_remakeWe are illustrating the first case with the 1960 photo (above). It was donated to the archives recently and arrived with an article about planting the nascent rubber tree in Holmes Hall (see this Fall 2007 IWU Magazine story for more on the plant). Last summer Archives Student Assistant Melissa Mariotti (right) posed for a re-shoot in the same spot so it is possible to see how different the same location looks today. (Photo credit: Megan Dickey)

The second way we’ve seen this done is by offering a new interpretation of an old scene that isn’t dependent on the specific location. Anyone can try this out by looking up old photos such as the ones added below. Over 1400 historical IWU photos, scanned from among the many thousands held in the University Archives, are available at

Make your mark on IWU history…re-make an old scene in your own way today!



Research files: The Meditation Room

Illinois Wesleyan University’s Meditation Room

Guest posted by Melissa Mariotti


Photo taken by Melissa Mariotti, 2014

Not much is known about Illinois Wesleyan’s Meditation Room; in fact many people are unaware of its existence. The purpose of this room is all in the name; a place for quiet reflection and meditation. It is located on the second floor of the Memorial Center, up the stairs from the Davidson room.
photo2 (1)

Photo taken by Melissa Mariotti

It is a small space filled with six chairs, an altar, several crosses (both big and small), a prayer kneeler, paper and note cards for writing notes and prayers, several Bibles, rosaries, and a large plaque dedicated to the Wesleyan students who died in combat during World War II. It is interesting to note that the Meditation Room was not part of the original plans for the Memorial Center. While the building was constructed in 1947, the Meditation Room was not added until about 10 years later during the 1957-1958 school year after students began requesting a space for quiet meditation. It is well-known that Illinois Wesleyan began as a Methodist institution, so it is somewhat surprising to see that students requested a non-denominational meditation room. It may have begun as nondenominational, but it is clear that after time that its purpose has shifted from a small war memorial to a small church. Many people have found a sanctuary in this room. On the door there is a sign-in sheet where you can see how often the room gets used. People, both students and alumni, have written notes on it, saying how thankful they were for the space.

It is unclear as to when most of the items in the room were added or by whom.  The earliest evidence Wesleyan has is a photo taken during the 1960s of the altar and a cross. According to a 1954 Argus article, the room was “furnished by the Lee McClure family.” At that time, there was only the altar, a cross, and the chairs. As for the rest of the items, such as the large crosses, it is uncertain. There are six chairs placed against both sides of the room that were donated by Mr. and Mrs. Lee McClure in honor of their son, Bruce McClure, a student at Wesleyan, who died in combat in 1945.

"The Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Lee McClure, in Memory of their Son, Bruce, 1924-1945."

“The Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Lee McClure, in Memory of their Son, Bruce, 1924-1945.” Photo Taken by Melissa Mariotti

Each chair has a small plaque on them to commemorate him. Bruce came to Wesleyan in 1942 and was enlisted that following spring. He was a member of Phi Gamma Delta.

It is uncertain whether or not every item in the room was donated by the McClure family

There is a large plaque that is placed on the wall with the names of the students who fought and died in combat. The plaque is titled, “Illinois Wesleyan University Students Who Made the Supreme Sacrifice in World War Two.”

Plaque commemorating the students from IWU who gave their lives during WWII

Plaque commemorating the students from IWU who gave their lives during WWII. Photo found in RG 18-1/17

Among those names is George Lansing Fox, whom the room is now dedicated to. There is small collage dedicated to him and “The Four Chaplains.” George L. Fox graduated from Illinois Wesleyan in 1932 and served in World War I, receiving many prestigious awards, such as the Silver Star, Purple Heart, the Croix de Guerre, and the Furaguerre. He enlisted in World War II as a chaplain and deployed on a ship called the USS Dorchester.

Plaque commemorating George L. Fox

Plaque commemorating George L. Fox Photo taken by Melissa Mariotti, 2014


In 1943 the USS Dorchester was torpedoed by a German submarine. Fox was one of four chaplains on the ship. The others were Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish. After realizing that there were not enough life vests on the ship, the four chaplains gave up their own so others could survive. They were last seen kneeling on the deck of the ship in prayer as it sank.In 1951 president Truman dedicated a chapel at Temple University, Pennsylvania, The Chapel of the Four Chaplains, and made a commemorative postage stamp in their honor.