Bradley University

Coordinates: 40°41′53″N 89°37′01″W / 40.6981°N 89.6169°W / 40.6981; -89.6169
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Bradley University
Former name
Bradley Polytechnic Institute (1897–1946)
TypePrivate university
Established1897; 126 years ago (1897)
Academic affiliations
Endowment$350 million (2022)[1]
PresidentStephen Standifird
ProvostWalter Zakahi
Academic staff
Location, ,
United States

40°41′53″N 89°37′01″W / 40.6981°N 89.6169°W / 40.6981; -89.6169
CampusUrban, 84 acres (340,000 m2)
Colors   Red & white
Sporting affiliations
NCAA Division IMVC
Mascot"Kaboom!" the gargoyle

Bradley University is a private university in Peoria, Illinois. Founded in 1897, Bradley University enrolls 5,400 students who are pursuing degrees in more than 100 undergraduate programs and more than 30 graduate programs in five colleges. The university is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and 22 specialized and professional accreditors.[3]


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 before Bradley, leaving her a childless widow. 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.

In October 1896 Mrs. Bradley was introduced to William Rainey Harper, president of the University of Chicago. He 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. Harper served as president of both institutions (Chicago and Bradley) for some years.[4]

Fourteen faculty and 150 students began classes in Bradley Hall on October 4, 1897 with construction workers still onsite. 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. 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.[5]

The first music building on Bradley's Campus, Constance Hall, was built in 1930. In 1962 the building was renovated to become the music building of Bradley's Campus.[6]


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

Bradley University was ranked second among 157 Midwest Regional Universities in the 2022 edition of America's Best Colleges published by U.S. News & World Report.[7] The annual survey also recognized Bradley as the 36th "best value" Midwestern school in the ranking of Great Schools at Great Prices.[8]

The Bradley University Department of Teacher Education and College of Education and Health Sciences is NCATE-approved.[9] 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's Caterpillar College of Engineering and Technology maintains ABET accreditations for all four of its engineering programs (Mechanical, Electrical, Civil, and Industrial/Manufacturing).[10]

Bradley University is organized into the following colleges and schools:

Undergraduate colleges[edit]

  • College of Education and Health Sciences
  • Caterpillar College of Engineering and Technology
  • College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
  • Foster College of Business
  • Slane College of Communications and Fine Arts
  • Turner School of Entrepreneurship and Innovation

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.[11]

Graduate school[edit]

Bradley University offers Masters level graduate degrees in business, communication and fine arts, education and health sciences, engineering, and liberal arts and sciences. The program of physical therapy offers a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree.

Turner School of Entrepreneurship and Innovation[edit]

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[12] 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.[13] 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.[14]

Tuition and financial aid[edit]

As of the 2022-2023 school year, students who are enrolled full-time at Bradley University pay $39,248 for tuition. Students living in the residence halls on campus pay an additional $12,850 for room and board, along with a $432 activity and health fee. The total cost for full-time students living on campus is $52,530. [15] Financial assistance awards are typically received by more than 85% of the university's students.[16]


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 downtown. The campus of Bradley University is relatively compact.

Student Housing[edit]

Bradley's student housing is concentrated on the campus's east side; there are several residence halls and university-owned apartment complexes.[17]

Other Buildings and Facilities[edit]

Located on the south side of Bradley's campus is Dingeldine Music Center.

Bradley University is also the site of Peoria's National Public Radio affiliate, WCBU-FM. The radio tower is a prominent landmark and is located adjacent to the BECC, at the site of the former Jobst Hall.[18]

Bradley sports two athletic facilities directly on campus. The Markin Family Student Recreation Center, completed in 2008, houses a variety of sports and fitness areas.[19] Renaissance Coliseum is home to Bradley women's basketball, as well as other sporting and non-sporting events.[20]

Westlake Hall renovation[edit]

Built in 1897, Westlake Hall is the oldest building on campus and has been utilized as a learning facility for over 100 years. This building is home to Bradley's College of Education and Health Sciences. In March 2010, this building underwent a $24 million renovation was completed in June 2012. This renovation increased the building to four stories tall, consisting of academic classrooms and offices. The building was expanded from 13,500 square feet to 84,500 square feet, six times its original size.[21] The building's signature clock tower and limestone was incorporated into the renovation.


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 nine times in the NCAA Tournament: 1950, 1954, 1955, 1980, 1986, 1988, 1996, 2006, and 2019 and would have appeared in the 2020 NCAA tournament as the MVC Tournament Champions. 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. 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 defeated Cincinnati and Virginia en route to the Championship but lost to Tulsa 2–1 in a 3-game series.


Bradley baseball advanced to the College World Series in 1950 and 1956. In 1956, the team qualified for the Final Four, falling to eventual champion Minnesota in the semifinals. In 2015, the Bradley baseball team received an at-large bid to the NCAA postseason baseball tournament, the school's first appearance 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 the number one seed host Louisville. Video taken at the team's 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 losses in NCAA postseason play dating back to the third round of the College World Series in 1956 when they defeated Wyoming 12–8.[22]


The university does not have a football team. The football program was disbanded in 1970.[23]

Groups and activities[edit]

Markin Family Student Recreation Center

Speech Team[edit]

The speech team had a winning streak at the American Forensics Association Championship from 1980 through 1993.[24][25]

Sales Team[edit]

Bradley University is home to the most successful sales team in the nation. Bradley defeated 66 other colleges to win their nation-leading third National Collegiate Sales Competition (NCSC) championship on March 7, 2022, also becoming the first-ever back-to-back national champion.[26]

Greek life[edit]

There are several fraternities and sororities on and off campus. In 2003, Bradley University student and member of the f Phi Kappa Tau fraternity, Robert Schmalz (age 22), died after drinking excessive amounts of alcohol continuously over several days. His death stood in particularly stark contrast to the award that Bradley administrators had accepted in Washington, DC that same month, in recognition of the university's alcohol and drug abuse prevention programs, which was portrayed to the nation as being exemplary.[27]


The annual student literary journal is called Broadside.

The Scout[edit]

The student-run weekly newspaper is called The Scout.



  • "E" Award – In 2009, Bradley's International Trade Center was awarded the Presidential "E" Award for U.S. Exporters. Only 21 awards were given nationally and Bradley's ITC was the only trade center in the country to be recognized.[28]
  • Fulbright Program – Bradley was ranked sixth nationally among universities of its kind for producing Fulbright students in 2013–2014.[29]
  • Innovation in Leadership of Business Education Award – Bradley's Foster College of Business was one of three schools to receive this award given by the Mid-Continent East Division of the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).[28]


  • U.S. News & World Report ranks Bradley University 166th nationally,[30] 2nd Best College among 157 Midwest Regional Universities, and the top Illinois regional university.[31]
  • Kiplinger's Personal Finance ranked Bradley the #65 private university in the nation in terms of value.[32]
  • Money magazine ranked Bradley 88 out of 736 colleges and universities that deliver the most value.[33]
  • In The Princeton Review's 2018 "The Best 380 Colleges" list, Bradley was ranked once again. Bradley is consistently one of the 15% of all colleges that are ranked on this list. In the review, Bradley was noted for its wide-ranging academic resources, personal attention to students, and class size.[28]
  • The Wall Street Journal ranked Bradley 164 out of 1,056 colleges and universities nationwide.[34]
  • Bloomberg Businessweek ranked Bradley's Foster College of Business 42nd in the nation and 10th in the Employer Satisfaction Survey.[35]
  • The Brookings Institution ranked Bradley the #19 salary boosting college in the nation.[36]
  • According to career site Zippia, Bradley is the best college in Illinois for landing a job after graduation.[37]
  • Washington Monthly ranked Bradley the #14 Midwest "Best Bang for the Buck" university and number 50 of 606 nationally for Masters Level Universities.

Notable people[edit]

Hayden-Clark Alumni Center

See also[edit]


  1. ^ As of June 30, 2020. Quickfacts (Report). Bradley University]. Retrieved July 28, 2023.
  2. ^ a b "Quickfacts".
  3. ^ "Statement of Accreditation Status". Higher Learning Commission. Retrieved May 12, 2020.
  4. ^ Collins, Nina (2002). "Domestic Sciences at Bradley Polytechnic Institute and the University of Chicago". Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society. 95 (3): 275–299.
  5. ^ The Founding of Bradley.
  6. ^ ""At Home on Campus"". Archived from the original on March 20, 2018. Retrieved March 19, 2018.
  7. ^ "US News Best Colleges 2022 Top Regional Universities Midwest". Retrieved October 1, 2021.
  8. ^ "Bradley University". Retrieved April 21, 2017.
  9. ^ NCATE Accredited Schools – Bradley University Archived June 26, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ "ABET Accredited Programs". ABET. Retrieved August 8, 2023.
  11. ^ "Bradley University: Major-league Naming for Steiner". Retrieved May 26, 2016.
  12. ^ "Bradley University: Turner School of Entrepreneurship and Innovation". Retrieved May 26, 2016.
  13. ^ "Bradley University: Turner Center for Entrepreneurship". Retrieved May 26, 2016.
  14. ^ "Bradley University: Profile". Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved May 26, 2016.
  15. ^ "Bradley University: Tuition and Fees". Retrieved October 15, 2023.
  16. ^ "Bradley University: Quickfacts". Retrieved November 2, 2015.
  17. ^ Center for Residential Living and Leadership Archived July 18, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  18. ^ "About WCBU". Retrieved May 18, 2023.
  19. ^ "Markin Center | Facilities | Campus Recreation | Campus Life | Bradley University". Retrieved August 8, 2023.
  20. ^ "Renaissance Coliseum | Facilities | Campus Recreation | Campus Life | Bradley University". Retrieved August 8, 2023.
  21. ^ "Bradley University: Westlake Hall dedicated". Retrieved November 2, 2015.
  22. ^ "Bradley Baseball Is Dancing". BradleyBraves. Retrieved March 21, 2016.
  23. ^ Blast from the past: A look back at Bradley football. The Scout, Garth Shanklin. September 12, 2014. Retrieved September 25, 2015.
  24. ^ Champions of the National Individual Events Tournament Archived September 27, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  25. ^ The Bradley University Speech Team.
  26. ^ A National Record Setting Weekend for Bradley's Sales Team
  27. ^ Cohen, Jodi; Gregory, Ted (September 16, 2003). "Death at college tied to drinking". Chicago Tribune.
  28. ^ a b c "Bradley University: Rankings/Guidebooks". Retrieved November 2, 2015.
  29. ^ "Bradley University: Rankings/Guidebooks". Retrieved October 8, 2015.
  30. ^ "Bradley University". US News & World Report. Retrieved January 28, 2023.
  31. ^ "US News Best Colleges 2022 Top Regional Universities Midwest". Retrieved October 6, 2021.
  32. ^ "Kiplinger's Best College Values". Archived from the original on August 5, 2013. Retrieved February 10, 2019.
  33. ^ "Bradley University". Retrieved November 2, 2015.
  34. ^ "Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education College Rankings 2018". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved October 16, 2017.
  35. ^ Levy, Francesca; from, Jonathan Rodkin. "These Are the Best Undergraduate Business Schools of 2016". Retrieved May 3, 2017.
  36. ^ "Colleges that boost your salary the most".
  37. ^ "These Are the Colleges Most Likely to Score You a Job in Every State".

External links[edit]