North Central College
MottoBe Central
Endowment$102 million[1]
PresidentDr. Troy D. Hammond
Academic staff139
LocationNaperville, Illinois, United States
AffiliationsUnited Methodist Church
College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin

North Central College is a private liberal arts college located in historic downtown Naperville, Illinois, United States.


North Central College was founded in 1861 as Plainfield College in Plainfield, Illinois. Classes were first held on Nov. 11 of that year. On Feb. 15, 1864, the Board of Trustees changed the name of the school to North-Western College. The college moved to Naperville in 1870. The name was again changed in 1926 to North Central College.


The college is located on a 59-acre (24 ha) campus in Downtown Naperville on Chicago Avenue.

In the Early 1900's College President Herman J. Kiekhoefer and Judge John S. Goodwin initiated contact with philanthropist Andrew Carnegie to seek out funds for new facilities on campus. Carnegie agreed to donate $25,000 (approximately $679,059 in the current consumer price index) to then North-Western College for a new library building. Carnegie Library, as it was formerly called, was one of only a few academic libraries in Illinois that received funding from Carnegie. The building still exists on campus today and is now known as, "Carnegie Hall." [2]

File:North Central College Old Main.jpg

Pfeiffer Hall is North Central College's oldest fine arts building. The 4,500 square foot building was built in 1926 and seats 1,057. This structure has been historically used by the college to screen films and host lectures, debates, and theatrical productions. Today Pfeiffer Hall continues to host events such as these along with other types of live performances by popular music artists and comedians. The building has a longstanding reputation as being haunted.

North Central College in 2008 dedicated the $30 million Wentz Concert Hall and Fine Arts Center. Designed by the internationally acclaimed Chicago architectural firm of Loebl, Schlossman and Hackl, Inc., the 57,000-square-foot (5,300 m2) facility was planned and sited with the needs of both the College and the Naperville community in mind. Plans evolved over a 15-year period, driven by explosive growth in the College’s music, theatre and art programs, but also a parallel transformation of the city’s downtown, which has brought more than 50 restaurants, numerous national stores and the first four- and five-story buildings within a few blocks of the North Central campus.

The Concert Hall is named in honor of Dr. Myron Wentz, Class of 1963. Nearly $10 million in gifts from Wentz — a scientist, and entrepreneur and music lover — over the past two years have brought the facility to center stage. (Plans for a new Fine Arts Center were put on hold a decade ago when a devastating flood in Naperville forced the College to turn its attention to its damaged athletic complex instead.)

File:Wentz Hall.jpg

In addition to Wentz Concert Hall, the Fine Arts Center also features the Madden Theatre, which is a 150-seat “black box” experimental theatre (that can double as a dance studio) as well as a facility to provide much needed music rehearsal space, practice rooms and offices. The center also houses a spacious lobby, a kitchen facility and the Schoenherr Art Gallery (all supportive of major civic gatherings).[3]

Re-dedication of Meiley-Swallow Hall, the old Grace Evangelical Church at Ellsworth Street and Van Buren Avenue, was a highlight during the 2007 Homecoming weekend. In 2005, the College embraced the opportunity to preserve a part of Naperville and North Central history by acquiring the former Grace Evangelical Church. The 95-year-old structure was erected by the same denomination that founded North Central College and an addition to the College's art and theatre programs. Special features of this building include: nearly 23,000 square feet (2,100 m2) of space, much-needed art display area, a 225-seat thrust stage theatre, and additional office space.

Organization and administrationEdit

The endowment of the college was $79 million as of June 30, 2010.[4]

Academic profileEdit

File:Miley Swallow Hall.jpg


During the 2012-13 academic year, North Central had an overall acceptance rate of 64.6%.[5] During the same year, the average high school GPA of admitted students was 3.6.[6]

As of 2013, U.S. News & World Report lists North Central College as one of only two regionally ranked colleges in Illinois with the distinction of being "more selective," the other being Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois. [7]


In the 2007 through 2013 editions of the U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges Rankings, North Central College is ranked in the top 20 "Regional Universities (Midwest)," [2] as well as among "America's Best Colleges."

North Central College was named one of the Colleges of Distinction [3], a list of schools emphasizing student engagement, strong teaching, a vibrant community, and successful outcomes.

North Central also is one of Kaplan's "320 Most Interesting Colleges."

Student lifeEdit

Arts and mediaEdit

North Central College has a very strong theatre program. The 2000 production of "The Pirates of Penzance" was selected to perform at Kennedy Center American College Theatre's Region III Festival. Productions of Ken Ludwig's "Moon Over Buffalo" and Schmidt and Jones' musical "Philemon" were both selected to perform at the festival's "Evening of Scenes" in 2004 and 2005. The 2007 production of "Thoroughly Modern Millie" was selected as a Regional Finalist from more than 1,300 productions. The 2009 season featured a stunning production of "Cats," and in 2010 North Central became one of the first college theaters in the nation to stage a production of Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera.[8]

North Central College is home to WONC-FM 89.1, one of the nation's premier college radio stations. At a count of 20, no other college radio station has garnered more Marconi College Radio Awards than WONC. The Chronicle is the student newspaper of North Central College.



North Central College's mascot is the Cardinal, in tradition of the bird's habitance in Illinois. The school competes in NCAA Division III and the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin (CCIW). It sponsors 22 sports and has won 30 team national championships - 26 NCAA and 4 NAIA - and North Central athletes have won 115 individual national championships [4]. The total of number national championships puts the college eighth on the all time list for most national championships. North Central is the only school in the CCIW to win a national championship in four (4) different sports. And since joining the CCIW, North Central has won 164 conference titles along with 14 CCIW postseason tournament titles.[9]

North Central College was a member of the Illinois Intercollegiate Athletic Conference from 1927-1937.

The college is best known for its Men's Track and Field and Cross Country teams, which have won 25 national championships. For the 2009-2010 school year, the men's cross country and indoor/outdoor track teams swept the NCAA Division III Championships. North Central is only the second school in Division III history to accomplish this feat [5]. During the 2011-2012 school year, the men's indoor track team three-peated as national champions, and the cross country team repeated as national champions. The campus has also hosted past NCAA Division III national events.

Men's Varsity Sports

Cross Country
Track and Field (Indoor/Outdoor)

Women's Varsity Sports

Cross Country
Track and Field (Indoor/Outdoor)

Athletic Facilities

Benedetti-Wehrli Stadium, which seats 5,500, was completed in 1999, while the Jay and Dot Buikema track was resurfaced in 1997 and a Safeplay Plus artificial playing surface was installed in 2011.

The Stadium has hosted numerous high-profile events, including the Illinois high school boys and girls soccer state finals and the Wes Spencer Crosstown Classic, the annual showdown between Naperville North and Naperville Central high schools. It also served as the temporary home of the Chicago Fire for two seasons while Chicago's Soldier Field was reconstructed. In summer 2009, the stadium hosted an outdoor concert by the band Lifehouse.

North Central College’s baseball facility, Zimmerman Stadium, which includes Alumni Field, was dedicated in 1999. The home of Cardinal baseball resembles a professional minor league facility, with permanent seating for 750 fans and a fully enclosed and wireless pressbox. The facility has hosted the Illinois High School Baseball Coaches Association summer state tournament and Major League Baseball’s RBI World Series and Area Code tryouts.

Cardinal softball plays at Shanower Family Field. In April 2002, the field was dedicated to honor the family of Don Shanower, beloved professor emeritus of speech communication and theatre and enthusiastic softball fan. The dedication took on added meaning after the Shanower’s son Dan, a commander in the U.S. Navy, was among the victims of the terrorist attack on the Pentagon. The field has been host to an NCAA III regional tournament and was part of Major League Baseball’s RBI World Series.

Merner Field House is home to Cardinal indoor sports except track and field, with 2,000 seats in Gregory Arena for the basketball and volleyball teams. On the second floor of Merner Field House is Nichols Gymnasium, home to the North Central College wrestling team. The College’s swimming pool is also located in the Field House.

The Residence Hall/Recreation Center opened in fall 2009. This combination residential hall and 91,000-square-foot (8,500 m2) recreational center also contains a regulation NCAA 200-meter running track and is home to the Cardinal indoor track team. The Res/Rec Center has won national acclaim due to its environmentally conscious design. The facility, with its innovative geothermal heating and cooling system and other sustainability features, has been awarded LEED Silver Certification [6].

Notable peopleEdit



Haunted HistoryEdit

Pfeiffer Hall has developed a reputation for playing host to as many as a half dozen ghosts, and is a popular attraction amongst super natural enthusiasts in the Chicago metropolitan area. Several books and articles written on the subject have listed the theater as being one of the most haunted buildings in Illinois. The most well-known account is that of an elderly lady dressed in a white dress who is said to have died in seat G-42 inside the theater. Other supposed ghosts include a drama teacher who is believed to have committed suicide in the theater and a former janitor named “Charlie Yellow Boots” that is said to haunt the west stairwell and balcony. [12] The legend of the Pfeiffer Hall Ghosts is popular amongst students and faculty as well residents of the city of Naperville.


  1. As of June 30, 2012. "U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2009 Endowment Market Value and Percentage Change in Endowment Market Value from FY 2008 to FY 2009" (PDF). 2009 NACUBO-Commonfund Study of Endowments. National Association of College and University Business Officers. Retrieved March 1, 2010.
  3. Canfield, Greg (2008-09-10). "Fine arts center set to open at North Central College in Naperville". Chicago Tribune.,0,1285833.story. Retrieved 2008-09-10.
  4. "U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2009 Endowment Market Value and Percentage Change in Endowment Market Value from FY 2008 to FY 2009" (PDF). 2009 NACUBO-Commonfund Study of Endowments. National Association of College and University Business Officers. Retrieved March 1, 2010.
  9. [1]
  10. .,CST-NWS-mtv10.article.[dead link]
  11. 11.0 11.1 "Kevin Manno leaving Q101 for MTV". Chicago Tribune. August 19, 2010.


External linksEdit

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