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Profiles

  • William Rainey Harper (1856 - 1906)
    William Rainey Harper (July 24, 1856 – January 10, 1906) was an American academic leader, an accomplished semiticist, and Baptist clergyman. Harper helped to establish both the University of Chicago ...
  • Gordon Miller Buehrig (1904 - 1990)
    Gordon Miller Buehrig (B-yur-rig) (June 18, 1904 – January 22, 1990) was an American automobile designer. Early life Gordon Miller Buehrig was born in Mason City, Illinois on June 18, 1904 to a ...
  • Anthony Parker
    Michael Parker (born June 19, 1975) is an American retired professional basketball player who played in the National Basketball Association (NBA), as well as in Italy and Israel.After graduating from B...
  • Jerry Krause (1939 - 2017)
    "Jerry" Krause was a former professional basketball scout and general manager for, among other franchises, the Baltimore Bullets and, most notably, the Chicago Bulls of the National Basketball Associat...
  • Robin Kelly, U.S. Congress
    L. Kelly, a Representative from Illinois; born in New York, N.Y., April 30, 1956; graduated from Rhodes Prep High School, New York, N.Y., 1973; B.A., Bradley University, Peoria, Ill., 1977; M.A., Bradl...

Wikipedia

Bradley University is a private, mid-sized university in Peoria, Illinois. Founded in 1897, Bradley University currently enrolls 5,700 students.

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 early and suddenly, leaving Bradley a childless widow. The Bradleys had discussed establishing an orphanage in memory of their deceased children. After some study and travel to various institutions, Mrs. Bradley decided instead to found a school where young people could learn how to do practical things to prepare them for living in the modern world. 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: "...it being the first object of this Institution to furnish its students with the means of living an independent, industrious and useful life by the aid of a practical knowledge of the useful arts and sciences."

In October 1896 Mrs. Bradley was introduced to Dr. William Rainey Harper, president of the University of Chicago. He soon 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.

Contracts for Bradley Hall and Horology Hall (now Westlake) were awarded in April and work moved ahead quickly. Fourteen faculty and 150 students began classes in Bradley Hall on October 4—with 500 workers still hammering away. (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. There was only one other high school in the city of Peoria at the time. 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.

Notable Alumni