North Central College

North Central College
Motto Be Central
Type Private
Established 1861
Affiliation United Methodist Church
Endowment $96.4 million[1]
President Troy D. Hammond, Ph.D.
Academic staff
Students 3,000
Undergraduates 2,700
Postgraduates 300
Location Naperville, Illinois, United States
Campus Suburban
Colors Cardinal red and white          
Mascot Cardinals
Affiliations College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin

North Central College is a coeducational, liberal arts college located in downtown Naperville, Illinois, US. It is part of the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin, and is affiliated with the United Methodist Church. It has nearly 70 areas of study, including majors, minors, pre-professional and graduate programs, weaving together the arts and sciences. Currently it has 2,800 undergraduates and 260 graduate students. Unlike most colleges, it utilizes a trimester-based academic calendar.[2]


North Central College was founded in 1861 as Plainfield College in Plainfield, Illinois. Classes were first held on November 11 of that year. On February 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 school is just 28 miles from the Chicago Loop, which allows students to have internships, jobs and other opportunities in Chicago.


The college is located on a 65-acre (24 ha) campus in downtown Naperville on Chicago Avenue.

In the early 1900s 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.[3]

NCC Old Main in Spring 2013

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 live performances by popular music artists and comedians.

In 2008, North Central College dedicated the $30 million Wentz Concert Hall and Fine Arts Center. Designed by the 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, as well as the 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 Myron Wentz, Class of 1963. Nearly $10 million in gifts from Wentz a scientist, 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.

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 and 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).[4]

Meiley Swallow Hall

The 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.

Residence halls

There are 12 residence halls at North Central College, eight of which are traditional while four are apartments and suites.

Geiger Hall is a co-ed residence hall housing 75 first-year students, with men and women on alternate floors. It is conveniently located between Kaufman Dining Hall and the Wentz Concert Hall and Fine Arts Center. Within seconds, students can walk right to the energetic atmosphere of downtown Naperville or take a stroll or jog along the tranquil River Walk. Close to both academic and athletic facilities, Geiger residents find it easy to get around campus. The hall features very spacious double rooms, accessible laundry rooms on each floor, and a newly renovated lounge that turns into extra seating for Kaufman Dining Hall during meal times. The lounge has high-top tables and booths, computers that are accessible to students, and a brand new flat-panel TV. This beautiful lounge, equipped with Wi-Fi Internet, offers students a neutral area to study, eat or just spend time with friends.

New Hall is the latest residence hall erected on North Central campus, home to approximately 200 students living in single, double, or triple-occupancy rooms. It is located on the south side of campus, across the street from the Benedetti Wehrli Stadium and right in the heart of the North Central College athletic center. Construction began shortly before Student Village was demolished in order to accommodate the forthcoming "world class" science center and was completed for the 2015-16 school year. To date, however, the hall has yet to find a sponsor or someone to give it a namesake.

Patterson Hall is a traditional-style residence hall. It is home to approximately 180 students living in double- and triple-occupancy rooms. Located on the south side of campus, Patterson is only steps away from Benedetti Wehrli Stadium, across the street from Kaufman Dining Hall, and a block away from downtown Naperville shopping and eateries. This hall is connected to Ward Hall on the first floor with access to an additional kitchen, Ward's front desk and computer lab.

Peter and Paul Hall houses a close-knit community of 40 first-year women in air-conditioned, double-occupancy rooms. Located in the center of campus, it is close to the Harold and Eva White Activities Center, Pfeiffer Hall and most classrooms.

Rall Hall is home to 150 first-year women. This three story L-shaped building is centrally located on campus, just a few blocks away from academic buildings and the athletic facilities. It is directly across the street from Jefferson Plaza, where many students study and play sports. Rall is also connected to Kaufman Dining Hall, which is convenient for residents on bad weather days. Rall is walking distance from the center of lively downtown Naperville. This hall is known for its creative hallway murals painted by the previous year's residents. Residents are encouraged to express their personalities and leave a part of themselves for the next year's students to enjoy. The lounges are located in the center of each floor.

Seager Hall is home to 150 first-year students. Its first floor is all women who form a close-knit group known as the "Seager Sisters"; the top three floors house men. The diversity among students here means that students will find others with similar interests, while gaining perspective into other cultures and aspects of life. Seager Hall is located across the street from Kaufman Dining Hall, and only a block away from downtown Naperville shopping and eateries.

Seybert Hall once served as a residence hall for the Evangelical Theological Seminary. This charming historic building houses 67 men and women. Rooms in Seybert come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Located at the north end of campus, Seybert is close to classrooms, the library and the Rolland Center Boilerhouse Cafe and directly across from the beautifully renovated Kiekhofer Hall and Koten Chapel. Because the hall is surrounded by historic homes, residents enjoy the feeling of getting away from campus without actually leaving.

Student Village housed first-year men and women in traditional triple rooms in a uniquely built building. With three towers, three floors in each tower, and three rooms on each of the floors, Student Village allowed its residents to connect and interact daily in a multitude of ways. Whether studying in the lounge, hanging out in their rooms, or painting the large windows on the first floor, the residents of Student Village brought the walls and halls of their small but mighty community to life. In 2015, Student Village was torn down in order to accommodate the brand-new, "world class" science center the college was building, which is due to be completed in April 2017.

Kimmel Hall is located on the north end of campus, and offers a historic ambiance. It houses 118 men and women in air-conditioned, triple-occupancy rooms with kitchenettes and bathrooms. Kimmel is close to classrooms, the library and the Rolland Center Boilerhouse Café. Because the hall is surrounded by historic homes, residents enjoy the feeling of getting away from campus without leaving campus. In the basement is a student lounge, a computer lounge and an area for laundry.

Schneller Hall houses 95 upper-class men and women in 19 suites. Each two-story suite accommodates between three and seven students in double- and single-occupancy rooms. Each suite has a living room, bathroom and kitchenette. The building features several lounges, study areas and a multi-purpose room with a kitchen.

Naper Place Apartments is located in downtown Naperville, just two blocks from campus Naper Place Apartments. It is the newest option for upperclass students. Home to 145 students living in double, triple, and quad apartments, Naper Place is the perfect living option for independent, mature upper-class students. The first floor of the building features several study areas and lounges.

Ward Hall is on the south side of campus. The building is located steps from Benedetti-Wehrli Stadium, across the street from Kaufman Dining Hall, and only a block away from downtown Naperville shopping and eateries. This suite-style hall has single and double bedrooms organized around shared living spaces and bathrooms. Generally a quiet building housing 85 upperclass men and women, Ward is ideal for students who are looking for a smaller community, but who still enjoy the benefits of living in a large residence hall. Ward features a multi-purpose room with a large television and kitchen. Ward's front desk offers students the opportunity to rent movies and games.[5]

Academic profile


During the 2014-2015 academic year, North Central had an overall acceptance rate of 59%.[6] During the 2013-2014 year, the average high school GPA of admitted students was 3.6.[7] For the 2015-2016 academic year, North Central had an acceptance rate of 57% for first year students, while the acceptance rate for transfers was 50%.[8]

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.[6] Each year, North Central ranks among the top schools in the nation in the number of students to present at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research and hosts its own Rall Symposium for Undergraduate Research.[9]


North Central College garnered recognition as a top producer of Fulbright students for 2014-2015, and was awarded two more Fulbright English Teaching Assistantships.[10] The college was one of five schools nationwide recognized with a 2015 Senator Paul Simon Award for Comprehensive Internationalization by NAFSA: Association of International Educators. It was named a "Military-Friendly School 2015" by G.I. Jobs Magazine, and to the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for its exemplary community service.[10] 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).[11] North Central also is one of Kaplan's "320 Most Interesting Colleges".


North Central has all-college requirements, which include an intercultural seminar, a leadership, ethics and values seminar, and a religion and ethics course, which are important components to the integrative curriculum.[12] The general education program enables students to have an interdisciplinary approach to courses, connecting science, politics, business, arts, and other areas. The core areas emphasize written and oral communication, critical thinking and reasoning.

Faculty and students collaborate across every field of study through year-round faculty-directed research, on-campus seminars, fieldwork and independent study. This provides students the opportunity of independent study, which consists of proposing a subject or area of study that is not in the catalogue of courses. A student-created plan of study must be approved by a faculty member. North Central College has additional opportunities for individual work, such as the Richter Independent Study Grants and the Honors program's Senior Honors Thesis.[12] Students are encouraged to study abroad, with opportunities on five continents from three-week courses to full-time term-long or full-year programs. Service learning at North Central includes community-based projects, courses and athletic programs with service-learning components, and an alternative spring break program that sends hundreds of students out to support service projects such as building homes for Habitat for Humanity and rebuilding communities hit by hurricanes and tornadoes.

Arts and media

Carnegie Hall at NCC

North Central College has a very strong theatre program. It offers majors like Music, Theatre, Musical Theatre and the most recently created, Theatrical Design and Technology. It has four theatre venues, Madden Theatre, Wentz Concert Hall, Meiley Swallow Hall and Pfeiffer Hall. Madden Theatre is a 150-seat, black box theater which hosts college performances and visiting guests, including concerts, cabaret-style revues, theater, film and dance performances.[13]

Wentz Concert Hall has a capacity of 617 spectators, and is home to performances of classical, jazz and contemporary music. The acoustics in Wentz Concert Hall were designed by Talaske Sound Thinking, acoustical consultants for Chicago’s critically acclaimed Pritzker Pavilion at Millennium Park. The venue also is ideally suited for recording.[14] Wentz Concert Hall, which was created in honor of alumnus and donor Myron W. Wentz, has hosted a performers like cellist Yo-Yo Ma; Lyric Opera of Chicago soloist Elizabeth Futral; the Chicago Symphony Orchestra; jazz legends Herb Alpert, Herbie Hancock and Ramsey Lewis; and contemporary artists Béla Fleck and the Flecktones, Colbie Caillat and Los Lonely Boys.

The hall is the west suburban home of the Chicago Sinfonietta, and the home of the DuPage Symphony Orchestra. It is an incomparable venue to showcase bands, orchestras and choirs of area high schools, as well as the college’s multitude of musical ensembles and soloists. The Canadian quintet Canadian Brass, formed by Gene Watts and Charles Daellenbach, is a recurring guest at the hall.

The Pfeiffer Hall is the biggest theatre venue, with a capacity of 1,057 people and a large proscenium stage. When it opened, it was the largest theatre in the West Chicagoland. Martin Luther King, Jr., Robert Frost and Henry Kissinger, have been guest speakers.[15] This hall also provides classrooms for the music and theatre programs, and faculty offices for North Central’s speech communication department.

Wentz Concert Hall on the campus of North Central College

The Meiley-Swallow Hall has a capacity of 239 people and is suitable for intimate theatre productions, panel discussions, presentations and speakers. The theatre is located inside Meiley-Swallow Hall, formerly Grace Evangelical Church and former Central Baptist Church, purchased by North Central College and renovated to house North Central College’s fine arts performance, exhibit and curricular programs. It has a partnership with the Anderson's Bookshops in Naperville, and thanks to it, authors like Bill Bryson, Garth Stein and Antonio Sacre have been guest speakers.

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 chosen 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 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.[16]

North Central College is home to radio station WONC-FM 89.1. It is student-run, and is part of both the Broadcast Communication and Media Studies programs. The station helps students pursue careers in both on-the-air and behind-the-scenes roles. It airs music and talk shows, traffic reports, coverage and broadcast of sports events, and public service announcements.[17] Its general manager is John Madormo, assistant professor of Broadcast Communication and member of the board of the Intercollegiate Broadcasting System (IBS). In 1974, WONC received the Billboard Magazine Radio Station of the Year Award. It won the Best College Radio station award in March 2015.[18] No other college radio station has garnered more Marconi College Radio Awards than WONC, which has earned 20. It was awarded the 2015 Intercollegiate Broadcasting System Abraham and Borst Best College Station in the Nation.

The Chronicle is the student newspaper of North Central College.


Athletic logo

North Central College's mascot is the Cardinal, in tradition of the bird's habitat 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. North Central athletes have won 115 individual national championships.[19] The total number of national championships puts the college at 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 different sports. Since joining the CCIW, North Central has won 164 conference titles along with 14 CCIW postseason tournament titles.[20]

North Central College was a member of the Illinois Intercollegiate Athletic Conference from 1927 to 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.[21] During the 2011-2012 school year, the men's indoor track team repeated again as national champions, and the cross country team repeated as national champions. The campus has also hosted past NCAA Division III national events.

North Central's women's basketball team won the 1983 NCAA Women's Division III Basketball Championship in an 83-71 win over then-defending champions, Elizabethtown College.

Athletic facilities include Benedetti-Wehrli Stadium, which seats 5,500, was completed in 1999. 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 has permanent seating for 750 fans and a fully enclosed and wireless press box. 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 Shanowers' son Dan, a commander in the U.S. Navy, was among the victims of the September 11 terrorist attack on the Pentagon. The field has hosted 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 the fall of 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.[22]

Notable people




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  2. "Colleges US News Midwest Rankings".
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  7. "North Central Expected to Top Record 3,000 Students - Chronicle Media". Chronicle Media.
  8. "North Central College begins academic year with record number of first-year students".
  9. "Students Awards".
  10. 1 2 "North Central College Accolades".
  11. "North Central College".
  12. 1 2 "North Central College Academics".
  13. "Madden Theatre".
  14. "Wentz Concert Hall".
  15. "Pfeiffer Hall".
  16. "College among first in nation to present "The Phantom of the Opera"". Archived from the original on 5 November 2010.
  17. "North Central College WONC".
  18. "North Central College WONC".
  19. "North Central College Athletics".
  20. "North Central College Athletics". North Central College.
  21. "North Central College Athletics". North Central College.
  22. "LEED certificiation - North Central College - Naperville, IL".
  23. "Kevin Manno leaving Q101 for MTV". Chicago Tribune. August 19, 2010.

Coordinates: 41°46′32″N 88°8′34″W / 41.77556°N 88.14278°W / 41.77556; -88.14278

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