North Central College - Naperville, IL

150 Moments: Pfeiffer Hall and Wentz Concert Hall and Fine Arts Center

Pfeiffer Hall interior, 1926
North Central College’s Pfeiffer Hall and Wentz Concert Hall and Fine Arts Center are fine and performing arts gems spanning two centuries.

North Central College’s Pfeiffer Hall and Wentz Concert Hall and Fine Arts Center are fine and performing arts gems of both the 20th and 21st centuries.

150 Moments: Meiley-Swallow Hall has faith beginnings

Meiley-Swallow Hall, today
Built in 1909 with connections to founders of North Central College, the red brick church was acquired by the College and renamed Meiley-Swallow Hall in 2007.

Dedicated in 2007 as an academic and fine arts building, North Central College’s Meiley-Swallow Hall has connections to founders of the College.

The Evangelical Association was the founding church of North Central College. When the College relocated to Naperville in 1870, the Zion “Old Brick Church” Congregation (now Community United Methodist Church) was instrumental in funding the College’s relocation expenses and became the religious home of many of the professors and their families.

Local historian publishes column about College’s origins in Plainfield

Plainfield College
Local historian Michael Lambert writes in Plainfield Patch about 19th century people and events that preceded the College’s origins in Plainfield.

Local historian Michael Lambert writes in Plainfield Patch about 19th century people and events that preceded the College’s origins in Plainfield.

“Although North Central College is officially 150 years old this week, the school has been a Naperville institution for a mere 141 years,” Lambert writes.

150 Moments: Eating and boarding clubs in the early years

Bonita eating club, ca. 1908
North Central College did not provide room and dining facilities in the early 20th century, but private homes offered room and eating clubs served up meals.

During the early years, North Central College did not provide room and dining facilities. The original Kaufman Hall was not built until 1928 as the first women’s residence hall and dining facility built by the College.

150 Moments: Students hold protests in 1946 to lift ban on dancing

North Central College students ask trustees to lift dancing ban, then hold formal protest, including missing classes and dancing outside Old Main.

From the establishment of the College through the 19th century, social dancing at North Central College was viewed as a gateway to sin.

By the mid-20th century, students increasingly sought social change on campus to allow social dancing at North Central, signaling a deviation from traditional culture to a forward-minded collegiate culture. A student poll showed 70 percent of the students favored dancing.

150 Moments: Evangelical Theological Seminary

Evangelical Theological Seminary chapel service, Koten Chapel
North Central College and Evangelical Theological Seminary shared campus space, spiritual heritage from the College's earliest days in Naperville.

North Central College and Evangelical Theological Seminary, formerly the Union Biblical Institute, shared campus space and spiritual heritage from the College's earliest days in Naperville. 

Incorporated in 1873, the Union Biblical Institute (UBI) began holding classes on North Central College’s campus in 1876, renting space in Old Main for a nominal fee. The Evangelical Association started UBI as a training ground for its pastors, missionaries and church workers.

Mayor declares Nov. 11 "North Central College Day" in City of Naperville

Robert Fieseler, from left, Harold R. Wilde and A. George Pradel.
Naperville Mayor A. George Pradel has declared Nov. 11 North Central College Day in the City of Naperville.

Nov. 7, 2011—Naperville Mayor A. George Pradel has declared Friday, Nov. 11 "North Central College Day" in the City of Naperville.

A resolution commemorating the College’s Sesquicentennial was read at the Nov. 1 meeting of the Naperville City Council and presented to College President Harold R. Wilde by council member Robert Fieseler.

150 Moments: Carnegie Library, Goldspohn Science Hall, the heating plant

Three iconic buildings, built in the early 1900s, doubled the College’s physical plant and are still fully utilized today, though for different purposes.

By the early 1900s, North Central College’s need for space beyond Old Main became a crucial concern. College President Herman J. Kiekhoefer and Judge John S. Goodwin initiated contact with philanthropist Andrew Carnegie to seek out funds for new facilities.

After much discussion, Carnegie agreed to donate $25,000 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.

150 Moments: WNCC to WNOC to WONC—the radio voice of North Central College

WONC broadcast studio in Old Main
From ham radio, to carrier current and AM, to WONC-FM 89.1 and the Internet, the radio voice of North Central College has been broadcasting for 64 years.

After World War II, incoming students to North Central College included a number of returning war veterans, many of whom had experience as service radio technicians during the war. As a result of the hard work and efforts of eight student technicians, the campus radio club was born, using ham radio.

150 Moments: Bus trip to Selma, Ala., in support of civil rights

Civil rights march at Edmund Pettus Bridge, 1965
Three busloads of North Central College students and faculty travel to Selma, Ala., to participate in civil rights march with Rev. King March 21, 1965.

On March 7, 1965, nonviolent civil rights activists participated in a march from Selma to Montgomery, Ala., to support voters’ registration rights.

As participants crossed the arched Edmund Pettus Bridge at the edge of Selma, they encountered a squadron of hostile Alabama state troopers who attacked the marchers with tear gas, nightsticks and bullwhips. The day has since been known as Bloody Sunday.

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