SIUE is a student-centered educational community dedicated to communicating, expanding and integrating knowledge. In a spirit of collaboration enriched by diverse ideas, our comprehensive and unique array of undergraduate and graduate programs develops professionals, scholars and leaders who shape a changing world.
SIUE traces its origin to a farsighted group of concerned parents and business leaders in the community. In 1955, the group began an advocacy campaign to establish a public university. By 1956, they had formed the Southwestern Illinois Council for Higher Education. Convinced that public higher education opportunities were needed in the Metro-East portion of the greater St. Louis area, the Council aggressively lobbied state officials and commissioned a consultant study to document that need.
In 1957, the See-Myers report was released and indicated that in Madison-St. Clair Counties, with 600,000 residents—the largest population concentration in the state outside of metropolitan Chicago—only three percent of the adult population had completed four years of college. There was no conveniently located university in the two-county area, and many students could not afford to pay tuition and live away from home. Area business leaders and industrialists articulated an ever-growing need to hire college-educated employees.
In 1957, SIU opened two residence centers in Alton and East St. Louis. In 1958, the Council began a highly successful private fundraising campaign to purchase land for a new campus. By 1959, enrollment had increased to 3,800, greatly exceeding the temporary facilities and available services. A planning team investigated permanent sites in the Metro-East counties and selected a location near Edwardsville.
When Illinois legislators authorized a bond issue to fund public university facility improvements in 1960, area residents expressed their overwhelming approval at the ballot box. Groundbreaking for SIUE was held in 1963. In 1965, SIUE opened the Peck Classroom Building and Lovejoy Library in the midst of 2,660 acres of rolling land and woods.
Today, fulfilling the dreams of the Council, SIUE is a premier metropolitan university, offering a broad choice of degrees and programs ranging from liberal arts to professional studies. Undergraduate and graduate degrees are offered in the arts and sciences, business, education, engineering and nursing.
Since economic growth today is inescapably knowledge-based, through its skilled graduates, its faculty expertise in consulting and grants, and its multimillion dollar expenditures, SIUE contributes substantially to the economic vigor of our metropolitan region. SIUE is one of the largest employers in Madison County. Our graduates become part of a highly educated, skilled workforce, enriching the communities in which they live.
- Social, civic and political responsibility—globally, nationally, locally and within the University
- Active partnerships and a climate of collaboration and cooperation among students, faculty, staff, alumni and the larger community
- Sustainable practices in environmental, financial and social endeavors
- High-quality learning within and beyond the classroom
- Continuous improvement and innovation
- Outstanding scholarship and public service
- A welcoming and supportive environment
- Openness to the rich diversity of humankind in all aspects of university life
- Respect for individuals, differences and cultures
- Intellectual freedom and diversity of thought
- Accountability to those we serve and from whom we receive support
- Honesty in our communications and in our actions
- Creation, preservation, and sharing of knowledge
- Application of knowledge in a manner that promotes the common good
- Lifelong learning