State Farm Hall Located on Historic Site
Jan. 18, 2013
BLOOMINGTON, Ill.—The nearly 100-year relationship between Illinois Wesleyan University and State Farm Insurance is being recognized in a very significant way with the announcement that the University’s new 48,700-square-foot classroom building will be named State Farm Hall. The landmark building being constructed on the north end of the Eckley Quadrangle is the site of the University’s first building, Old North Hall. Scheduled for classes this fall, State Farm Hall will be officially dedicated in October.
“The relationship between Illinois Wesleyan and State Farm is broad, deep and enduring,” said President Richard F. Wilson. “Naming the classroom building State Farm Hall recognizes the rich history of the relationship and acknowledges the significance of the campaign’s lead gift for this project from the State Farm Companies Foundation to the Transforming Lives campaign.”
One of the early connections between State Farm and IWU was forged by Dr. William Beadles, a graduate of IWU and former Professor of Economics at the University. He helped build the University’s initial offering of insurance in 1929 into a core business component at the school, making IWU one of approximately 40 universities nationally boasting a risk management program. His work led to the instruction of the first CLU, CPCU and Insurance Institute of America classes for State Farm, and he later served as the company’s National Insurance Education Advisor. Today, as a result of this strong association built through the years by Dr. Beadles and many others, there are 324 Illinois Wesleyan graduates working at State Farm.
“State Farm and Illinois Wesleyan have enjoyed a relationship built around education and professional development that covers decades. We look forward to the many opportunities that the new state-of-the-art building and classrooms bring to the University and its students,” said Ed Rust Jr., State Farm’s Chairman and CEO.
In addition to supporting building projects like State Farm Hall, the Foundation supports the State Farm Scholars Program, which provides financial assistance to 100 Illinois Wesleyan students each year. The University and State Farm (including the Foundation) have worked together on a number of projects important to the Bloomington/Normal community, including the Achievement Gap Task Force, the annual Minority Academic Achievement Recognition Ceremony and a unique dual internship program in which 10 Action Research Center interns work each summer at both State Farm and a local not -for -profit organization. State Farm’s commitment to the University is also reflected in the sustained effort that employees devote to University advisory groups and extracurricular programs.
“The naming of the classroom building in honor of State Farm recognizes a long history of support for the University and makes a profound statement about the importance of the liberal arts tradition in higher education,” noted George A.Vinyard, chair of the IWU Board of Trustees. “State Farm has been a consistent partner in the University’s efforts to offer an instructional program of the highest quality, one that celebrates the liberal arts and the professional programs grounded in that tradition.”
Once completed, classes that have been taught since 1954 in Shaw Hall, will be moved to the new State Farm Hall. The new building will have 19 technology-rich classrooms, seminar rooms and a small auditorium style case study classroom. One of the special features of the building is the number of individual and group study areas that will be available for student use throughout the day and after classes are over. In addition, the four-story structure will house economics and educational studies research labs, conference rooms and faculty offices for the Business Administration and Economics departments. As the signature building on the north end of the Eckley Quadrangle, State Farm Hall will also provide a stunning backdrop for Commencement ceremonies.