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.