To the Illinois Wesleyan Community
From President Richard F. Wilson
I am delighted to announce that the new classroom building will be named State Farm Hall. From the time we covered the upper lintel with plywood last fall, there has been much speculation about what name was carved on the limestone underneath. Later this morning, that plywood will be removed to reveal the building name, and on Friday news reports will begin to appear in the media.
The decision to name this building in honor of State Farm recognizes not only the significance of the company’s lead gift to this building and to the University’s Transforming Lives Campaign, but also reflects its unwavering support for our students, faculty, staff and curriculum in a variety of significant ways over the decades.
One important, early connection to our academic offerings occurred in 1929, when Professor of Economics William Beadles introduced an insurance course to the curriculum. Professor Beadles later went on to serve as State Farm’s National Insurance Education Advisor. Today, our risk management program is one of only about 40 offered nationally. Our connection with State Farm has grown to include 324 of our graduates working at the company as well as a broad range of interactions in other areas that are important to the University and the community, including:
The State Farm Scholars Program, which provides scholarships to 100 Illinois Wesleyan students each year
Summer internships in the local community for 10 students each year, as part of the work of the Action Research Center
Scholarship and internships made possible by the IWU Associates, a McLean County business leaders group that was first established by State Farm’s CEO nearly 60 years ago
Grants to the IWU Habitat for Humanity chapter
Joint participation in important community programs like the Achievement Gap Task Force and the annual Minority Academic Achievement Recognition Ceremony
Sustained effort that State Farm employees devote to University advisory boards and extracurricular programs.
State Farm Hall will anchor the north end of the Robert S. Eckley Quadrangle and will provide students and faculty members with instructional spaces that take advantage of the latest in classroom design. When the building opens this fall, it will have 19 technology-rich classrooms, seminar rooms and a small auditorium style case study classroom; individual and group study areas for student use throughout the day and after classes are over; research labs for Economics and Educational Studies; and conference rooms and faculty offices for the Business Administration and Economics departments. State Farm Hall will also provide a stunning backdrop for our Commencement ceremonies each spring.
We are extremely grateful to the State Farm Foundation for its help in making this extraordinary building possible and for the support provided for other important initiatives over the years.