About Our College
In 1871, Jennie and Thomas Barbour Bryan gave land in Elmhurst to the German Evangelical Synod of the Northwest. This land was given for the purpose of establishing a school to prepare young men for the theological seminary and to train teachers for parochial schools, and was named the Elmhurst Proseminary. The first students, who were all male, studied Latin, Greek, English, German, music, history, geography, mathematics, science, and religion. All classes were taught in German. It wasn't until 1917 that the catalog was published in English. In 1919, the name was changed to the Elmhurst Academy and Junior College, and the expanded curriculum included courses in public speaking, physical education, economics, psychology, and the history of education. In 1924, the school was renamed Elmhurst College and became a four-year college for men. The college seal was designed in the 1920s by Robert Leonhardt, first registrar of the college, who also served as coach of the football team. Women first enrolled in 1930, and four years later, the college was accredited. The college began its graduate programs in 1998, and in 2012 the School for Professional Studies (SPS) was established to offer a wide range of online programs, including undergraduate degrees, graduate degrees and certificate programs. On June 15, 2019, the Elmhurst College Board of Trustees approved a name change to Elmhurst University, which took place July 1, 2020.