About Elmhurst’s Sesquicentennial Anniversary

The University begins a year of looking back and looking forward.

Elmhurst’s Commencement ceremonies in May of 2021 kicked off a year-long celebration of the University’s founding on December 6, 1871.

On that date, the Rev. Carl F. Kranz and 14 students stepped off a train in downtown Elmhurst to launch the Elmhurst Proseminary, a school to prepare teenage boys for careers as teachers and preachers in the German Evangelical Synod of the Northwest.

From those humble roots 150 years ago, the institution now known as Elmhurst University has dramatically expanded its impact across the region, the nation and the world.

Over the course of the year, the University will celebrate its history, its impact on the community and the many lives it has shaped with a series of events and programs.

  • An institutional history project, Calling All Voices, has spotlighted the stories of alumni and faculty.
  • The Elmhurst History Museum hosted a special exhibition focusing on the University’s history.

The sesquicentennial will wrap up with Elmhurst’s May 2022 Commencement.

“Throughout its history, Elmhurst has transformed the lives of its students, educating and preparing them to contribute meaningfully to a world that needs their diverse insights, knowledge and promise. That’s true now more than ever,” said President Troy D. VanAken.

We are thrilled for this opportunity to share our story with the world.

Troy D. VanAken President

Even as Elmhurst celebrates its history, it remains focused on its future. The sesquicentennial celebration coincides with the introduction of new initiatives to guide the University through the years ahead, emphasizing the transformative potential of higher education.

Connect with our Office of Institutional Advancement to learn more about this special moment in our institution’s history.

Sesquicentennial Events

Join the celebration! We welcome you to mark this historic year with us at a series of signature events.

View Events

Elmhurst Voices

Read along as students, faculty members, staff and alumni share their fondest Elmhurst memories.

View Stories

Senior Reflections

Each week throughout the 2021-2022 academic year, we are publishing a poignant reflection from a senior Elmhurst student.

Reflections from the Chapel