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 old-time baseball exhibition during Homecoming week will pit University representatives against a team from the City of Elmhurst.
  • An institutional history project, Calling All Voices, will spotlight the stories of alumni and faculty.
  • The Elmhurst History Museum will host a special exhibition focusing on the University’s history, with a public lecture by Professor Robert Butler, chair of the Department of History.
  • On Dec. 6, 2021, the University will celebrate Founders Day with a reenactment of Rev. Kranz’s arrival in Elmhurst with his students.

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.

Meanwhile, there is much to come on these 150th-anniversary web pages.

Throughout the coming year, we’ll:

  • Shine a spotlight on students, faculty and alumni as they reflect on Elmhurst’s past and future.
  • Keep you informed on all of the upcoming sesquicentennial-related events.
  • Add more photos and video in dynamic galleries and an interactive timeline.

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