On July 15, 1895, DeKalb was chosen as the site for a new “normal school” to serve the growing northern Illinois region.
Competition had been fierce, with DeKalb vying for the honor against Dixon, Rockford, Polo, Oregon, Fulton and Freeport. The people of DeKalb rallied around their city’s candidacy, and when the announcement was made, all of DeKalb celebrated with fireworks, flags, and a 15-minute salute from every factory whistle in town.
One hundred and twenty-five years later, the City of DeKalb officially recognized that momentuous occasion by issuing a proclamation celebrating the longstanding and productive relationship between DeKalb and NIU.
Read at the July 13 City Council meeting, the proclamation acknowledges NIU’s role as the area’s largest employer, provider of entertainment, cultural and educational events, and loyal partner in attracting economic development to the region.
“NIU produces through its graduates a large proportion of the community’s leaders as well as volunteers who serve on countless boards and commissions,” read DeKalb Mayor Jerry Smith, himself an NIU alumnus.
“The many thousands of students, faculty and staff who have attended and worked at Northern Illinois University have enlivened our community for more than a century,” Smith added.
NIU President Lisa Freeman was on hand to receive a framed copy of the proclamation.
“It’s an honor to accept this proclamation on behalf of NIU and the Huskie family,” Freeman said.
“I am confident that NIU and DeKalb will emerge from these unprecedented times stronger together because of our commitment to collaboration and our willingness to have candid conversations about our shared challenges and opportunities.”