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Governors State University

Governors State University
Established 1969
Type Public
President Elaine P. Maimon
Provost Deborah Bordelon
Administrative staff
Undergraduates 2,632
Postgraduates 5,143
Location University Park, Illinois, USA
Campus Suburban
Colors Black      White     

North Central Association of Colleges and Schools

The Higher Learning Commission

Governors State University (GSU) is a public university located in University Park, Will County, Illinois, United States. The 750 acres (3.0 km2) campus is located 30 miles (48 km) south of Chicago, Illinois. GSU was founded in 1969. As of the fall semester 2014, it transitions from an upper-division public university that admitted juniors, seniors and graduate-level students to a comprehensive public university that offers undergraduate courses at all, including those at the masters and doctoral levels. GSU has four colleges: the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Business and Public Administration, the College of Education, and the College of Health and Human Services.


  • History 1
    • Awards 1.1
  • Campus 2
    • Points of interest 2.1
    • Sustainability 2.2
  • Academics 3
    • Rankings 3.1
  • Statistics 4
  • Student life 5
    • Popular events 5.1
  • Athletics 6
  • Alumni 7
    • Notable alumni 7.1
    • Notable faculty 7.2
    • Honorary degrees 7.3
  • See also 8
  • References 9
  • External links 10


Governors State University was officially established as a state-supported institution of higher education on July 17, 1969, when Illinois Governor Richard B. Ogilvie signed into law House Bill 666. The University was to have opened with its first class of students in September 1973. However, the four year planning period was reduced to two years and GSU received its first class of students in September 1971. GSU was one of the original "Universities without Walls" as well as a university that did not offer grades, but competencies. In place of departments, it had interdisciplinary studies, and all professors hold the rank of University Professor. GSU is one of the two initial upper-division and graduate universities in Illinois. The other was the University of Illinois at Springfield, founded in 1969 as Sangamon State University.

GSU has developed into a more traditional university, with divisions and departments, professors with rank (Assistant Professor, Associate Professor and Professor), and classrooms with smart technology. The first doctoral program was created in 2007 as a professional doctoral degree in Physical Therapy. GSU has the following colleges: Arts and Sciences, Business and Public Administration, Education, and Health and Human Services. The University as a whole is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. The business programs are accredited by the Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) and the public administration program is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA). The University is also a member of the Illinois Council of Baccalaureate and Higher Degree Programs. GSU will enroll its first freshman class in August 2014.


Governors State University was awarded the 2015 American Council on Education/Fidelity Investments Award for Institutional Transformation. It is given to "colleges or universities which, in a period of great change in higher education, have responded to challenges in innovative and creative ways that allows the institution to thrive."[1]

In 2014, GSU's Dual Degree Program was honored with the Student Success and College Completion Award by The American Association of State Colleges and Universities The inaugural award honors AASCU member institutions for excellence and innovation in several major areas of campus life and leadership.[2] In 2014, the National Resource Center for the First Year Experience and Students in Transition also recognized the Dual Degree Program at GSU with an award during its annual conference. The NRC launched the new award for "...institutions that have designed and implemented outstanding collaborative initiatives enhancing significant transitions during the undergraduate experience. Award recipients ... have demonstrated the effectiveness of the initiative in supporting student success, learning and development at a variety of transition points beyond the first college year and in responding to unique institutional needs."

"The National Resource Center is the epicenter of research and best practices on supporting students in transition. We are honored that they recognize our efforts and contributions to the field. And we look forward to exploring new and innovative ways to continue to support our transfer students," said Roshaunda Ross, Director of the Dual Degree Program.[3]

The University received the 2010 Governor's Sustainability Award for significant achievements in protecting the environment, helping sustain the future, and improving the economy. The awards were presented by the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC) during a luncheon in Champaign.


Located 35 miles (56 km) south of Chicago, GSU is situated at the intersection of city neighborhoods, suburban villages, and rural towns. It is also less than 30 minutes' drive from cities like Kankakee and Joliet as well as northwestern Indiana. The main campus is located on a 750-acre (3.0 km2) wooded landscape with several lakes and natural trails.

Points of interest

  • The Family Development Center (FDC) provides university-quality programs for children and their parents.The Family Development Center will be the Model Early Education Center for the South Suburbs. GSU Family development center programs model the best practices in Early Childhood Education and draw extensively on the expertise of university faculty and staff in Early Childhood Education, Nursing, Communications Disorders (speech and hearing), Psychology and Counseling. University students in these programs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels are active participants in the Family Development Center.The Family Development Center has been nationally recognized for meeting the highest standards of early childhood education. The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), the nation’s leading professional organization working on behalf of young children, has awarded accreditation to the FDC.
  • GSU is also home to the Center for Performing Arts, which draws entertainers and artists from around the world, as well as the local community. The Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra held monthly concerts on a fall through spring seasonal schedule throughout the 2007–2008 season.[4]
  • Ethnographic Arts Collection, owned by the University Foundation of Governors State University, the beginning of the Ethnographic Collection dates nearly from the beginning of the University. Objects were generously donated by former faculty, students, and patrons for the purpose of direct instruction in art history classes and ethnic studies so that students might know first hand and be able to study and handle examples from various regions of the world. Initially, some examples were accepted that are not of prime "museum quality" but retained value as teaching objects. Yet over the years donations from generous collectors increasingly included objects of the highest quality and included multiple examples from certain ethnic contexts.
  • GSU is home to the Nathan Manilow Sculpture Park (named for an area developer), located on the campus of Governors State University in University Park, Illinois. Established in 1969 and covering some 300 areas, the park is the direct result of the generosity and vision of Lewis Manilow, Chicago art collector and former president of the board of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. In the later 1960s Manilow began development of the "new town" of University Park (then called Park Forest South). Plans for the development included a sculpture park—an idea inspired in part by Manilow's involvement with Mark di Suvero, whose For Lady Day he purchased and subsequently gave to the park. Shortly thereafter the cultural foundation establishing the park obtained a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and commissioned works from John Chamberlain, Charles Ginnever, and Jerry Peart. The park has grown into a major collection of 26 works situated on the prairie of the Governors State University campus.[5]


Governors State University Solar-thermal Systems

In 2008, GSU renovated several parking lots, replacing asphalt with permeable pavers—interlocking bricks that allow rainwater to seep down, trapping heavy metals and pollutants before they enter storm sewers. GSU is also home to one of the state’s largest solar-thermal systems, which preheats water for the campus swimming pool and provides about one-third of the domestic hot water for the university’s main building.

Governors State University's Wind Turbine

In October 21, 2010, Warren Ribley, director of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, announced a $153,000 grant for the 50-kilowatt wind turbine to be located on the University Park campus. With the installation of an on-campus wind turbine, Governors State University will continue reducing its greenhouse gas emissions, and move toward its goal of becoming Illinois’ "greenest" university. The wind turbine will give Governors State a clean, renewable source of energy, and also be incorporated into the university’s academic programs.

On October 18, 2011, GSU held a groundbreaking ceremony for the beginning of the renovation of the university’s science facilities. The $22.6 million, three year renovation project will create state-of-the-art education facilities while providing more than 130 construction jobs. In addition to the positive impact the renovation project will have on the region’s economy, the building renovation will better equip GSU to educate students for regional jobs in healthcare, computer science, scientific, and mathematics research, and science and math education. The area to be renovated comprises approximately 76,000 square feet (7,100 m2) of space. During the renovation, crews will replace HVAC, electrical, plumbing, and lighting systems. Outmoded infrastructure and equipment will be replaced with modern facilities and equipment that will be energy-efficient and meet current codes and regulations. The project design calls for structural infill of existing atrium space, adding about 9,000 square feet (840 m2) of additional usable space. The renovated facilities will serve students and faculty in biology, chemistry, computer science, mathematics, nursing, communication disorders, occupational therapy, and physical therapy.


Students can choose from 22 bachelor’s, 27 graduate, and 4 doctoral degree programs. The university also offers 22 certificate programs. The most popular majors at Governors State University include: Business Administration and Management; Liberal Arts and Sciences; Criminal Justice; Elementary Education and Teaching; and Psychology. All of the university’s programs have earned appropriate professional accreditation (if such accreditation exists), and are recognized by their respective professions. The university itself is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Eighty-five percent of the faculty members at this school hold a Ph.D. or the highest degree in their discipline, and most of the classes have fewer than 30 students.


University rankings
Forbes[6] Not Ranked
U.S. News & World Report[7] Not Ranked
Washington Monthly[8] Not Ranked
U.S. News & World Report[9] Not Ranked
Master's University class
Washington Monthly[10] Not Ranked

Governors State University has been Ranked 67th among the best Health Administration Schools (US News 2008). Ranked 100th among the Best Occupational Therapy Schools (US News 2012). Ranked 154th among the best Physical Therapy Schools (US News 2012). Ranked 181th among best Speech-Language Pathology Schools (US News 2012).

GSU's Online MBA in Supply Chain Management is ranked the 15th best online supply chain management masters degree programs (The Best[11]

Governors State University is ranked 14th among universities nationwide in the number of graduates from its Master of Science in Analytical Chemistry program, according to the August 23, 2010 issue of Chemical & Engineering News. It placed ahead of institutions like Johns Hopkins University and Harvard University.


  • 51% of Governors State's students are minorities[12]
  • The average student is 32.4 years old[13]
  • 69.9% of Governors State students are women[14]—many are single working mothers
  • Approximately 90% of GSU faculty hold a doctorate or the highest degree in their discipline
  • Governors State's faculty are diverse (28% racial minority), double the national average

Student life

Governors State University has a very diverse student body, with a gender distribution of approximately 30 percent male students. There are plenty of academic and social support services to help students make the transition to college. There are also numerous diverse clubs, organizations, and activities that include academic, professional, political, social, talent, athletic, student government, media, religious, service, multicultural, special interest, and honor groups. Popular organizations include the Alpha Eta honor society, the Art Forum, the Association of Latin American Students, the Black Student Union, the Communicators Network, the International Business Club, the Human Resource Management Club, the Japanese Philosophy Art and Culture Club, the Presidents Club Council, and the Computer Science Club.

Popular events

Some popular special events that are held at the university include Alcohol Awareness Week, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration, Family Day, Lunch and Learn, Welcome Days, Salute to Grads, and the Governors State University Graduate Celebration with the Picnic by the Lake and Luau.


Students at Governors State University can participate in a number of intramural sports. All students are encouraged to participate. Available athletic programs include men’s and women’s intramural basketball, handball, racquetball, soccer softball, table tennis, and women’s intramural volleyball. The mascot of Governors State University is the jaguars as of 5/6/2014. GSU was accepted into membership by the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) for the 2015-16 school year. [15]


Debbie Halvorson

The University has more than 40,000 graduates who live in the United States and elsewhere.

Notable alumni

Notable faculty

Honorary degrees

  • Marca Bristo, gained honorary degree from Governors State University, Bristo was integral in the creation and passage of the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 for which she received the Distinguished Service Award of the President of the United States.

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ The Center for Performing Arts at GSU
  5. ^ Nathan Manilow Sculpture Park
  6. ^ "America's Top Colleges". Forbes. Retrieved August 15, 2015. 
  7. ^ "Best Colleges". U.S. News & World Report LP. Retrieved September 10, 2015. 
  8. ^ "2015 National Universities Rankings". Washington Monthly. n.d. Retrieved September 17, 2015. 
  9. ^ "Regional Universities Rankings". America's Best Colleges 2012. U.S. News & World Report. September 13, 2011. Retrieved September 25, 2011. 
  10. ^ "The Washington Monthly Master's University Rankings". The Washington Monthly. 2011. Retrieved October 6, 2011. 
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^

External links

  • GSU Official website
  • GSU Campus Map
  • The Center for Performing Arts
  • Nathan Manilow Sculpture Park

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