Northern Illinois University is a teaching and research institution with a diverse and international student body of more than 24,000 students. NIU opened in 1899 as the Northern Illinois State Normal School, founded to prepare college-educated teachers. It became Northern Illinois State College in 1955, and Northern Illinois University in 1957.
The university also operates education centers in Hoffman Estates, Naperville and Rockford, Ill., to offer programs at times and locations designed to accommodate student needs. The 756-acre main campus is located in DeKalb, Ill., about 65 miles west of Chicago.