Construction on the “Old Normal Building” (sometimes called the first Old Main) began.
The first class of 51 students enrolled. They were taught by 12 faculty. Robert Allyn was the first president.
Alexander Lane becomes the first African-American male student to enroll. He went on to become the first principal of a Carbondale primary school. He later moved to Chicago, graduated from medical school, became a prominent physician and was subsequently elected to the Illinois General Assembly.
The Old Normal Building burned. It was replaced by Old Main in 1887.
SIU celebrated its 25th anniversary.
The SIU Alumni Association was formed.
The first yearbook, the “Sphinx,” was issued by the junior class.
Henry W. Shryock was appointed president and served in the position until 1935.
The first “”Obelisk” school annual was published.
Shryock Auditorium was dedicated and the address was given by former President William Howard Taft.
SIU celebrated its 50th anniversary.
The publication of the “Egyptian” as a weekly campus paper began.
Student health services were first offered, on the first floor of Davies Gymnasium.
Roscoe Pulliam, who earned his bachelor’s degree at SIU, became the first alumnus to be chosen as the university’s president or chancellor.
The SIU Foundation was established.
The state gave SIU limited university status so some graduate programs could be offered.
Saad Jabr from Iraq enrolled as SIU’S first international student.
Delyte W. Morris was appointed president and he served in that position until 1970.
SINU officially changed its name to Southern Illinois University.
SIU celebrated its 75th “Diamond Jubilee” anniversary
The Vocational Technical Institute was founded. It later became the College of Applied Sciences and Arts.
The Graduate School was established.
Camp Little Giant, the first university-affiliated camping program for people with disabilities in the United States opened at Touch of Nature Environmental Center.
The Board of Trustees approved the first doctoral programs in speech correction and government (now political science) to be offered in fall 1956; and programs in education and psychology, available beginning in fall 1957.
The SIU Press was founded. The first book was published in 1956.
The first phase of the new Morris Library building, encompassing three floors, opened. The second phase – four additional floors – was added in 1964.
The first phase of the Student Center opened.
The Dewey Center was founded and began publishing the works of John Dewey a few years later.
The Saluki basketball team, led by Walt Frazier, won the NIT national championship in New York.
The first Special Olympics took place at Soldier Field in Chicago thanks to the guidance and help provided by SIU’s William Freeberg, a therapeutic recreation pioneer who SIU “loaned” to the Kennedy Foundation as a consultant to help establish and coordinate the new program.
SIU celebrated its 100th anniversary.
The Old Main building burned.
Anti-war demonstrations resulted in campus closing for a period of time in May.
The Board of Trustees approved the establishment of the School of Law.
The SIU School of Medicine was established and Richard Moy was appointed as the founding dean.
The Medical/Dental Preparatory Program (Med Prep) was founded.
The SIU School of Law opened for its first class. Hiram H. Lesar was the founding dean.
The Outdoor Laboratory at Little Grassy Lake became the Touch of Nature Environmental Center.
The Illinois Board of Higher Education approved the establishment of the Coal Extraction and Utilization Research Center, now known as the Advanced Coal and Energy Research Center.
The Great Cardboard Boat Regatta began as a class project, evolving into a worldwide phenomenon.
The first phase of the Student Recreation Center opened. It expanded in 1988.
The Salukis won the NCAA I-AA national football championship title.
Paul Simon retired from the U. S. Senate and opened the Public Policy Institute at SIU; it was renamed the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute in 2003 in his honor after he died.
SIU became the first Illinois school to sign the Talloiries Declaration, an international sustainability pact.
SIU prepared extensively for the new millennium with significant upgrades to the computer hardware and software systems and passed the challenge with no significant problems.
James Walker was appointed president, the first African-American to hold the office.
Glenn Poshard, a triple alumnus of SIU was appointed president. Poshard formerly served 1984-1988 in the Illinois State Senate and in the United States House of Representatives, representing the 22nd District from 1989 to 1993 and the 19th District 1993-1999 (due to district realignment). He was also an Illinois gubernatorial candidate in 1998 and along with wife, Jo, founded the Poshard Foundation for Abused Children.
The new Student Health Center, a state-of-the-art, ambulatory health care facility built with “green” technology in mind, opened.
The LGBTQ Resource Center established.
Groundbreaking was held for the Saluki Way project, which included the new Saluki Stadium and renovation of the arena, now known as Banterra Center.
SIU received the inaugural Governor’s Award for Excellence in Veterans Education in recognition of the university’s efforts to provide greater educational and informational resources for student veterans.
SIU was first recognized as one of Princeton Review’s “Green Colleges.” SIU has now made the list eight times.
The Transportation Education Center complex opened at the Southern Illinois Airport, providing technologically advanced classroom, training and lab space for the nationally recognized aviation and automotive programs.
The Student Services Building opened.
The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education recognized SIU with a silver ranking for the first time; SIU earned repeat recognition in 2017.
SIU earned its first Tree Campus USA Award from the Arbor Day Foundation and has won retained the accolade each year since.
SIU received its inaugural Bicycle friendly University award from the League of American Bicyclists, with a bronze designation.
The SIU Foundation celebrated its 75th anniversary and launched the “Forever SIU – the Campaign for the Students” with a goal of raising $75 million, primarily for student scholarships and academic programs.
SIU hosted over 20,000 visitors for the total solar eclipse and received national publicity and coverage for its activities. SIU is the Eclipse Crossroads of America as there will once again be a total solar eclipse here on April 8, 2024.
SIU celebrated the 150th anniversary of its founding. A new book entitled “Southern Illinois University at 150 Years: Growth, Accomplishments, and Challenges” was published and numerous special events are taking place throughout the year.