Indiana State University: From Normal to Extraordinary

Located in the bustling town of Terre Haute, Indiana, Indiana State University ranks seventh on the list of the 25 largest Indiana colleges and universities, right behind the University of Notre Dame. The university is slightly larger than the University of Southern Indiana, which used to be the Evansville branch of Indiana State University. At Indiana State, you can experience all the benefits of a large school with the personal touch and expertise available in a small community college. Indiana State University can stand toe to toe with any Indianapolis school.

Video tour of Indiana State University in Terre Haute, Indiana


Campus and Culture

Indiana State University is in Terre Haute, a large town about an hour southwest of Indianapolis. The town itself is a lively place, full of culture, art, and music, even rivaling some of the finest Indianapolis attractions. There are tons of things to do in Terre Haute, including art galleries, museums, musical groups, a planetarium, and many well groomed Indiana golf courses. If you’ve maxed out your Indianapolis things to do list, Terre Haute might be a good place to go.

Promotional video for the theater department at Indiana State University in Terre Haute, Indiana


Nestled in the heart of all this activity is Indiana State University, the educational center of the city. The university has plenty of culture of its own. The Crossroads Repertory Theatre is a student-run performance art venue that showcases a variety of productions, from Shakespeare plays to popular musicals. There’s the University Art Gallery, which is sponsored by the Indiana Arts Commission and displays works by ISU faculty and professionals from around the world. The gallery also hosts lectures about current exhibits to educate ISU art students on the finer points of each exhibit, giving students valuable pointers so their own work might appear in an Indianapolis art gallery later in their careers.

As if that weren’t enough, the ISU Department of Music also hosts a “Visiting Artist Series” in the ISU Recital Hall, in which musicians from all over the United States and the world come to Indiana State University to showcase their talents. Indianapolis music even gets a little space in the Recital Hall sometimes. Past performances include a string quartet from from the Shenyang Conservatory, the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, and the Chicago New Arts Trio.

Video of a jazz piano solo at the Indiana State University Recital Hall in Terre Haute, Indiana



Indiana State University certainly has a great deal of culture, both within campus grounds and in the city of Terre Haute, but ISU students are also very fortunate in the classroom. Indiana State University was ranked among the best colleges and universities in the Midwest by the Princeton Review for the fourth year in a row. This review was based largely on student surveys, and ISU students said that they enjoyed the small class sizes and personal attention they got from their instructors.

Promotional video for Indiana State University in Terre Haute, Indiana


And it’s true: ISU has an incredible student to faculty ratio for the number of students enrolled in the school. Indiana State University has over 10,000 students on campus, including 8,000 undergrads and 2,000 graduate students. Despite their large numbers, the school maintains a reasonable 17:1 student to faculty ratio. This means that there are small classes and individualized help at ISU, so that every student can meet his or her full potential.

Indiana State University has over 100 majors, divided up into five different colleges: the College of Arts & Sciences, the College of Business, the College of Education, the College of Nursing, Health, and Human Services, and the College of Technology. Within these colleges, there are tons of programs to choose from, including earth space science, many specialized education majors, criminology, geology, and insurance & risk management.

Promotional video for the aviation program at Indiana State University in Terre Haute, Indiana


Some of the most popular and respected undergraduate programs at Indiana State University are nursing, business administration, and elementary, early, and special education. If you get a degree in any of these programs, you’re bound to go far in your career, because a degree from Indiana State University is recognized everywhere as a stamp of achievement.

Not only does Indiana State University offer a great education on campus, you can also get a wide range of degrees from your own living room. ISU has ten different undergraduate programs that can be completed entirely via distance learning, in addition to four undergrad certificates and a host of graduate studies. These include criminology and criminal justice, business administration, public administration, and driver education. Distance learning is a great way to pursue a degree if you’ve already got a busy schedule. It’s perfect for students who need to keep a full time job, have kids, or just want to advance in their career without sacrificing gas money and tons of time.

Video of Indiana State University students discussing the new rec center on the ISU campus in Terre Haute, Indiana


If Terre Haute is too tame and you’re afraid of getting cabin fever in your living room, Indiana State University also has a comprehensive study abroad program. This program is a great chance for students to experience another culture and get their education on a global scale. In addition, students can learn a new language, immerse themselves in another society, and become more independent as they move about in a totally new environment.

Study abroad locations at ISU include Uruguay, Ireland, New Zealand, Morocco, the Czech Republic, and many more. There are over 100 sites in more the 40 countries, so if you’ve dreamed of traveling to a certain location, chances are Indiana State University has a study abroad site there.

Video interview with a student studying in Ireland with the Indiana State University study abroad program



Indiana State University isn’t all about high GPA’s and career goals, though. The school also has a very competitive athletic program. The Indiana State University Sycamores are a spirited group that are spread out through fourteen different men’s and women’s sports teams, including baseball, tennis, cross country, and football. ISU is part of the Missouri Valley Conference, which also includes the University of Evansville, Illinois State, and Northern Iowa.

Video of a football game between Indiana State University and Northern Iowa in 2008


In the past, Indiana State University has had some trouble with their mascots. A vote was put to the student body in 1922 to choose the new mascot and name for the athletics department. Up until that time, the school had been known as the Fighting Teachers, since Indiana State University (known at the time as Indiana State Normal School) was primarily a college for education. The student body chose the name Sycamores, but a tree didn’t look very intimidating in the arena, especially next to the Butler University Bulldogs and the Ball State University Cardinals. Nowadays, the ISU Sycamores have Sycamore Sam, a unique blue and white fox-like creature, cavorting around the arena.

Indiana State University has a proud history in college sports, as deep and detailed as any team in Indianapolis sports. ISU college basketball is proud to claim Larry Bird as a former player, something not even Indianapolis college basketball can claim. In 1979, Larry Bird led the Sycamores to the Final Four in the NCAA Men’s Final Four Basketball Tournament. The team eventually finished second in the entire tournament.

ISU was also home of legendary college basketball coach John Wooden and Olympic wrestler Bruce Baumgartner. With all these famous faces, Indiana State University has a place among great Indiana college sports teams, right next to Purdue University, Indiana University, and the University of Notre Dame.

Video highlights of a basketball game with Larry Bird when he still played for Indiana State University in Terre Haute, Indiana


Not only does ISU have some great prowess on the court, arena, and field, but their athletes also excel in the classroom. Indiana State University has always stressed learning over athletic achievement, but throughout the school’s history the two have gone hand in hand. Just recently, Indiana State University athletics won the first Missouri Valley Conference Academic Excellence Award. This means that ISU players had the highest cumulative GPA among all the other teams in the MVC. In addition, ISU teams have won eight other awards for their academic excellence, proving that you don’t have to sacrifice scholastic achievement to win championships.

From Normal to Extraordinary

Indiana State University may have previously been known as Indiana State Normal School, but it’s anything but ordinary. Located in the busy town of Terre Haute, ISU has tons to offer in terms of culture and extra- curricular activities. Indiana State University academics offer over 100 programs in a variety of different locations, be it on campus, through distance learning, or around the globe. For students with an ISU degree, the sky’s the limit. In addition, Indiana State University sports teams have a long tradition of excellence, including some very famous people in Indianapolis and in the nation’s sports world: Larry Bird, John Wooden, and Bruce Baumgartner.

For more information on Indiana State University, please visit the university’s homepage.

Indiana State University
200 N Seventh St
Terre Haute, IN 47809

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