North Central College - Naperville, IL

First part of documentary series about College’s 150-year history debuts May 18

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Cornerstone Day: May 17, 1870.
Cornerstone Day 1870

North Central College invites the public to the free debut of the first part of a documentary series produced with Naperville Community Television that chronicles the College’s 150-year history.

“A College Is Born,” the first of the five-part documentary series “A Promising Start,” will premiere at 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 18, in Madden Theatre at the Fine Arts Center, 171 E. Chicago Ave. The screening takes place during Cornerstone Week, which kicks off the Sesquicentennial Celebration of the College’s 150th anniversary.

The documentary series production is led by Naperville Community Television’s Emmy Award-winning Executive Director Elizabeth Braham Spencer, who also a senior lecturer of broadcast communication at the College.

“North Central’s story is truly inspiring,” Spencer says. “It is a great honor to be able to capture the history of the college which has become the cornerstone of our community. The more we discover about it, the more we admire its success.”

The series will be produced in chronological order with “A College is Born” featuring the first 50 years, covering the period from 1861 to 1911. Viewers will learn how American education first developed and the role religion played in those beginning days. Through historical photographs, interviews, reenactments and video, the documentary brings the first years of North Central College to life.

“A College Is Born” explains how the College was founded in 1861 in Plainfield by the Evangelical Association of North America, and why the College relocated to Naperville in 1870. Viewers will see images of Old Main as it was being built and discover why Cornerstone Day is so meaningful.

“A College Is Born” profiles the first three of North Central’s nine presidents as well as influential students and faculty of that time period. Viewers will learn about various funding efforts that ultimately provided a solid financial foundation for the College and be surprised to discover what a typical day was like during the College’s early years.

In addition to Cornerstone Week activities, numerous Sesquicentennial events and projects are planned throughout 2011 and into 2012. Visit for details.