Bradley and Caterpillar Relationship Highlights


Lydia Moss Bradley founded Bradley Polytechnic Institute.

Bradley Hall
Bradley Hall




Holt Manufacturing Co., Caterpillar Tractor’s predecessor, opened a factory in East Peoria.

Holt Manufacturing Co.
Holt Manufacturing Co.




A four-year engineering degree was added to Bradley’s curriculum.




Bradley Polytechnic Institute became Bradley University.

Polytechnic to University
Industrial Arts Division housed in Duryea Hall




Caterpillar made an initial gift of $70,000 to Bradley University.




Technical College was renamed Bennett College, offering industrial education, automobile, drafting, metalwork, and electricity classes.

Bennett College
Charles A. Bennett (at right) was a professor of industrial arts from 1897 to 1920 




The College of Engineering was formed. Caterpillar provided co-op opportunities for students.

Polytechnic to University




Caterpillar gave $100,000 for the construction of the engineering building.

Jobst Hall




Caterpillar initiated the Educational Assistance Program, offering continuing education opportunities to employees.

Educational Assistance Program




Caterpillar Tractor began the visiting professor lecture series at Bradley with “Concepts of Thermodynamics.”




Former Cat chairman Louis Neumiller led fundraising after Bradley Hall was destroyed by fire.

Bradley Hall fire




Bradley established a formal cooperative education relationship with Caterpillar that continued through 1992. During these years, Caterpillar employed the largest number of co-op students among participating organizations.




Bradley president Martin Abegg organized Bradley-Caterpillar Conference. Cat executives spent a day on campus while Bradley deans and department chairs toured Caterpillar.

Martin Abegg
Dr. Martin G. Abegg ’47 HON ’93 in 1971




Haussler Hall was dedicated, funded in part by a $250,000 gift from Caterpillar.

Haussler Hall




Hartmann Center for Performing Arts was dedicated, funded in part by $300,000 gift from Caterpillar.

Hartmann Center for Performing Arts




Caterpillar began its Matching Gifts Program. To date, this program has generated nearly $9 million.




Caterpillar donated $100,000 for the Caterpillar Excellence Fund. Bradley was selected to participate in the Caterpillar Scholars program.




Caterpillar Fellows program began, providing financial support for research by junior faculty in business and engineering.

Caterpillar Fellows program




Caterpillar announced a gift of $5.6 million to the Campaign for Bradley.

Caterpillar $5.6 million gift
Former Caterpillar president George Schaefer




“Management for the 1990s” executive certificate program was initiated and later renamed “Management for the 21st Century.” To date, more than 1,000 Caterpillar managers have participated, and the program continues to grow.

Management for the 1990s




Caterpillar pledged $20 million to the Bradley Centennial Campaign. Cat employees set a $4 million goal for the campaign and surpassed it with pledges of $5.3 million.

Caterpillar pledges $20 million
John Brazil, former Bradley president; Bob Viets, former Bradley Board of Trustees president;
and Don Fites, former Caterpillar president




Bradley established the Caterpillar Lecture Series. 




Bradley initiated the Caterpillar Dependents Scholarship Program.

Dependents Scholarship Program




Bradley initiated and gave the Caterpillar name to the Endowed Professorships Program, New Initiatives Program, Graduate Fellowship Program, and Global Communications Center.

Global Communications Center




Caterpillar Professorships were established and the first awarded. Today, there are eight Caterpillar Professors on Bradley’s campus.

Kevin Stein
Dr. Kevin Stein, Illinois poet laureate, is a Caterpillar professor at Bradley




Bradley and Cat became founding members of Peoria NEXT, a collaboration focused on local science- and technology-based economic development. 




Bradley established The Fites Chair in the College of Engineering and Technology to honor Donald V. Fites, retired Caterpillar chair and CEO and chair of Bradley’s Centennial Campaign.

Donald V. Fites
Donald V. Fites




The 50,000-square-foot Innovation Center opened on Main Street in the heart of Renaissance Park. Built under a collaborative partnership between Peoria NEXT and the Heartland Commerce & Economic Development Foundation, the Center houses a technology incubator designed to stimulate regional development and new economic growth.

Innovation Center
Ribbon-cutting ceremony




Caterpillar announced a $30 million gift to Bradley — the largest in the University’s history — that included two matching grants aimed at attracting an additional $18 million. Plans called for naming the College of Engineering and Technology in Caterpillar’s honor.

Largest gift in BU history
From left, Gerald Shaheen ’66 MBA ’68, chairman of the Bradley Board of Trustees
and chairman of the Campaign for a Bradley Renaissance; President Joanne Glasser;
and Jim Owens, former Caterpillar Chairman and CEO




Bradley engineering majors and business majors joined 10 "Young Professionals of Caterpillar" teams to launch the first annual YPC-BU Six Sigma Case Competition, a convergence initiative.