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Lydia Moss Bradley - Bicentennial Birthday

Mrs. Bradley's Holiday Party

“It is my wish that students both male and female be admitted … and that neither in the terms of admission, in the treatment of students, in the selection of officers, agents or professors … or in any matter whatever … shall there be any distinction or preference on account of sect, creed, nationality, politics or party. … Bradley Polytechnic shall be and remain non-sectarian, non-political and non-partisan.”

Lydia Moss Bradley, Founder’s Day Address, October 8, 1897

During summer and fall 2016, Bradley University will celebrate the 200th birthday of its founder, Lydia Moss Bradley. The celebration recognizes her remarkable life as a pioneer, businesswoman, farmer and philanthropist. Her vision and financial support led to the creation of Bradley Polytechnic Institute in 1897, now a university offering 5,400 students the choice of more than 185 academic programs.

In addition to her beloved school, Lydia Moss Bradley supported other important service institutions, helping women, children and the community at large. An editorial tribute to Mrs. Bradley appeared in the Peoria Herald in August 1902, stating in part, “Mrs. Bradley has, perhaps, done more for Peoria than anyone has ever done for any other city.”

A century later, Mrs. Bradley’s legacy only has increased, as evidenced by the many great works still taking place thanks to her generosity.