PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — 125 years in the making, Bradley University is celebrating a huge milestone this year.

“For 125 years, we’ve been driving change in generations, we’re going to be driving change for 125 years in the future,” said Becky Mills, associate vice president of marketing and communications at the university.

To start off the anniversary, staff headed to the Renaissance Coliseum to share in food, drinks, and even some prizes.

“Almost 500 people RSVP’d here at the Renaissance Coliseum, so it’s going to be a great kick-off,” said Mills, “It’s just the beginning of how we’re going to be celebrating for this entire year.”

University leaders recognized the school’s roots and are continuing to plan for the next 125 years.

President of Bradley University Stephen Standifird said, “We focused on horology, which was very hot at the time, very contemporary at the time. Now, we have the opportunity to do that again to look forward around what are today’s students’ needs and interests, and are we satisfying that in everything we do.”

The school began by studying horology, or the measurement of time, including clocks, sundials, hourglasses, and more. This was all because of Lydia Moss Bradley.

“One of the things that I love about her story, is even from the very founding of the university, she was breaking boundaries, doing incredibly innovative activities, both in terms of her own life, in her own businesses, but also in the founding of the university,” said Standifird.

Now, university leaders are looking ahead to the future with plans in place.

“Our forward-looking approach relies a lot on our foundation and one of the things that we’ve been very thoughtful about is how do we become increasingly more student-centric,” said Standifird.

Bradley University move-in day begins Saturday, Aug. 20, at 7 a.m., and in the first few months, the celebration will continue with homecoming, the lighting of the “B”, and founder’s day.

The school year will round out with a gala in the Spring.

Those interested in more Bradley University history can check out our highlighted list below: