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If you ask residents of Illinois, which is the state’s oldest public university, most will say the University of Illinois founded in 1867, and celebrating its 150th anniversary in 2017. But the fact is that Illinois State University (ISU) is older by ten-years, started in 1857 as Illinois Normal. The “normal” in the 19th Century served as a term to designate a training college for teachers. This explains why ISU is in Normal, Illinois, the town name was changed from North Bloomington.
The ISU Women’s rugby program began in 1976, one of the earliest women’s university rugby clubs in the nation. It is ranked as the number one women's DII college in Illinois. Last fall in 2016, ISU competed in the Elite 8 of the DII collegiate championship held at Lindenwood University.
ISU RFC plays in a pink and blue kit. The team sponsors the popular and successful Pack the Pitch Pink rugby tournament, donating monies from the event to breast cancer research. The other Midwestern college clubs that compete in the annual tournament are:
- Western Illinois University
- University of Chicago
- Southern Illinois University
- DePaul University
- Lake Forest University
- University of Illinois
Evie Hansen, 2017 ISU graduate, and currently, Design and Production Assistant for Rhino Sport and Leisure, stated, “The club attracts about 25-players and is self-coached, usually by a graduate student. The team practices hard and plays harder, while building friendships, and making memories that last a lifetime.”