Illinois State University (ISU), founded in 1857, is the oldest public university in Illinois, United States; it is located in the town of Normal. ISU is considered a "national university" that grants a variety of doctoral degrees and strongly emphasizes research. ISU is also recognized as one of the top ten largest producers of teachers in the US according to the American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education. The ISU athletic teams are members of the Missouri Valley Conference and the Missouri Valley Football Conference and are known as the "Redbirds," in reference to the state bird, the cardinal.
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