In the fall of 1966, five new schools in Decatur opened their doors. Adlai E. Stevenson Elementary was one of them. When the school year began, construction on Stevenson was not complete. Students began the year at Mound School and secretaries answered the phone, "Stevenson at Mound". On November 7, 1966, five buses moved the 263 students from Mound to Stevenson, where they began the first day of school at the new Stevenson Elementary building.
Stevenson Elementary was dedicated on March 10, 1967. Adlai E. Stevenson III, Illinois State Treasurer and son of the school namesake, addressed a crowd of more than 300 persons. Referring to the naming of the elementary school for the former U.N. Ambassador who died in 1965, former Illinois governor and Democratic candidate for president in 1952 and 1956, the younger Stevenson said, "Certainly it would please him to be linked by such a remembrance with children. I suppose he had more god-children than any man ever had. He loved the young, he helped them, shared their troubles and in his unique, and guiltless, unselfconscious way he could be as one with children. They loved him too."