Major universities in Heartland USA - can you surf there?
The list is in development, I hope to update it as I have time.
University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI, nearest spots are in Milwaukee, that's 1:30 hours of drive (around 85 miles). Another well-established spot + standing wave machine is in Sheboygan, and that's about 2 hours (116 miles). If you can't stand cold waters, you may try Chicago - 2.30 hours (~150 miles) if you are lucky to not to stuck in traffic, and South end of lake Michigan, which may take 3 - 3:30 hours of drive (~200 miles).
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan. The closest lake spot is about 1:30 hours (or realistically 2 hours) away. Sandusky, OH 1:53 drive 114 miles. Port Huron is 1:30 (if you are not caught in traffic around Detroit) / 102 miles away. There is also known spot at Point Pelee National Park of Canada which is 1:30 drive time 75 miles, but mind border crossing. You can also go West to lake Michigan: Muskegon 2:24,166 miles, Holland, MI, 2:20 / 155 miles with South Haven and St. Joseph closer to the University.
Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. The closest lake spot is about 1:30 hours away. About 2 hour drive to South shore of lake Michigan. Known spots Whiting (1:45, 104 miles), Ogden Dunes (1:32, 97 miles), Indiana Dunes (1:43, 106 miles). To not depend on the whims of the weather, there is a decent wave pool Marion Splash House featured as #3 in Ben Gravy's Top 5 wave pools across the USA. That is (1:36, 73 miles) of drive. Check ahead when they are going to turn the waves on for a surf session. There are other waterparks around with wave pools, but more research needed there.
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Champaign, IL. The closest lake spot is about 2:20 hours away. Reachable spots Whiting (2:12, 132 miles), Ogden Dunes (2:20, 143 miles), Indiana Dunes (2:28, 151 miles) - that's fastest routes with tolls. Chicago is 2:10 / 135 miles away if you are lucky and not hit the traffic, there are multiple known spots your time may vary.