On Oct. 9, Stephens College was inducted into the Boone County Historical Society Hall of Fame. The honor of being inducted into the Hall of Fame is given to organizations and individuals that have contributed to the development, growth and preservation of Boone County. The Boone County Historical Society evolved from “old settlers” meetings held in the county during the 19th century and was formally recognized in 1963, opening the museum to the public in 1990. The museum houses history exhibits, offices, meeting space and climate-controlled secure vaults for collection preservation.
“We’re honored that the College is being recognized for its contribution to the community,” President Lynch said. “ Stephens has a rich history. We were founded in 1833—the city of Columbia essentially grew up around Stephens College.”
With rising enrollment numbers, facility improvements and recognition by some of the top college guides in the country, Stephens continues to contribute to the community’s educational landscape. In addition to its educational mission, Stephens also contributes to the vibrant preforming arts culture that Columbia enjoys.
Stephens was founded as a female academy in 1833 and is the second oldest women’s college in the country. In 1856, founders reshaped the mission of the school, incorporating it as Columbia Female Baptist Academy. The institution changed its name to Stephens Female College after receiving a $20,000 endowment from James L. Stephens more than a decade later. James Madison Wood presided over Stephens from 1912 to 1947. Stephens not only became the first institution to design curricula especially with women in mind but it also offered the first aviation program for women in 1944.
“For 180 years, we have been educating women to become leaders as well as valuable contributors toward the betterment of our society,” President Dianne Lynch said.
“Stephens is in great shape. We’re truly one of the few women’s colleges not just surviving but thriving.”
Story by freshman Meaghan Dye