Starkle Dream Up. Stephens College


Stephens College: Our Mission, Vision and Values  

It has been more than 187 years since Lucy Ann Wales first stood before a classroom of eager young women. Since that day Stephens College has evolved into an institution unlike any other in higher education. Innovative, independent and spirited, Stephens remains inspired by its unwavering dedication to women's undergraduate education, even as it has embraced new opportunities, redefined its distinct advantages and expanded its outreach to leaders of all ages. 

In that spirit, the College began a process in January of 2016 to engage all stakeholders in an inclusive series of workshops to refine the Mission, Vision and Values of the College. These are the same principles that have guided our evolution for decades while providing a more contemporary articulation of what we believe and value. This new articulation was approved by the Board of Trustees in February 2017. 

We also invite you to learn more about our Strategic Plan, which is shaped by our Mission, Vision and Values. We also offer a printable Mission pdf and printable Strategic Plan pdf



Learn. Grow. Lead. 


Inspired by its tradition as an undergraduate women’s college, Stephens College engages lifelong learners in an educational experience characterized by intellectual rigor, creative expression, and professional practice, supported by accomplished faculty, talented staff, and engaged alumnae/alumni. Graduates of Stephens College are educated in the liberal arts, informed by diverse perspectives, and committed to lives of leadership, integrity and service. 


The Ten Ideals

Inherent in the culture of Stephens College is the tradition of the Ten Ideals, which originated in 1921 and represent the core values that enrich and inspire our lives. Each year, 10 students are selected as personifications of individual ideals.

  • Respect for our own dignity and the dignity of others, embodied in a sense of social justice
  • Courage and persistence
  • Independence, autonomy and self-sufficiency
  • Support for others through the willingness to take and give criticism, acceptance and love
  • Sensitivity to the uniqueness and fragility of the natural world of which we are part
  • Responsibility for the consequences of our choices
  • Belief in our changing selves and in our right to change
  • Creativity in the spiritual and aesthetic dimensions of life
  • Intelligence that is informed and cultivated, critical yet tolerant
  • Leadership which empowers others

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