190 years ago, on August 24th, 1833, a group of Columbia citizens gathered and made the impactful decision to start an academy to educate their daughters.

The Founders believed their daughters deserved an education that would prepare them for rewarding and productive lives – a cutting-edge concept in a pioneer town, and the heralding declaration of the institution that Stephens would become. Imagine the resolve and foresight this group of citizens must have had – in 1833! – to prioritize an educational academy for women. 

Then imagine all that Stephens College has been through since then...civil and world wars, the industrial revolution, pandemics (more than 1), all kinds of political upheavals, and now onward through the digital age and the introduction of artificial intelligence.  

Just a few of the things this college has seen throughout her time: 

  • the inventions of the telegraph, the telephone, and the lightbulb 

  • westward expansion and the California gold rush 

  • the Civil War and Abraham Lincoln's presidency 

  • the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad 

  • the Industrial Revolution and the assembly line manufacturing of Model Ts 

  • both world wars 

  • the rise of aviation and space exploration 

  • the first television broadcast 

  • the rise of the internet 

Consider the resiliency and fortitude this College has shown through it all. The passion and drive of our students, the expertise and dedication of our faculty and staff, and the generosity of our alums have not changed...and when united, all create the extraordinary phenomenon we call Stephens College. 

So, we came together to celebrate the past 190 years (and the next 190+) with balloons, singing, cake, and most importantly, our community.

Columbia Mayor Barbara Buffaloe read the city’s proclamation designating August 24th, 2023, as Stephens College Day, and the Columbia Chamber of Commerce led a ribbon-cutting ceremony to further commemorate the occasion. 







#Stephens190 The Columbia Missourian | KRCG13KOMU8 | Photo credit: Schaefer Photography 

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