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The History of Columbia College

Black and White Photo of the Front Gate

The history of Columbia College is rich and varied. Founded in 1851, Columbia College has been helping students advance their lives through higher education for more than 150 years. As a private, non-profit, coeducational liberal arts and sciences college, the college takes pride in its small classes, experienced faculty and quality educational programs.

Originally founded as Christian Female College, the college was the first women's college west of the Mississippi River to be chartered by a state legislature. The college changed its name to Columbia College in 1970 when it changed from a two-year women's college to a four-year coeducational college.

In the 159 years since the college’s modest beginning, Columbia College has flourished in size and has become a nationally recognized educational institution. Throughout its long history, Columbia College has always focused its efforts on delivering quality education and providing for every type of student across the country.

Columbia College is steeped in time-honored traditions that students and alumni embrace from generation to generation.