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Mission, Overview and Brief History of Columbia College


The mission of Columbia College is to improve the lives of diverse undergraduate and graduate learners through exemplary teaching.

The liberal arts and sciences and professional programs of the College embrace and profess the values of:

  • Student centrism
  • Lifelong learning
  • Ethics and citizenship
  • Flexibility and innovation
  • Quality and improvement
  • Civility and respect
  • Environmental and fiscal stewardship

It is the vision of the College to be a model institution of higher education.


Columbia College, a private, coeducational institution, offers associate, baccalaureate, and master's degrees that prepare students of differing backgrounds, for positions in various occupations and professions. Founded in 1851 by charter of the Missouri legislature, and then named Christian Female College, Columbia College assumed its current name and became coeducational in 1970. Although it retains a covenant with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Columbia College is a nonsectarian institution. The College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and holds specialized accreditation in its Education and Nursing Programs. Students may enroll in either day or evening classes at the home campus in Columbia, Missouri, in online classes or at one of many Nationwide campuses.

Brief History

Columbia College, founded in 1851 as Christian Female College, was the first college for women chartered by a state legislature west of the Mississippi River. Created as the female counterpart to the University of Missouri, which did not admit women until 1869, the College was first located in Williams Hall, the oldest building west of the Mississippi in continuous use for educational purposes.

The College joined the new educational trend of the day by becoming a junior college in 1913. The College's name was shorted in 1929 from Christian Female College to Christian College, but the name continued to be an obstacle to public understanding of the nature of the College. Although many of the founders in 1851 were members of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), the College was founded as a strictly nonsectarian institution.

In the early 1970s, the College became our present four-year, coeducational "Columbia College," often referred to as "Columbia's College." Columbia College received baccalaureate accreditation in 1973, and soon career programs added a new dimension to the continued liberal arts curriculum.

As the education trend moved to adult education, Columbia College opened a series of extended studies campuses across the United States and an evening program on campus.

The brief history was originally composed by College Professor Paulina Batterson.


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