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Stephens College is a private women's college in Columbia, Missouri. It is the second-oldest female educational establishment that is still a women's college in the United States. It was founded on August 24, 1833, as the Columbia Female Academy. In 1856, David H. Hickman helped secure the college's charter under the name The Columbia Female Baptist Academy. In the late 19th century it was renamed Stephens Female College after James L. Stephens endowed the college with $20,000. From 1937-1943 its Drama Department became renowned under its chairman and teacher, the actress Maude Adams, James M. Barrie's first Peter Pan. The Warehouse Theater is the major performance venue for the college. The campus includes a National Historic District: Stephens College South Campus Historic District.

Stephens College
TypePrivate women's college
PresidentDianne Lynch
Students850 [1]
Location, ,

38°57′01″N 92°19′23″W / 38.9503°N 92.3231°W / 38.9503; -92.3231Coordinates: 38°57′01″N 92°19′23″W / 38.9503°N 92.3231°W / 38.9503; -92.3231
CampusUrban, 86-acre (35 ha)
Colorsmaroon and gold
Stephens College Logo.png


Situated in the center of the state, Stephens is approximately 120 miles (193 km) from both Kansas City and St. Louis. Columbia is known as "College Town, USA" because of the 36,000 college students attending Stephens, the University of Missouri and Columbia College. The Stephens campus is near downtown Columbia.[2]


The college follows a liberal arts curriculum and has three schools: Design, Health Sciences, and Creative and Performing Arts[3]

In addition to undergraduate programs, Stephens offers the following graduate degrees: Master of Education in Counseling, Master of Fine Arts in Television and Screenwriting, and Master in Physician Assistant Studies.


U.S. News & World Report places it in the top third of all ranked regional colleges in the Midwest, and considers it a "selective" school when it comes to admissions.[4] Stephens is among The Princeton Review's Best 385 Colleges in the U.S.[5] The fashion design program is ranked in the top 37 in the world, noted for long-term value and learning experience,[6] and the fashion communication program is ranked in the top 10 in the world[7] The theatre program is ranked number 9 by the Princeton Review.[8]

Campus lifeEdit

Stephens is one of four women's colleges, along with Bennett College, Spelman College, and Brenau University, to have sororities on its campus. Sigma Sigma Sigma and Kappa Delta, both of which are National Panhellenic Conference sororities, have on-campus chapters. The sororities are governed by the Panhellenic Council and the Junior Panhellenic Council. Stephens students can also join historically Black or Asian sororities at the nearby University of Missouri campus.

There are also about a dozen academic honor societies on campus: Mortar Board, Psi Chi, Alpha Lambda Delta, Sigma Tau Delta the English honor society, Tri-Beta, Kappa Delta Pi, Phi Alpha Delta, and others. Although Stephens College is no longer a two-year institution, it is the location of the alpha chapter of Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society of the Two-Year College.

The student newspaper is named Stephens Life and is online with a magazine printed once a semester. The college's literary magazine is named Harbinger and is released each spring.[9]

Stephens opened pet-friendly residence halls in 2004.[10] The College also allows students to foster shelter animals in exchange for scholarships.[11]

The Warehouse Theatre Company is a student-run playhouse on campus which stages an average of four different productions per academic season.

Citizen Jane Film FestivalEdit

Citizen Jane Film Festival

The Citizen Jane Film Festival was an annual film festival established at Stephens College. The festival was first held October 17–19, 2008. Films were chosen that showcased women behind and in front of the camera.[12] Though the festival has been discontinued, Citizen Jane continues in the form of a lecture series hosted by the Stephens College digital filmmaking program.


Stephens College teams are known as the Stars. The college competes in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) as a member of the American Midwest Conference (AMC). Women's sports include basketball, competitive dance, cross country, soccer, softball, volleyball, and esports. This team is known as the first varsity esports team at an all-women's college.[13]


The Stephens College Alumnae Association has more than 20,000 members internationally. Alumnae are found in every state.

Notable alumnaeEdit

Alumnae distributionEdit

In March 2006, Stephens released an interactive alumnae map showing the distribution of living alumnae throughout the United States. The metropolitan areas with the highest numbers of Stephens alumnae include:

Florida also has a particularly high concentration of Stephens alumnae, with 1,237 found statewide, especially in the central, eastern, and southern parts of the state. The Washington, D.C.-to-Boston corridor contains a heavy concentration as well, including 184 alumnae living in Manhattan.[15]

Historic buildingsEdit

Firestone Baars Chapel

Firestone Baars ChapelEdit

The Firestone Baars Chapel was designed by world-famous Finnish architect Eero Saarinen who also designed the Gateway Arch in St. Louis. The chapel symbolizes commitment to individual spiritual development and worship. The chapel is used for meditation, religious services, vespers, weddings, memorials and campus programs.

Historic Senior HallEdit

Historic Senior Hall dates back to 1841, when Oliver Parker bought the 8-acre (3.2 ha) tract of land on which the College was first located. In 1857, the Columbia Baptist Female College, which later became Stephens College, acquired the building. Until 1918, Historic Senior Hall was the only dormitory at the College. It was the tradition for the President of the Civic Association (now the Student Government Association) to occupy the first floor room just north of the Waugh Street entrance. Many generations of students feel this building is their tie to the past. A complete restoration of Historic Senior Hall began in the spring of 1987, and the building was rededicated in the spring of 1990. Senior Hall was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977.[16]


  1. ^ "Stephens president says women's college going strong". Columbia Daily Tribune. March 11, 2015. Retrieved 18 February 2016.
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on April 12, 2006. Retrieved April 16, 2006.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on February 20, 2015. Retrieved February 20, 2015.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ "Stephens College". Retrieved 18 February 2016.
  5. ^ "Stephens College". Retrieved 9 October 2019.
  6. ^ "Global Fashion Design Rankings 2019". The Business of Fashion. Retrieved 9 October 2019.
  7. ^ "Global Fashion Communication Rankings 2019". The Business of Fashion. Retrieved 9 October 2019.
  8. ^ "Stephens College". Retrieved 9 October 2019.
  9. ^ [1] Archived February 7, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ "pet program » Stephens College". Retrieved 18 February 2016.
  11. ^ "At pet-happy Stephens College, some dogs and cats come with a scholarship". kansascity. Retrieved 18 February 2016.
  12. ^ "Citizen Jane Institute Home - Citizen Jane Institute". Citizen Jane Institute. Retrieved 18 February 2016.
  13. ^ "Stephens College". Retrieved 18 February 2016.
  14. ^ Bryant, Tim (January 14, 1981). "Jean Muir Finds Second Career". The Republic. Indiana, Columbus. United Press International. p. B-1. Retrieved March 2, 2018 – via  
  15. ^ "alumnae engagement » Stephens College". Retrieved 18 February 2016.
  16. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.

External linksEdit