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William Woods University (WWU) is an American co-educational, independent, private university in Fulton, Missouri with 3,800 students. The university offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in a variety of disciplines in campus and outreach settings and online.

William Woods University
Other name
"The Woods"
Former names
William Woods College, Daughters College, Female Orphan School
MottoAmor Vincit Omnia
Motto in English
"Love Conquers All"
TypePrivate, non-profit, coed
AffiliationChristian Church (Disciples of Christ)
PresidentDr. Jahnae H. Barnett
Vice-presidentScott T. Gallagher
Location, ,
38°51′39″N 91°56′55″W / 38.8609°N 91.9485°W / 38.8609; -91.9485Coordinates: 38°51′39″N 91°56′55″W / 38.8609°N 91.9485°W / 38.8609; -91.9485
ColorsForest green, maroon
AthleticsNAIA - AMC
MascotScreech the Owl

First known as the Female Orphan School, the institution was founded in 1870 in Camden Point, Missouri in response to the needs of girls who were orphaned during the war.

During the late nineteenth century, the institution moved to Fulton and expanded its elementary and secondary programs to accommodate young women who aspired to become teachers. Known briefly at the beginning of the twentieth century as Daughters College, it changed its name to William Woods College 1900 to honor a major benefactor (William S. Woods, president of the National Bank of Commerce) and began offering a two-year college program. In 1962, anticipating dramatic changes in the role of American women in the labor force, William Woods became a four-year college.

Expanding its mission to address the need for graduate and adult-oriented programs, the institution became known as William Woods University in 1993. It began offering graduate degrees and admitting men as well as women into all of its programs.

The university was founded 1870 and although independent, has a historical affiliation to the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).

The university is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association. It was ranked 75th in the Midwest among regional universities, according to the 2018 edition of Best Colleges by US News & World Report.[1]

The university offers undergraduate programs of study, including an internationally recognized equestrian studies program, a four-year American Sign Language interpreting program, the first juvenile justice degree in the state, and a criminal justice degree with homeland security emphasis. Graduate level programs are offered through the Graduate and Professional Studies (GPS) program, which offers graduate degree programs, degree completion programs, and select undergraduate programs at permanent sites in Fulton, Columbia, Jefferson City, and Blue Springs as well as temporary sites across Missouri and in Arkansas. All outreach programs use a cohort model, and are designed to offer convenience for working adults and an accelerated format.

Its athletics teams are known as the Owls and participate in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics as a member of the American Midwest Conference.



William Woods University is named after Dr. William Stone Woods of the National Bank of Commerce.[2] In 1901, the institution is named William Woods College, in honor of the physician and banker whose interest in the education of young women compelled him to endow the institution with substantial and repeated gifts throughout the century.

The campus in Fulton includes buildings of various types. Two favorites of the campus community are Dulany Auditorium and the William S. Woods Academic Building.[3]

Dulany Auditorium was built in 1907. Mrs. D.M. Dulany contributed $7,500 toward construction of the $24,000 building in memory of her husband. The stained glass portrait windows are of D.M. Dulany, W.H. Dulany and Benjamin L. Locke, all early supporters of the college.

The William S. Woods Academic Building, or the Academic Building, as most students refer to it, is a three-story brick structure which houses administrative offices, classrooms and faculty. It was completed in 1921.[4]

Rosa Parks CenterEdit

Rosa Parks Center, a Missouri Division of Youth Services (DYS) center for incarcerated girls, is a former university dormitory located at WWU.[5] It holds 10-12 girls at a time.[6] WWU students are involved with the center. DYS and WWU agreed to the joint project in 2000, and the center opened in January 2001.[7]

Outreach program permanent sitesEdit

WWU offers graduate degree programs, degree completion programs, and select undergraduate programs at permanent sites in Fulton, Columbia, Jefferson City, and Blue Springs, as well as temporary sites across Missouri.


Undergraduate college academicsEdit

Graduate college academicsEdit

William Woods offers various graduate programs designed for full-time working professionals. Most programs are completed in fewer than two years.

Degree programsEdit

Degree programs at WWU include:

  • Master of Business Administration
  • Master of Business Administration with various emphasis areas such as HR and agribusiness
  • Master of Education - Special Education Director
  • Master of Education in Athletics/Activities Administration
  • Master of Education in Curriculum & Instruction
  • Master of Education in Elementary or Secondary Administration
  • Specialist of Education in Administration
  • Specialist of Education in Curriculum Leadership
  • Specialist with Principalship Certification
  • Doctorate of Education (Ed.D.)

Additional programs are offered using the cohort model for working adults.

LEAD ProgramEdit

The innovative LEAD Program (Leading, Educating, Achieving, and Developing) is intended to encourage and reward the type of campus and community involvement that makes for a complete, well-rounded liberal arts background.

All new full-time undergraduate students admitted to William Woods University are eligible to take part in the LEAD Program, which offers an award of $5,000 for residential students and $2,500 for commuter students per year to students who make a commitment to campus and community involvement.

Qualifying activities ("LEAD events") include lectures, films, concerts, seminars, intercollegiate athletic events, student/faculty exhibits and shows, involvement in student organizations and other campus or community activities.

The program received both national and international media attention when it was first announced in the spring of 2000. The Los Angeles Times, New York Times, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Chicago Tribune, BBC, NPR, and AP covered the launch.

Student lifeEdit

The university has approximately 1,000 undergraduate students from all over the U.S. and numerous other countries.

William Woods offers approximately 40 student organizations, including co-curricular, honorary, religious/faith-based, service/leadership, and social/academic/special interest groups.[8]

The primary goal of the Office of Multicultural Affairs is to support students from every walk of life by coordinating, implementing, and promoting all-inclusive cultural programming. It fosters understanding and acceptance of racial, ethnic, gender, age, and other cultural differences. It provides informative presentations which encourage discussions on current cultural issues. It schedules relevant cultural film series. It offers professional development workshops and training to faculty, staff, and students.[9]

The Office of Faith and Service provides programming aimed at students' spiritual needs and interests. In addition to regular chapel services, students can take part in a speakers' series ("Tabletalk at the Woods") and a film series ("Faith on Film"), as well as various small group discussions and service opportunities. Several student organizations with a spiritual emphasis are active on campus. There are also multiple local places of worship from which to choose.

Counseling and Health Services provides students with physical health related services as well as counseling/mental health related services.[10]

Campus safetyEdit

Personnel patrol the campus and provide a variety of protective and service-related functions. Safety officers work to provide a safe and orderly campus environment.[11]

Greek lifeEdit

William Woods is home to three fraternities, Pi Kappa Alpha, Phi Gamma Delta, and Sigma Tau Gamma, and four sororities, Alpha Chi Omega, Alpha Phi, Chi Omega, and Delta Gamma.[12]


William Woods University teams are known as the Owls. The university competes in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) as a member of the American Midwest Conference (AMC).[13] Men's sports include baseball, basketball, cross country, golf, soccer and track & field; women's sports include basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, softball, track & field and volleyball.

Alumni and traditionsEdit

William Woods has more than 20,000 alumni. There are many traditions associated with the school, including the "Ivy Chain." The Ivy Ceremony marks the start of the students' college life. When they graduate, the ivy will be cut during another ceremony, held at commencement, symbolizing separation from college and the beginning of a new life. The tradition is believed to have begun more than a hundred years ago when the Class of 1899 planted ivy on the campus during a special graduation ceremony.[14]

In 1952, future U.S. President Ronald Reagan gave a commencement address at the college in which he said that he "always thought of America as a place in the divine scheme of things that was set aside as a promised land." This is also a notable speech by the future President as it is one of his oldest surviving speeches.[15]

Notable alumniEdit

  • Kimberly Brixey Barnes, President/CEO of the Callaway Bank
  • Carol Bartz (Honorary Doctorate of Letters), former CEO of Autodesk; former CEO and director of Yahoo[16]
  • Marshaw Wardlaw Clevenger, Assistant U.S. Attorney at U.S. Attorney's Office
  • Kathleen Kunkler, sports and entertainment director; first Vice President; financial advisor at Morgan Stanley
  • Allyson White Lewis, author and businessperson
  • Patti J. Leonard Lyons, Living Treasure of Hawaii[17]
  • Luann Ridgeway, member of the Missouri State Senate
  • Romaine Seguin, President of UPS Americas Region
  • Valerie Shaw, Executive Vice President and Retail Banking Division Director at Commerce Bank
  • Helen Stephens, Olympic gold medalist, Berlin
  • Dan Westhues, CMO and Senior Vice President of Retail Banking, Central Bancompany


  1. ^ "William Woods University". Retrieved 23 June 2017.
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-05-27. Retrieved 2010-06-24.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ "Buildings". Archived from the original on 2010-05-27. Retrieved 2010-06-24.
  4. ^ History of WWU
  5. ^ Charton, Scott. "Missouri juvenile justice practices praised, and copied" (Archive). Associated Press. Monday March 7, 2005. Retrieved on December 23, 2015.
  6. ^ "House Resolution No. 4910" (Archive). Missouri House of Representatives. Retrieved on December 23, 2015.
  7. ^ "William Woods University (Fulton, MO) Rosa Parks Center" (Archive). The Council of Independent Colleges (CIC). Retrieved on December 23, 2015.
  8. ^ "More about student organizations". Archived from the original on 2010-05-28. Retrieved 2010-06-24.
  9. ^ "More about multicultural affairs". Archived from the original on 2010-05-27. Retrieved 2010-06-24.
  10. ^ "More about counseling/mental health services". Archived from the original on 2010-05-27. Retrieved 2010-06-24.
  11. ^ "More about campus safety". Archived from the original on 2010-05-27. Retrieved 2010-06-24.
  12. ^ "More about Greek Life". Archived from the original on 2010-05-27. Retrieved 2010-06-24.
  13. ^ Mosley, Josh (March 8, 2011). "Lady Owls fall in AMC tournament title game". Fulton Sun. Archived from the original on 2011-04-26. Retrieved April 19, 2011.
  14. ^ "Read the article about commencement 2010 to see the Ivy Chain Ceremony in action" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-05-27. Retrieved 2010-06-24.
  15. ^ "Reagan Quotes . Reagan . WGBH American Experience". PBS. Retrieved 2014-08-21.
  16. ^ [1] Archived May 7, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  17. ^ [2]

External linksEdit