Monmouth College
Monmouth College seal
Latin: Collegii Monmouthiensis
Former names
Monmouth Academy (1853–1856)
MottoLux (Latin)
Motto in English
TypePrivate liberal arts college
EstablishedApril 18, 1853; 171 years ago (1853-04-18)
Religious affiliation
Presbyterian Church (USA)
Academic affiliations
Annapolis Group
Endowment$146 million (2021)
Academic staff
75 (full-time equivalent in 2021)
Students767 (autumn 2023)[1]
Location, ,

40°54′52″N 90°38′14″W / 40.91444°N 90.63722°W / 40.91444; -90.63722
CampusSmall town[2], 112 acres (45.32 ha)
Colors   Red and white
NicknameFighting Scots
Sporting affiliations
MascotBig Red
Monmouth College is located in Illinois
Monmouth College
Location in Illinois
Monmouth College is located in the United States
Monmouth College
Location in the United States

Monmouth College is a private Presbyterian liberal arts college in Monmouth, Illinois. It enrolls approximately 767[3] students who choose courses from 40 major programs, 43 minors, and 17 pre-professional programs[2] in a core curriculum.[4] It offers Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees.[5]


Construction of Wallace Hall, 1908. Its entrance is modeled after the east portico of the ancient Erechtheion of the Athenian Acropolis. The building houses historic classrooms that played a part in educating all living alumni.

Monmouth College was founded on April 18, 1853, by the Second Presbytery of Illinois of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. Founded as Monmouth Academy, the school became Monmouth College after receiving a charter from the state legislature on September 3, 1856. The college remains affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA) and is a member of the Associated Colleges of the Midwest, a consortium of small, private liberal arts colleges.[6] The college's motto "Lux" ("Light") appears on its seal.

The first president, David Wallace built two mission churches in Massachusetts before assuming the Monmouth presidency.

Founded on the eve of the American Civil War, the college immediately faced a crisis. The college's campus was still under construction while virtually the entire male student body left for military service. Two hundred and thirty-two students, faculty members, and trustees served in the Civil War. A quarter of them were wounded and one in eight was killed.[7] Two were awarded the Medal of Honor,[8][9][10] and Abner C. Harding,[11] a college trustee who raised a regiment composed largely of Monmouth College students, was commissioned a brigadier general for his leadership in the defense of Fort Donelson in 1863.[12] President Wallace, believing that the college "must educate, whether there be peace or war," kept classes in session for what was then a primarily female student body.

Monmouth was founded as a coeducational college where women and men had equal access to courses. When veterans returning to the college decided to form fraternities, a group of women was determined not to be outdone, and in 1867 established the first fraternity for women, known today as Pi Beta Phi.[13][14] Three years later, another well-known women's fraternity, Kappa Kappa Gamma, was founded at Monmouth.[15][16]

Monmouth College had gained national stature by 1911 as shown by its US government classification where 59 colleges and universities ranked higher and 244 ranked lower (out of a total of 345 top colleges).[17]

World War II posed a crisis to the institution similar to that of the Civil War, as male students began enlisting in the service within a month of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, and soon only a handful remained on campus. Through an arrangement with the U.S. Navy Department, the college survived by becoming a U.S. Naval Flight Preparatory School, and later offered a V-5 Navy Academic Refresher Unit program for officers. Courses were taught by Monmouth's liberal arts faculty. The Navy later adopted portions of Monmouth's curriculum for training programs nationwide. More than 2,000 Navy men went through Monmouth College, a number of whom would re-enroll at the college after the war funded by the G.I. Bill.

Monmouth's chemistry department gained national prominence in the 1950s when longtime professor William S. Haldeman was recognized with a major award by the American Chemical Society.[18] The Steelman Report on Manpower for Research noted that Monmouth and four other small colleges—Hope, Juniata, St. Olaf and Oberlin—together had "produced more candidates for the doctor's degree in chemistry than Johns Hopkins, Fordham, Columbia, Tulane and Syracuse Universities combined."[19]

Beginning in the 1960s, a secularization movement changed the nature of the college. Concurrent with dwindling financial support from the United Presbyterian Church, the college removed the Church Synod's role in nominating and confirming trustees, thus allowing for the cultivation of new trustees with stronger business acumen and financial resources than those during the college's earlier days. The college otherwise maintained its covenant relationship with the Presbyterian Church.

During the Vietnam War, the military draft (and the ability to avoid the draft by enrolling in college) contributed to increases in college attendance throughout the U.S. Attendance at the college increased but then fell when the draft ended in the 1970s causing financial strain not unlike the losing of students to the Civil War had done in the then distant past.

In 1983, a donation from an alumnus committed $5 million to the endowment and launched a $15 million capital campaign, the largest gift in college history to that point.[20]

During the 1990s, enrollment began a steady increase that would see it more than double over the next two decades, from less than 600 in 1993 to 1,379 in 2009[21] and then decrease to 753 by 2021.[22] The endowment grew from $23.6 million in 1993 to $87.2 million in 2013[23] to over $115 million in 2020;[24] $75 million higher than the average for similar colleges.[24] In 2021, the endowment stood at $146 million; $93.6 million more than average Baccalaureate colleges.[25] Between 2002 and 2013, more than $120 million was invested in new construction and renovations to the campus.[26]


Monmouth is a founding member of the Associated Colleges of the Midwest and a member of the Annapolis Group of independent liberal arts colleges.[27][28] Monmouth also continues its relationship with the Presbyterian Church (USA), although courses in religion are no longer required, and is a member of the Association of Presbyterian Colleges and Universities, of which a Monmouth College president served as chair in 2011–2012. Chemistry at Monmouth is an approved baccalaureate program[29] by the American Chemical Society.

Academics and resources

Dedicated in 2013, Monmouth College's Center for Science and Business

Academic program

Monmouth College offers 40 major fields of study and 17 pre-professional fields of study (with 851 different courses offered)[30] in the sciences, arts, humanities, mathematics, computer sciences, social sciences, foreign languages, classics, and interdisciplinary fields including premedical and pre-engineering studies, and provides an integrated core curriculum. This curriculum includes four signature courses designed to aid students in making connections across disciplines and understanding their education as an integrated whole. The curriculum allows freshman students to take advanced classes, and senior students to take introductory courses.

For freshmen, the only course requirement is one of the first-year seminar courses called Introduction to Liberal Arts which are limited to 16 to 18 students and shares a common focus on critical analysis and development of written and oral argument.[31] The other 31 courses (usually four are taken per semester) required for graduation can be elected by the student.

Sixteen percent of Monmouth students in the class of 2013 were double majors. A small number of triple majors and interdisciplinary majors also exist. Within five years of graduation, more than 60 percent of Monmouth College alumni attend graduate school or another form of ongoing education.

A survey taken six months after the class of 2012 had graduated showed that 99% of Monmouth graduates were employed (or were in graduate school); the 2013[32] and 2014 surveys also showed 99%. As of 2023, 98% were employed.[33]


The Carnegie Foundation classifies Monmouth as a selective institution.[34] For the Class of 2017 (enrolled autumn 2013), Monmouth received 2972 applications and accepted 1914 (64.4%). In 2022, the acceptance rate was 66%.[22]

In 2023, 51% of students were female and 51% were male.[22] Students come from 28 states and 21 countries.[33] 27% were students of color and 1% were international students.[22][24]

The transfer admissions process was more selective, with 126 admitted (51.2%) out of 246 applicants for the 2013 autumn semester.

The college uses rolling admissions meaning that once the prospective student's application for admission is complete, a decision is usually made by the college within two weeks.[22]

Associated Colleges of the Midwest consortium

Monmouth is a founding member of the fourteen-member Associated Colleges of the Midwest (ACM) consortium. The colleges share resources and develop and operate common off-campus academic programs.[35] The members of the ACM include colleges in the middle west region of the United States and include Carleton College and Grinnell College among others.[36]

Resources and facilities

Incoming new students can participate in research projects with their professors and returning upper classmen during the summer prior to their enrollment.
Incoming new students can participate in research projects with their professors and returning upper classmen during the summer prior to their enrollment.

Among the resources on the 112-acre (0.45 km2)[37] campus are academic buildings, athletic fields and facilities, three wildlife sanctuaries for the study of ecology, and trails and other areas for hiking. Notable resources include the Shields Collection of antiquities, the largest privately held collection of Native American artifacts in the region, the only direct copy of the Canopus Stone outside of the Cairo Museum, an astronomical observatory, the Mellinger writing center, the Wackerle Career and Leadership center, and sporting facilities. The Kasch Performance Hall provides a traditional setting for musical performances with excellent acoustics and includes a refurbished three-manual pipe organ. The Wells Theater has been upgraded with high tech lighting and sound equipment. The "black box" experimental Fusion Theatre is located in downtown Monmouth and opened in 2013.

There are ten residence halls, an intercultural house, seven Greek houses, and four apartment buildings available for student use.
The campus has been expanded between 2000 and 2007 with three new residence halls, an apartment complex, an athletic complex, tennis complex, baseball, and soccer fields. It reopened the renovated Dahl Chapel and Auditorium containing a 600-seat English Chapel style recital hall/auditorium as well as music rehearsal space in 2003. In 2008, the April Zorn Memorial Stadium was completed, enlarging the seating capacity for football, lacrosse and track events to 2,600 and adding a new press box.

The largest building on campus is the 154,000-square-foot (14,300 m2) Huff Athletic Center. It encompasses the college's existing Glennie Gymnasium and includes a field house with indoor tennis courts and track, natatorium, fitness complex, wellness suite, locker and training rooms, classrooms and offices.[38]

Opened in 2013 is the $42 million, 138,000-square-foot (12,800 m2) Center for Science and Business,[39] which houses the departments of accounting, biology, chemistry, economics, mathematics & computer science, physics, psychology and political economy & commerce. The facility introduces a cadaver lab, the Adolphson Observatory[40] with research-grade 20-inch reflecting telescope, nuclear physics lab, two parallel computing facilities, a moot boardroom, tax preparation facilities, one-way observation labs, and an FDA-approved nutrition lab in addition to other laboratories.[41]

The college maintains a digital television studio and media (computer) lab, a web-based radio station, digital classrooms, and three art galleries. The college also maintains the LeSuer Nature Preserve, a 16.5-acre (6.7 ha) nature preserve, the Hamilton Research Pond, a prairie grass laboratory and a riparian property on the banks of the Mississippi river for the purposes of wetland biological research.

The Ivory Quinby House,[42] built by a founder of Monmouth College, is now the home of the President of the college and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Students attend functions at the home, including dinners and discussion groups.


Monmouth College has reduced its energy consumption and has increased its recycling contributions in recent years. These efforts include energy reduction through the installation of new heating boilers throughout campus, the use of energy-efficient lighting, low-flow water systems and the replacement of windows in nearly all older buildings. The Center for Science and Business includes energy efficient heating/cooling systems and heat recapture exhaust systems among other features.[43] Recycling efforts extend into every student residence and office building.[44] Some students have also committed themselves to sustainability of food production by opting to live in the college's Garden theme housing which grows its own organic food and harvests its own honey using college facilities including seven acres set aside for such use. The college provides scholarships for students who have demonstrated leadership in sustainability prior to enrolling.[45]

The college provides free access to bicycles for student use,[44] and an electric vehicle recharging station is located on campus.[46]

Study abroad and off-campus

Over seventy off-campus programs are available in over fifty countries and run for as little as ten days or as long as a year but generally last one semester. Programs provided through the Associated Colleges of the Midwest consortium take place usually for one semester at over a dozen locales around the globe and include cultural, scientific, economic, historical and other forms of study and research.[47] These programs include scientific research at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, government interning in Washington, D.C., and cultural activities in Florence, Italy. Monmouth College faculty frequently teach in these programs along with other members of the consortium including Carleton College, Grinnell College, and eleven other colleges. Other programs run exclusively by Monmouth College include a program in Scotland.[48]

In 2012, four Monmouth College students studied at the Fulbright International Summer Institute in Bulgaria, accompanied by a Monmouth College Associate Dean who taught at the institute.[49]

Hewes Library

Housing about a half million items, the Hewes Library also contains ancient antiquities and thousands of Native American artifacts.

With over a half-million items catalogued, the Hewes Library provides a large interlibrary loan capability and houses collections of antiquities, rare books, art, and archaeology. It also provides computer laboratories and tech support. A major remodeling in 2000 resulted in a modern open-stack facility.[50]

Fellowships and internships

Hundreds of internships are arranged annually for students through the Wackerle Career and Leadership Center. These include public service work around the United States. Students have also interned, beginning as early as the first year, at such businesses as Caterpillar Inc., Deere & Co., Monsanto, law offices, and medical offices. Summer internships are also available in such offices as Admission, Financial Aid, Student Life, Hewes Library, Marketing communication, and fundraising.[51]

Summer research opportunities exist for students and also incoming freshmen and transfers in the sciences and other areas of study. This research is conducted with professors and students working in groups and have included such topics as lightning research, archaeology and music. Included are a stipend and room and board expenses.

Students and staff


Students represent about 28 states and about nine countries. Ninety-three percent of students live on campus in dormitories, theme houses, Greek housing, or apartment buildings.

Student profile

Faculty profile

Men's fraternities

Women's fraternities

Coeducational fraternities

Student groups

There are over 120 student groups funded by the student government or the college, including cultural, religious, publications, professional, honors, fine and performing arts, political advocacy, service groups, housing, and athletic organizations.[53]

The honor societies at Monmouth College are:

Procured by the senior class of 1903 as its graduation gift to the institution, Monmouth College's Civil War-era cannon spent 50 years at the bottom of a creek after having been stolen by the rival junior class. Today the restored weapon, which is technically an artillery rifle, signals Monmouth College touchdowns in the annual Homecoming football game.
Procured by the senior class of 1903 as its graduation gift to the institution, this Civil War-era cannon spent 50 years at the bottom of a creek after having been stolen by the rival junior class.


The college's Scottish heritage is reflected in its bagpipes and drums band that have won national titles.[54]

The freshmen walkout is an autumn event that acquaints new students with the town.

Scholars day held in conjunction with founders day celebrates academic achievements with a variety of events.[54] The college also cancels classes for a day and holds an honors convocation.[55]

The college owns a restored civil war cannon (technically called an artillery rifle).[56] It was once used to signal touchdowns the Fighting Scots made at homecoming football games.


The college is located in a residential neighborhood of Victorian homes, removing it from the safety concerns of many urban campuses. The college provides security patrols, an emergency broadcasting system and emergency text messaging system, plus extensive security lighting and the use of security cameras.[57]

Fire safety is highly rated by The Princeton Review. All dormitories are equipped with sprinkler systems and smoke detectors.


Monmouth College is a member of the Midwest Conference[58] and the NCAA Division III.[59] The college offers eleven varsity sports for men and eleven for women. The college has won the Midwest Conference men's all-sports trophy each of the last two years. The college also offers intramural sports.[60]

The athletic teams' nickname, Fighting Scots, was coined in 1928 to reflect the Scotch-Irish heritage of the college's founders.[61] "Fighting Scots" is a registered trademark of Monmouth College.

The Monmouth College men's track and field team placed third in the NCAA Division III Outdoor Track and Field Championships on May 26, 2007. It was the first national team trophy that a Monmouth College sports team has won. The following year, the men's track and field team took second place in the NCAA Division III Indoor Track and Field Championships. Monmouth's track program has produced nine individual national champions, the most recent of which was James Wilson, who won the NCAA Division III indoor long jump national title in 2013.

In 2014, the college's sports teams and student-athletes won awards for academic achievement including national academic honors from seven different organizations. Volleyball and Men's Golf earned team academic accolades from their respective national coaches' organizations for their high team GPA. Eleven team members also earned individual national honors for their academic excellence including one student who became Monmouth's first winner of the NCAA's Elite 89 Award, given to the student-athlete with the highest GPA participating in one of the NCAA's 89 sponsored championships. Four softball players, three track student-athletes, two women's golfers and a men's tennis player also received national academic honors for the 2013–14 academic year.

Monmouth began its college football rivalry with Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois in 1888, making it the sixth-oldest college football rivalry in the country.[62] The two schools play annually for the Bronze Turkey trophy in November (originally on Thanksgiving). ESPN's Jeff Merron has classified the trophy as the fifth-most-unusual in college football.[63] The Bronze Turkey has been stolen several times and was at one time buried under the old MC indoor track for five years.[62] Monmouth leads the series with 71 wins, 50 losses and 10 ties.

Monmouth College varsity football

The Monmouth College football team has appeared in the NCAA Division III Playoffs in 2005, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2016, 2017, 2019,[64] and 2020.[65] Monmouth's recent varsity football alumni include two former quarterbacks who went on to the National Football League. Through 2013, Alex Tanney '11 has played for Kansas City,[59][66] Dallas, Cleveland, Tampa, and the New York Giants.[67][68] Mitch Tanney '06 is director of analytics for the Chicago Bears.[69]

The men's water polo team won the CWPA Division III Club National Championship in 2012.

Monmouth College was a member of the Illinois Intercollegiate Athletic Conference from 1921 to 1937.[70][71]

Men's varsity teams[edit]

Women's varsity teams[edit]

Club and intramural athletics

Monmouth College fields over twenty club athletic teams for men and women spanning about a dozen indoor and outdoor sports.[60] These include sand volleyball, ultimate frisbee, badminton, floor hockey, wrestling and table tennis in addition to the more traditional flag football, basketball, and softball. Some teams are co-educational.


The Dahl Chapel and Auditorium is the oldest academic building on the Monmouth College campus. It was built in 1896 and renovated in 2003.

In the Monmouth College music department, majors and non-majors perform in ensembles including Chorales, male and female a capella, Marching Band, concert bands and an orchestra. The college also has a gospel choir and provides opportunities for musical theater. The Chorale has toured nationally, visiting nearly half the states in the US, and internationally, including a trips to Scotland and a tour of Spain in spring, 2012. In 2013 the group performed in Carnegie Hall in New York City.[72][73]

All classes, ensembles, and lessons are taught by members of the faculty, rather than by teaching assistants. The faculty are experts in their respective fields, as well as active performers.

The Music Department subsidizes some vocal ensembles.

The Kasch Performance Hall, a 600-seat concert hall and stage which is inside the Dahl Chapel, received a $3 million restoration in 2003. Faculty offices, most lessons and classes, practice rooms, and a piano lab are located in Austin Hall, which is two blocks away.[74]


In 2015, Money magazine ranked Monmouth 28th out of 736 "Best Colleges" in the Most Affordable Private Colleges category.[75] That same year, the college was ranked by Washington Monthly 38[76] (out of 248 top four-year institutions) in Social Mobility which included Predicted Versus Actual Graduation Rate achievement of its graduates.[76]

In 2024, US News ranked Monmouth College as 129th among National Liberal Arts Colleges and 34th in Top Performers on Social Mobility.[22]

The Princeton Review named Monmouth College a "Best in the Midwest" in its 2015 Best Colleges survey. Monmouth's highest ratings came in the areas of fire safety, financial aid, Interesting Professors and Accessibility of Professors.[77]

The college is ranked 154 of 925 colleges and universities in Forbes 2015 College Financial Grades rankings of financial fitness.[78] This ranking is based on balance sheet health, operational soundness, admissions yield, freshmen receiving institutional grants, and instructional expenses per student.[79]

Notable alumni

Vice Adm. James Stockdale, Class of 1946

There are about 12,600 living alumni.

See also


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