William Jewell College
MottoDeo Fisus Labora (Latin)
Motto in English
Trust in God, Work
TypePrivate liberal arts college
Established1849; 175 years ago (1849)
Academic affiliation
Annapolis Group
PresidentElizabeth MacLeod Walls
Students853 (Fall 2022)[1]

39°14′47″N 94°24′44″W / 39.246263°N 94.412159°W / 39.246263; -94.412159
ColorsBlack and red[2]
Sporting affiliations
NCAA Division II - GLVC

William Jewell College is a private liberal arts college in Liberty, Missouri, United States. It was founded in 1849 by members of the Missouri Baptist Convention and endowed with $10,000 by William Jewell. It was associated with the Missouri Baptist Convention for over 150 years until it separated in 2003 and became independent. After becoming a nonsectarian institution, the college's enrollment fell by approximately 40% to 739 students in 2018. Jewell is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.[3]



William Jewell

The college is named after Dr. William Jewell, who in 1849 donated $10,000 to start a school. Jewell, who was from Columbia, Missouri, had wanted the school built in Boonville, Missouri. However, Liberty resident Alexander William Doniphan argued that donated undeveloped land in Liberty would be more valuable than the proposed developed land in Boonville, and Liberty was eventually chosen. Judge James Turner Vance Thompson donated the hilltop land on which the campus sits.[4] In the American Civil War during the Battle of Liberty, the main building on campus, Jewell Hall, was used as a hospital, infirmary, and stables for the United States Army. Union troops were buried on the campus. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.[5] The Mt. Memorial Cemetery, listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2012, is located on the campus grounds.[6] One of the school's founders was Baptist minister Robert S. James, father of Jesse James.

On February 13, 1913 the nearby Liberty Female Institute, also known as the Liberty Ladies' College, was destroyed in a fire, which brought female students to Jewell. The unanticipated merger developed slowly, but by 1920 the women of the ladies' college were admitted to William Jewell on the same terms as men.

Gano Chapel

Gano Chapel in 2010

In 1926, the John Gano chapel was built, based on a donation from Gano's great-granddaughter Elizabeth Price, who lived in Kansas City. Price gave the money for the chapel with provisions that the chapel be named for Gano and that it hang a painting of Gano baptizing George Washington in the Potomac River during the American Revolutionary War. The college says the painting is one of the school's most popular tourist destinations and takes no stance on whether the baptism of Washington (who was an Episcopalian) actually took place.[7][8]

Harriman-Jewell Series

The Harriman-Jewell Series, a performing arts series, was founded in 1965 by Department of English Professors Dean Dunham and Richard Harriman. Harriman was especially instrumental in bringing Luciano Pavarotti to campus, where the tenor made his international solo recital debut as part of the Series in 1973. Today, the Series continues to bring world-class music, dance and theatre events to Kansas City. The 2014–2015 season marked the Series' 50th anniversary.

Jewell students receive free tickets to Harriman-Jewell Series events, further shaping their liberal arts experience. Events are primarily held in downtown Kansas City at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts and the Folly Theater.[9]

Pryor Learning Commons

In August 2013, William Jewell College opened Pryor Learning Commons, a 26,000-square-foot intellectual center where students gather, learn, and create 24 hours a day. The three-story hub of campus allows for students to work as mature, independent learners, immersing and engaging in their educational experience.

Equipped with innovation studios, recording and editing suites, a 3D printer, 80-inch touchscreens, configurable white board tables, AirMedia, live Twitter wall, coffee shop, and more, the fully donor-funded $15 million Pryor Learning Commons lends itself to the learning styles of today's students.[10]

Sexual assault allegations

In May 2019 the college was named in a lawsuit filed by a former student who was raped in Browning Hall in 2017 by another student, a member of the college's football team. The Clay County prosecutor did not pursue the matter with criminal charges.[11] The victim alleges that after the reporting of the incident she continued to be harassed by the perpetrator and members of the football team. While the college does not deny that the rape occurred,[12] the college's response in June 2019 denied any responsibility and petitioned the court to dismiss the lawsuit.[13]


Jewell Hall in 2012

The college offers nearly 40 academic majors and 10 pre-professional programs.[14]

William Jewell College also provides an Oxbridge Honors Program.[15] Oxbridge majors take tutorials in their major, study abroad in Oxford, and take comprehensive exams during their senior year. The college offers a Journey Grant program in which students can qualify for a minimum $2,000 grant to use their junior year of school to help create an educational experience like study abroad, leadership and service projects, internships, research, business projects, etc.[16]

In 2019, William Jewell started the Honors Institute in Critical Thinking, a scholarship honors program that delves into analytical thinking with a self-designed practicum centered around a world issue.[17]

Since 2013, the college claimed three Fulbright Scholars, two Goldwater Scholars, one Rhodes Global Scholar international finalist, two Truman Scholar finalists, one Rotary International Scholarship and ten Teach For America corps members.[18]

The college offers three graduate programs, all approved by the Higher Learning Commission: The Master of Arts in Teaching, the Master of Science in Curriculum and Instruction, and the Artist Diploma in Voice (certificate program).[19]


Main article: William Jewell Cardinals

See also: William Jewell Cardinals men's soccer and William Jewell Cardinals women's soccer

The William Jewell athletic teams are called the Cardinals. The college is a member of the NCAA Division II ranks, primarily competing in the Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC) since the 2011–12 academic year.[20][21] Prior to joining the NCAA, the Cardinals previously competed in the Heart of America Conference (HAAC) of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) from 1971–72 to 2010–11;[21][22] and in the Missouri College Athletic Union (MCAU) from 1924–25 to 1970–71.

William Jewell competes in 25 intercollegiate varsity sports: Men's sports include baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, lacrosse, quadball, soccer, swimming, tennis, track & field and wrestling; while women's sports include basketball, cross country, golf, lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis, track & field, volleyball and wrestling; and co-ed sports include athletic band, powerlifting and spirit team.

Greek life



Notable alumni


  1. ^ "William Jewell College". NCES. Retrieved August 11, 2023.
  2. ^ William Jewell Brand Standards (PDF). Retrieved December 28, 2022.
  3. ^ Higher Learning Commission (June 27, 2019). "Public Disclosure:William Jewell College status changed from Accredited–Probation to Accredited" (PDF). Retrieved July 11, 2019.
  4. ^ Missouri Historical Society Collections. (1912). United States: Missouri Historical Society, page 288, Vol. 4
  5. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  6. ^ "National Register of Historic Places Listings". Weekly List of Actions Taken on Properties: 4/23/12 through 4/27/12. National Park Service. May 4, 2012.
  7. ^ "Rupert Hughes' rebuttal of the Gano baptism legend in Time magazine". September 26, 1932. Archived from the original on May 23, 2011. Retrieved November 12, 2009.
  8. ^ "Franklin Steiner's refutation of the Gano baptism legend". Retrieved November 12, 2009.
  9. ^ "Harriman-Jewell Series – Home". hjseries.org.
  10. ^ "PLC: Welcome". jewell.edu.
  11. ^ By. "A football player raped her. She blames William Jewell College for not preventing it". kansascity. Retrieved June 11, 2019.
  12. ^ "William Jewell College wants to drop rape lawsuit, says schools don't have duty to protect students from crimes".
  13. ^ Bergan, Shain (June 7, 2019). "William Jewell College wants to drop rape lawsuit, says schools don't have duty to protect students from crimes". KCTV Kansas City. Retrieved June 10, 2019.
  14. ^ "Majors & Minors". jewell.edu. September 6, 2019.
  15. ^ http://jewell.edu/oxbridge/ Oxbridge Honors Program
  16. ^ "Journey Grants: Welcome". jewell.edu. February 7, 2018.
  17. ^ "Honors Institute". William Jewell College. July 24, 2019. Retrieved November 24, 2020.
  18. ^ "Outcomes". August 30, 2018.
  19. ^ "Department of Education: M.S.Ed". jewell.edu. December 2, 2019.
  20. ^ "New members for 2012–13 could include Association's first Canadian school". NCAA. July 13, 2012. Retrieved August 1, 2012.
  21. ^ a b "Great Lakes Valley Conference Admits New Member". GLVC. October 8, 2009. Retrieved August 12, 2011.
  22. ^ "William Jewell Advances to Year Three of NCAA Division II Membership Transition Process". William Jewell College. July 11, 2011. Retrieved August 12, 2011.
  23. ^ This chapter had its origin in Iota Pi (local), which had formed in 1919. The local group would eventually accept a charter from Beta Sigma Omicron to become that sorority's Alpha Psi chapter in 1931, then participating in the national merger with ΖΤΑ in 1964 when it became ΖΤΑ's Delta Chi chapter. However, a nearby women's college, the Liberty Ladies College, was home to the Omicron chapter of Beta Sigma Omicron from 1908 to 1913 until its building burned in a fire. Soon after, the school's operations and student body were merged into William Jewell College with an agreement on co-education and a formal school merger soon following. Out of this, ΒΣΟ's Omicron chapter may be considered a second predecessor group to William Jewell's current ΖΤΑ chapter, even though the 6-year gap to the start of the predecessor local or the 17-yr gap to the creation of ΒΣΟ's Alpha Psi chapter probably didn't allow any alumnae continuity.
  24. ^ "William Jewell's Cissell Wins National Coach of the Year". Nscaa.com. October 5, 2006. Retrieved January 31, 2010.
  25. ^ Russ Cline
  26. ^ Jim Davis (actor)
  27. ^ "Connie Dover biography".
  28. ^ "James B. Graham" (PDF). Office of the Kentucky Auditor of Public Accounts.
  29. ^ Head Women's Basketball Coach at Western Illinois University