Our Mission + Commitment
Founded in 1833, Stephens College is an institution committed to its mission to Learn. Grow. Lead. Stephens is resilient and optimistic, faithful to her traditions, and eager to embrace the future. Focused on the health sciences, performing arts, and integrative studies, Stephens continues to prepare graduates (whether from our undergraduate residential college, co-educational graduate programs, or 90-year-strong Children’s School) for the lives that await them — lives of distinction, integrity, and service.
A Mission That Guides Us
Stephens College is proud to be the second-oldest women’s college in the country. Shaped by our Ten Ideals, we stand in service to generation after generation of Stephens students.
Learn. Grow. Lead.
Inspired by its tradition as an undergraduate women’s college, Stephens College engages lifelong learners in an educational experience characterized by intellectual rigor, creative expression, and professional practice, supported by accomplished faculty, talented staff, and engaged alumnae/alumni. Graduates of Stephens College are educated in the liberal arts, informed by diverse perspectives, and committed to lives of leadership, integrity, and service.
Our Values: The Ten Ideals
Inherent in the culture of Stephens College is the tradition of the Ten Ideals, which originated in 1921 and which represent the core values that enrich and inspire our lives. Each year, 10 students are selected as personifications of individual ideals.
- Respect for our own dignity and the dignity of others, embodied in a sense of social justice
- Courage and persistence
- Independence, autonomy, and self-sufficiency
- Support for others through the willingness to take and give criticism, acceptance, and love
- Sensitivity to the uniqueness and fragility of the natural world of which we are part
- Responsibility for the consequences of our choices
- Belief in our changing selves and in our right to change
- Creativity in the spiritual and aesthetic dimensions of life
- Intelligence that is informed and cultivated, critical yet tolerant
- Leadership which empowers others
Stephens College: 187 years of Innovation + Tradition
Founded in 1833, Stephens College is proud to be the second-oldest women’s college in the country and the first institution of higher education in Columbia, Missouri.
From the beginning, Stephens has developed a tradition of cutting-edge educational programs that provide young women with classroom and experiential learning opportunities like no other institution in higher education.
Stephens believes in the power of a women’s undergraduate education. We also believe in the power of education to change lives and offer co-educational graduate programs as well as children's school and youth programs that celebrate and encourage lifelong learning.
Our Commitment to Equity
Stephens College is committed to fostering a safe, respectful and inclusive environment for learning, living and working. While we have much work to do, we look forward to doing it together, and we invite all members of our community to be part of that conversation.
Our students love life at Stephens.
That’s what they told The Princeton Review. Our students say they feel at home here. They think our campus is beautiful, easy to navigate, and an ideal place to make friends. They also appreciate the College’s close relationship with the local community and value the interaction of different types of students on campus.
And that’s not all there is to love about life at Stephens. Our hometown of Columbia, Missouri, is frequently ranked one of the best college towns in America. Here, there’s always something happening, thanks to three colleges and 30,000+ college students. Columbia really has it all: big-time college sports; film, music, and arts festivals; amazing recreation; and a great downtown with lots of places to eat, shop, and check out the latest bands.
Stephens’ historic campus is just steps away from downtown Columbia, so you get the best of both worlds - brick and ivy charm, and the buzz of a happening college town. You’ll find a culture of respect and support, and a network of friends eager to take on life’s amazing adventures with you. Our residence halls are truly a home-away-from-home (you can even bring a pet from home!). We can’t wait to welcome you here.