MacMurray College is a career-directed liberal arts college located in Jacksonville, Illinois. Its enrollment in fall 2011 was 548. It is 30 miles (48 km) from Springfield and 235 miles (378 km) from Chicago.
In its annual rankings of the nation's colleges and universities, Washington Monthly magazine listed MacMurray No. 14 in the country among more than 300 baccalaureate colleges. The Washington Monthly looks at social mobility, research and service to gauge how much the nation's colleges and universities give back to the country.
Although founded in 1846 by a group of Methodist clergymen as the Illinois Conference Female Academy, the first class was not held until 1848. Since its beginnings, the college has been affiliated with the United Methodist Church. It is one of the oldest institutions of higher education originally for women in the United States.
The school was renamed the Illinois Conference Female College in 1851, with the name changed again to Illinois Female College in 1863 and Illinois Woman's College in 1899. The name was changed to MacMurray College for Women in 1930 to honor James E. MacMurray, who was an Illinois state senator, president of Acme Steel Corporation in Chicago, and college trustee whose commitment led to a substantial increase in the college's facilities and endowment in the late 1920s and 1930s.
The institution remained an exclusively women's college until 1955, when the trustees established MacMurray College for Men as a coordinate institution. In 1969, the colleges were reorganized into a single co-educational institution.
For the 2009-10 year (released in the fall of 2011), MacMurray College failed passing the Department of Education's Financial Responsibility Test. On a scale of minus 1 to 3.0, MacMurray scored a 1.4, with 1.5 considered "passing." MacMurray and 149 other private, nonprofit colleges in the country will be subject to Department financial monitoring due to the test.  Colleges that score between 1.0 and 1.4 are subject to cash monitoring and other oversight. MacMurray's score increased from 0.9 previous year, when the stock market crash harmed the portfolios of many small colleges, according to news reports. 
In the 2010-2011 academic year, MacMurray offered a 26-major, 16-minor liberal arts curriculum with both Associate's and Bachelor's degrees. The school reinforces liberal arts with an emphasis on career preparation. Some of the college's top majors include nursing, deaf and hard-of-hearing education, criminal justice and social work. MacMurray’s deaf education and interpreter programs may benefit from the College’s proximity to the Illinois School for the Deaf, also located in Jacksonville.
The College has five academic divisions, which combined offer 26 majors and 16 minors. The five divisions are the Division of Social and Behavioral Sciences, the Division of Humanities and Fine Arts, the Division of Natural Sciences and Nursing, the Division of Education and the Division of Business and Criminal Justice.
The Center for Learning Excellence provides academic support to students outside of the classroom. Center for Learning Excellence staff members are certified by the Kellogg Institute for the Training and Certification of Developmental Educators.
MacMurray College was ranked 54 of 200 colleges in the 2011 edition of U.S. News Best Colleges in Regional Colleges (Midwest) by U.S. News & World Report.
MacMurray's athletic teams are known as the Highlanders. Teams compete in the NCAA's Division III. The football team is part of the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference. The College’s nine other men’s and women’s athletic teams compete in the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
Athletic teams include men's baseball, men's and women's basketball, football, men's and women's golf, soccer, softball and volleyball.
The current athletic director is Dane Pavlovich. He is also the Head Women's Basketball Coach. He joined the College in 2010. He was previously the Associate Athletic Director at Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri.
Thirty-five percent of MacMurray students are athletes. MacMurray athletics teams have won 22 conference championships since 1990. During the past two years, 33 MacMurray players were named to the Academic All-Conference Team, and 38 student-athletes were named to their respective All-Conference teams.
In 2011, the Highlander football team won its last two games after a long drought. The victories were buoyed by 300-yard passing performances by freshman quarterback Cody Hussey, who was subsequently named the conference offensive player of the week two weeks in a row. 
The men's basketball team finished the 2011-12 campaign narrowly missing a win of the conference tournament and an automatic berth in the NCAA Division III tournament. The Highlanders lost 58-56 to Westminster College on a three-point shot with 1.7 seconds remaining in the championship game of the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Tournament. 
MacMurray College is one of the few institutions to have received the NCAA "death penalty." In 2005 the men’s tennis team was sanctioned and prohibited from play for two years, with post-season play prohibited for a further two seasons, after a coach's fund gave over $162,000 in financial assistance to 10 foreign-born players, in violation of Division III rules prohibiting athletic scholarships. MacMurray has not had a men's tennis program since that time.
The campus covers 60 acres (240,000 m2), and includes the administration building Kathryn Hall, the McClelland Dining Hall, the Annie Merner Chapel, the Henry Pfieffer Library, the educational buildings of MacMurray Hall, Julian Chemistry, the Putnam Center for the Arts, the William H. Springer Center for Music, the Education Complex, the Gordon Facilities building, and the five residence halls of Kendall, Norris, Michalson, Rutledge and Jane. Kendall and Norris were unoccupied during the 2009-2010 school year while undergoing renovations that included sprinkler systems and aesthetic improvements. They reopened in the fall of 2010.
More than 30 student-led organizations are active on campus. The College encourages students to be active community members with 84% involved in community work or volunteering. Career Services facilitates work and internship experience. Over 70% of students complete internships facilitated by Career Services.
In March 2011, 16 thefts occurred in the residence halls during Spring break. The thefts also included a 600 pound safe stolen from the dining hall. "I think this is a real invasion and violation of the sense of family and friendship at MacMurray," said Director of Public Relations Ted Roth. "I think the students feel like their privacy was violated." 
On June 16-17, 2011, MacMurray College suffered damage from widespread flooding that affected the entire eastern section of the City of Jacksonville. Several dormitories and the Education Complex (EC) were flooded. The Education Complex includes the Wall Gymnasium and the MacMurray swimming pool, which had been closed for maintenance. The college estimated the losses at approximately $2 million. On July 26, President Colleen Hester made a plea to all members of the Illinois Great Rivers Conference of the Methodist Church. This plea asked for funds to help cover the uninsured repair work necessary after the flooding. This includes a new gym floor in the Education Complex.