Monmouth College is a four-year coeducational private liberal arts college located in Monmouth, Illinois, United States.
Monmouth College was founded on April 18, 1853, by the Second Presbytery of Illinois, a frontier arm of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. The college celebrates this date annually as "Scholars Day," cancelling classes for a day of celebration and an honors convocation. 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 (U.S.A.) and is a member of the Associated Colleges of the Midwest, a consortium of small, private liberal arts colleges. The college's motto "Sit Lux" ("Let there be Light") appears on its seal, but the college likes to describe itself as "What College Was Meant to Be."
The college's endowment as of June 30, 2011 was $78,624,000
Monmouth was one of the first institutions in the country to admit women from its inception. This increased the college's early popularity and logically made it the home of the women's sorority movement. Pi Beta Phi was founded on April 28, 1867 as I. C. Sorosis. Pi Beta Phi was the first national secret college society of women to be modeled after the Greek-letter fraternities of men. Kappa Kappa Gamma, founded in 1870, is another national sorority founded at Monmouth College.
Monmouth College is a member of the Midwest Conference and the NCAA Division III. 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. Additionally, the college offers intramural sports to interested students.
The athletic teams' nickname, Fighting Scots, was coined in 1928 by alumni secretary Harold Hermann (class of 1927) to reflect the Scotch-Irish heritage of the college's founders. "Fighting Scots" is a registered trademark of Monmouth College.
The Monmouth College Men's Track and Field team brought back a third place team trophy from the NCAA Division III Outdoor Track and Field Championships on May 26, 2007. This is the first national team trophy that a Monmouth College sports team has won. The following year Monmouth's Mens Track & Field Team brought home a second place trophy from the NCAA Division III Indoor Track and Field Championships on March 14, 2008.
Monmouth began its college football rivalry with Knox College in Galesburg in 1888, making it the sixth oldest college football rivalry in the country. The two schools play annually for the Bronze Turkey trophy in November (originally on Thanksgiving). Monmouth leads the series with 56 wins, 50 losses and 10 ties.
The Bronze Turkey has been stolen several times and was at one time buried under the old MC indoor track for six years.
The Monmouth College football team has appeared in the NCAA Playoffs in 2005 and 2008. In 2005 Monmouth college went 10-0 in the regular season, but lost in the first round to St. Johns 62-3. In 2008 the Scots went 10-0 in the regular season. In the first round they beat Aurora University 42-13, to win their first post-season game in school history. They lost in the second round of the NCAA Division III playoffs to Wartburg College 30-28.
The newest varsity sport—water polo—was added for both men and women in 2013.
Monmouth College was a member of the Illinois Intercollegiate Athletic Conference from 1921-1937.
The 106-acre (336,000 m2) college campus has undergone $120 million in new construction and renovations since 1997. Bowers Hall, a residence hall built in 2001, was the first new dormitory in over 30 years. The college purchased an apartment complex near the campus in 2003 and North Hall, built on the north side on the campus, was completed before the Fall of 2005. Gracie Peterson Hall, a modern coed dorm opened in the fall of 2007. The Peacock Athletic Complex was built in 2000 and is in walking distance from the campus. The college also built new tennis courts in 2003 and reopened the completely renovated Dahl Chapel and Auditorium containing a 500-seat recital hall/auditorium as well as music rehearsal space. In the fall of 2008, the first phase of the April Zorn Memorial Stadium was completed, enlarging the seating capacity to 2,600 and adding a state-of-the-art press box.
The largest building on campus is the massive 155,000-square-foot (14,400 m2) Huff Athletic Center. It encompasses the college's old Glennie Gymnasium and includes a brand new field house with indoor tennis courts and track, natatorium, fitness complex, wellness suite, locker and training rooms, classrooms and offices.
The Center for Science and Business, a $40 million, 138,000-square-foot (12,800 m2) academic building, opened in 2013. Housing the departments of accounting, biology, chemistry, mathematics & computer science, psychology and political economy & commerce, the center is emblematic of a major college initiative to teach science and business in a collaborative and mutually supportive environment, in order to better prepare students in both disciplines for the challenges of a rapidly changing technological and global economy.
The college maintains additional facilities including a state-of-the-art digital television studio and media (computer) lab, the Wells Theater and WIT Studio Theater, hosting dramatic productions, a web-based radio station and the beautifully renovated Hewes Library complete with a wide range of print and electronic information resources, computing facilities, a digital classroom, an art gallery housing the James Shields collection of art and antiquities and a coffee shop. Nearby is the LeSeur Nature Preserve, a 16.5-acre (67,000 m2) nature preserve located a short 10 minute walk from campus.
The Minnie Billings Capron Classics Room located on the first floor of Wallace Hall, the main classroom building, honors the mother of Keith Capron. Keith Capron endowed a Classics chair in honor of his mother, who attended Monmouth College for one year. He also donated the funds to create the modern, technologically-equipped Capron Room, including a library and display of classical artifacts. A photo of Mrs. Capron hangs in the room.
Monmouth College unveiled a new strategic plan on March 1, 2012. Entitled "Fulfilling the Promise," the document is based on four guiding principles that will inform decision-making at the institution for the next five years. The principles are: 1. Build an environment that promotes active learning; 2. Inspire students to lead and serve society using democratic principles; 3. Prepare students to solve complex problems; and 4. Guide students to discover meaningful careers and purpose in life.