Southwestern College is a four-year private college affiliated with the United Methodist Church located in Winfield, Kansas, United States. It was founded in 1885 and graduated its first class in 1889. In addition to its campus programs, it offers online programs.
The main campus is a laptop learning community, with laptop computers provided to all incoming students. An emphasis on service learning has led to nationally-recognized programs in leadership, discipleship, and sustainability (green issues). In addition to bachelor's degrees, several master's programs give undergraduate students the option of completing a graduate degree. Its doctoral degree in education started during the summer of 2012.
Southwestern College's professional studies programs focus on degree completion for working adults. Six professional studies sites in three states allow students to earn their bachelor's degrees and selected master's programs in either a traditional classroom setting or online. The ground locations are in Wichita, McConnell AFB, Fort Riley, Kansas and Midwest City, Oklahoma.
The school owns and operates radio station KSWC.
Southwestern College is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association. It is further accredited by the University Senate of the United Methodist Church and other accrediting bodies for individual majors.
Southwestern College teams are nicknamed as the Moundbuilders. The university is a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), primarily competing in the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference (KCAC). Men's sports include basketball, cross country, football, golf, soccer, tennis and track & field; while women's sports include basketball, cheerleading, cross country, dance, golf, soccer, softball, tennis, track & field and volleyball.
The Men's Track Team has won 30 consecutive conference championships, while the women have won 16 straight. Men's Cross Country has won 30 consecutive conference championships, while the women have won 4 straight and 11 of the last 14, with the school garnering 134 conference championships in nine different sports since 1960. The track teams are coached by Jim Helmer and Mike Kirkland. The school has had over 160 All-American scholar-athletes since 1980.
Southwestern College football players have gone on to successful coaching careers, including Jerry Kill, currently head football coach at the University of Minnesota.
The college's nickname, "Moundbuilders," (frequently shortened to just "Builders") has inspired the creation of a large pile of rocks on the college campus, called "The Mound." At the beginning of each school year, the "Moundbuilding Ceremony" allows students, faculty, clubs, and guests of Southwestern College to place a rock on the Mound. Participants are invited to decorate their rocks with paint, and some are decorated quite creatively. Although rocks are never removed from the Mound, the Mound itself was moved from the upper campus to the lower campus in the 1970s when Darbeth Fine Arts Building was built on the original site of the Mound. A major renovation in 2006 added a plaza area around the Mound with commemorative stones, benches, and landscaping.
The nickname Moundbuilders originated in 1910 when students wanted to be called something other than "Preachers" or "Methodists." Editorialists toyed with various suggestions based on the fact that Southwestern students lived on "the hill." The name "Cliff-dwellers" was suggested but was ultimately scrapped for "Moundbuilders" after student Harry Hart wrote that "anybody could just dwell there, but 'builders' shows action." The Moundbuilding ceremony was instituted in 1927 by Dean Leroy Allen who said, "Nobody but Moundbuilders can build mounds. So no other college has now, or ever is likely to have such a custom."
The Order of the Mound
The Order of the Mound is the official Honor Society for Southwestern College graduates. Although the society was formally organized in 1917, membership in the Order of the Mound includes graduates from 1889 onward. In 1927, a process was established to induct qualified graduates from years prior to 1917.
Currently, to qualify for induction, students must be in the top 10% of all graduates who have completed at least 60 graded hours or more at Southwestern College.