Coordinates: 41°18′32″N 92°38′53″W / 41.3090°N 92.6481°W / 41.3090; -92.6481
William Penn University is a private, liberal arts university in Oskaloosa, Iowa, United States. It was founded by members of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) in 1873 as Penn College. In 1933, the name was changed to William Penn College, and finally to William Penn University in 2000.
In 2007, Musco Lighting, also in Oskaloosa, donated $12 million to the school for various projects—the biggest single gift in the school's history. The money is to be used for 200,000 square feet (19,000 m2) of new structures including student recreation, classrooms, laboratories, and a stand-alone Industrial Technology Center building, which is home for the expanding Digital Communication Program.
The university's athletic teams compete National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). The university is a member of Midwest Classic Conference for most sports, and the affiliated Mid-States Football Association for football. Before 2000, the school was a part of the NCAA Division III.
William Penn University's ideal of providing quality education has not changed in nearly 140 years. It has always provided equal access to quality education, without discrimination towards a person's race, gender, age, religion, or national origin. In 1873, the college debated its naming to either Penn College or John Bright College. Penn College opened September 24, 1873 with John W. Woody as its first President, and had its first graduate, Linda Ninde, in 1875. The college grew at a rapid pace till it reached its full maturity in 1910 under President Rosenburg, who under his term, completed the college building, doubled attendance, and enriched and expanded studies. The college's name was legally changed from Penn College to William Penn College in 1933, sparking a controversy whether or not the institution had ceased to exist as an educational institution. That matter was settled once and for all by the Iowa Supreme Court which ruled that Penn College had not ceased to exist as an educational institution. In the year 2000, the name was changed again from William Penn College to William Penn University.
In 1916, fire destroyed the original campus. Flames that began on the third floor of Old Penn Hall spread to a tank of chemicals, causing an explosion that scattered fire in all directions. Insufficient water pressure made it impossible to fight the fire. Trying to remove college records, Penn's business manager Robert Williams and freshman student Harry Oakley were killed when the four-ton college bell crashed through the main building and buried them beneath it.
William Penn has always welcomed students of diverse and varying backgrounds. During the depression, students sometimes gave cows and lambs to pay their tuition. After World War II, Penn College actively recruited Japanese-American students from relocation camps. Penn has one of the most diverse student populations in the state of Iowa.
In 1995, William Penn's 'College for Working Adults' was founded, which enrolls non-traditional students in an evening program of accelerated study. In January 2000 the college returned to the NAIA Division II. William Penn University enrolls students from throughout the U.S. and the world. William Penn is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association.
At William Penn University, students take pride in academics, and the university strives to offer them exciting opportunities. The college has a 15:1 student-teacher ratio. Penn has many career majors to choose from, including applied technology, business administration, education, health and life sciences, humanities, social and behavioral sciences, and many academic minors.
The William Penn University College for Working Adults is a program for working professionals or others who may have difficulty finding time for traditional college attendance. It operates satellite campuses in West Des Moines and Ankeny, Iowa. Upon enrollment, students choose from three degree-programs: the Associate of Arts in Leadership Studies, the Bachelor of Arts in Business, and the Master of Business Leadership.
At William Penn University, students are encouraged, but not required, to participate in religious life programming. Programming sponsored by Campus Ministries is Christian in orientation and interdenominational in nature. Campus Ministry assists students to explore questions of faith in a nurturing environment and discover spiritual resources to face life's challenges.”
William Penn University offers international students the experience of total immersion into American academic and cultural life. Countries currently represented in the student population include Rwanda, Brazil, South Africa, Puerto Rico, Philippines, Australia, Bahamas, Burma (Myanmar), Canada, France, China, Ireland, South Korea, and the United Kingdom.
William Penn teams, nicknamed the Statesmen, compete at the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Division II level, primarily in the Midwest Collegiate Conference (MCC); while its football team competes in the Midwest League of the Mid-States Football Association (MSFA). The Statesmen formerly competed in the Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (IIAC) of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III level until 2000. Men's sports include baseball, basketball, bowling, cross country, football, golf, soccer, track & field and wrestling; while women's sports include basketball, bowling, cheerleading, cross country, dance, golf, soccer, softball, track & field and volleyball.