The Columbia Female Academy opened in 1833 under the helm of Lucy H. Wales. The institution was renamed in honor of James L. Stephens in 1870, who endowed the College with $20,000. The first half of the 20th century saw the birth of the Ten Ideals — values to which Stephens women pledge to adhere — the Stephens College Children’s School, the country’s oldest continuously active horse-riding club, and the country’s first aviation program for women. Stephens launched an innovative distance-education program for Health Information Management in 1970, later building on the program’s success to launch 100% online graduate and undergraduate degrees for working professionals.
Points of pride
The second-oldest women’s college in the nation, Stephens takes pride in its commitment to the creative arts and health sciences. It is a National College of Distinction, specially recognized for its Center for Career and Professional Development and its dedication to experiential learning. Stephens is one of the “Best Fashion Schools in the World 2019” according to the Business of Fashion, London, and its theatre program is ranked in the nation’s top 10 by the Princeton Review. Stephens is a long-time innovator in preparing students for high-demand healthcare industry careers that serve and enrich communities. And, with its pet-fostering scholarship program, Stephens is known as one of the pet-friendliest campuses in the country.