Iowa Wesleyan University

Iowa Wesleyan University is a private four-year liberal arts college in Mount Pleasant, Iowa. Founded in 1842, it ranks as Iowa's first co-educational institution of higher learning and the oldest of its type west of the Mississippi River. The university is affiliated with the United Methodist Church.[1]

Iowa Wesleyan University
"Old Main" on the Iowa Wesleyan campus
Former names
Iowa Wesleyan College
Mount Pleasant Collegiate Institute
Mount Pleasant Literary Institute
MottoLearning in Community: An Academic Vision
AffiliationUnited Methodist Church
ChairpersonAnnette Jennings Scieszinski
PresidentSteven E. Titus
ColorsPurple and White          
AffiliationsNCAA Division III, SLIAC

Two campus buildings, Old Main and the Harlan-Lincoln House, are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The latter, the former summer home of Robert Todd Lincoln, is now a museum featuring various artifacts from the Harlan and Lincoln families.


In 1841 a group of Methodist settlers in Mount Pleasant, Iowa, met and began lobbying the Iowa territorial legislature to establish an institute of higher learning in their burgeoning community.[2] On February 17, 1842, the legislature granted a charter for the Mount Pleasant Literary Institute, soon to be renamed as Mount Pleasant Collegiate Institute.[1] Despite the charter, organization and fund raising were slow going at first. Twenty acres of land was donated for the campus by four Mount Pleasant residents in March 1843. That same month, organizing officials hired Reverend Artistides J. Heustis as the institution's first president.[2]

From February 1855, the school was known as Iowa Wesleyan University, honoring John Wesley, the founder of Methodism[1] The institution's name was modified to Iowa Wesleyan College in 1912, reflecting its contemporary status as a four-year baccalaureate degree institution of higher learning.

On August 10, 2015, Iowa Wesleyan officially adopted its new name: Iowa Wesleyan University, reflecting its broad educational opportunities and its roots as one of the oldest four-year co-educational church-related universities west of the Mississippi River.

The university occupies a 60-acre central campus of historic red brick buildings and modern structures, including some listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Chapel, built in 1896, received a complete renovation and restoration in the early 21st century.

Iowa Wesleyan is fully accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools to offer academic programs leading to the Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, and Bachelor of Music Education degrees. Undergraduate enrollment at the college is approximately 600 full-time students. Dr. Steven E. Titus has been president of the university since June 2013.

Academic programs

Students at Iowa Wesleyan can gain a variety of degrees in the fields of Business, Education, Fine Arts, Human Studies, Language and Literature, Nursing, and Science.

In the late 1960s, Iowa Wesleyan started its Responsible Social Involvement program or RSI. Now called Service Learning, the program has two main goals:

  1. Service to the greater community, and
  2. Having students participate more actively in their own education.

Service Learning allows students direct experience outside the traditional realms of textbooks, classrooms, and professors. Additionally, all students at Iowa Wesleyan are required to complete an approved internship through the Office of Field Experience.

Student life

Iowa Wesleyan University offers many activities for students outside the classroom, including the Student Government Association, the Student Union Board, Intramurals, Hall Councils, Student Ambassadors, as well as a number of performing groups such as the Concert Choir.

Greek life

Greek life has a rich history at Iowa Wesleyan University. The one active chapter on campus is the Beta chapter of Alpha Xi Delta Sorority, which has been on campus since 1902. It is the oldest chapter of Alpha Xi Delta in the country.

The P.E.O. Sisterhood was founded at Iowa Wesleyan University on January 21, 1869.

Greek organizations that have had chapters on campus include: National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) Sororities:

North American Interfraternity Conference (IFC) Fraternities


Iowa Wesleyan teams are known as the Tigers. The university is a member of the United States Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA) and a provisional member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), primarily competing in the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SLIAC).[3] The football team competes in the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference (UMAC).[4]

The Tigers were formerly part of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), primarily competing in the Midwest Collegiate Conference (MCC) until the end of the 2011–12 season. Men's sports include baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, soccer and track & field; while women's sports include basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, softball, track & field and volleyball.

In 2009, for the second time in university history since 2006, both the men's and women's teams qualified for the NAIA National Basketball Tournament. Both men's and women's teams also qualified for the USCAA National Tournament in 2015.

From 1989 to 1991, Hal Mumme was head football coach, with Mike Leach as his offensive coordinator. It was at Iowa Wesleyan that they developed the air raid offense.

Notable alumni


  1. "Iowa Wesleyan University history". Iowa Wesleyan University marketing office. 2013. Retrieved 24 January 2014.
  2. "Historical Sketch and Alumni Record of Iowa Wesleyan University". Mount Pleasant News-Journal. 1917. Retrieved 24 January 2014.
  3. In October 2011, the Board of Trustees voted to apply for membership in the NCAA Division III by January 15, 2012. With its application to the NCAA, Iowa Wesleyan has pursued admission to the SLIAC.
  4. "Athletic Quick Facts". Iowa Wesleyan College. Retrieved February 2, 2013.

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