William Jewell College

William Jewell College is a private liberal arts college in Liberty, Missouri. It was founded in 1849 by members of the Missouri Baptist Convention and endowed with $10,000 by William Jewell. It was associated with the Missouri Baptist Convention for over 150 years until its separation in 2003 and is now an independent institution. The college enrolls under 800 students and is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.[2]

William Jewell College
MottoDeo Fisus Labora (Latin)
Motto in English
Trust in God, Work
TypePrivate, liberal arts college
PresidentElizabeth MacLeod Walls
Students787 (Spring 2019)[1]
Location, ,
United States
ColorsBlack and Red
AthleticsNCAA Division II - GLVC



The college is named after Dr. William Jewell, who in 1849 donated $10,000 to start a school. Jewell, who was from Columbia, Missouri, had wanted the school built in Boonville, Missouri. However, Liberty resident Alexander William Doniphan argued that donated undeveloped land in Liberty would be more valuable than the proposed developed land in Boonville, and Liberty was eventually chosen. Judge James Turner Vance Thompson donated the hilltop land on which the campus sits. In the American Civil War during the Battle of Liberty, the main building on campus, Jewell Hall, was used as a hospital, infirmary, and stables for the United States Army. Union troops were buried on the campus. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.[3] The Mt. Memorial Cemetery, listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2012, is located on the campus grounds.[4]

Gano Chapel

In 1926, the John Gano chapel was built, based on a donation from Gano's great-granddaughter Elizabeth Price, who lived in Kansas City. Price gave the money for the chapel with provisions that the chapel be named for Gano and that it hang a painting of Gano baptizing George Washington in the Potomac River during the American Revolutionary War. The college says the painting is one of the school's most popular tourist destinations and takes no stance on whether the baptism of Washington (who was Episcopalian) actually took place. The story is rejected by many historians who question whether Gano was even stationed with Washington and note there is nothing in his Gano's personal correspondence about the event. The baptism by "Elder (Reverend) John Gano" is documented in the Washington Family Bible, located at Mount Vernon. This has been discovered by Reverend Bloyd, Bel Air, MD, Baptist Church, who started the Bible entry has even identified where on the Potomac River, where the baptism took place. More Rev. John Gano historical relics are also housed at the First Baptist Church, in NY City, which was founded by Rev. John Gano, where the Baptist church service is still conducted the same way it was done when Rev. John Gano started the church in the 1700s.[5][6]

Other Gano artifacts in the chapel include a painting depicting Gano leading the troops in a prayer of Thanksgiving in 1783 at the conclusion of the Revolutionary war and a sword that Washington was said to have given Gano (which in turn had been given to Washington by Gilbert du Motier, marquis de La Fayette).

Harriman-Jewell Series

The Harriman-Jewell Series, a performing arts series, was founded in 1965 by Department of English Professors Dean Dunham and Richard Harriman. Harriman was especially instrumental in bringing Luciano Pavarotti to campus, where the tenor made his international solo recital debut as part of the Series in 1973. Today, the Series continues to bring world-class music, dance and theatre events to Kansas City. The 2014–2015 season marked the Series' 50th anniversary.

Jewell students receive free tickets to Harriman-Jewell Series events, further shaping their liberal arts experience. Events are primarily held in downtown Kansas City at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts and the Folly Theater.[7]

Pryor Learning Commons

In August 2013, William Jewell College opened Pryor Learning Commons, a 26,000 square-foot intellectual center where students gather, learn, and create 24 hours a day. The three-story hub of campus allows for students to work as mature, independent learners, immersing and engaging in their educational experience.

Equipped with innovation studios, recording and editing suites, a 3D printer, 80" touchscreens, configurable white board tables, AirMedia, live Twitter wall, coffee shop, and more, the fully donor-funded $15 million Pryor Learning Commons lends itself to the learning styles of today's students.[8]

Sexual assault allegations

In May of 2019 the college was named in a lawsuit filed by a former student who was raped in Browning Hall in 2017 by another student, a member of the college’s football team. The Clay County prosecutor did not pursue the matter with criminal charges.[9] The victim alleges that after the reporting of the incident she continued to be harassed by the perpetrator and members of the football team. While the college does not deny that the rape occurred, [10] the college’s response in June of 2019 denied any responsibility and petitioned the court to dismiss the lawsuit.[11]


The college offers more than 40 academic majors and 10 pre-professional programs.[12]

William Jewell College also provides an Oxbridge Honors Program.[13] Oxbridge majors take tutorials in their major, study abroad in Oxford, and take comprehensive exams during their senior year. The college has also sent many students and professors to the University of Evansville's satellite campus at Harlaxton Manor. The college offers a Journey Grant program in which students can qualify for a minimum $2,000 grant to use their junior year of school to help create an educational experience like study abroad, leadership and service projects, internships, research, business projects, etc.[14]

Since 2013, the College claimed one Fulbright Scholar, two Goldwater Scholars, one Rhodes Global Scholar international finalist, two Truman Scholar finalists, one Rotary International Scholarship and nine Teach For America corps members.[15]

The Department of Education started Jewell's first graduate program in 2014. Exclusively for practicing teachers, the Master of Science of Education in Differentiated Instruction helps teachers increase the effectiveness of their practice as they utilize their own classrooms and students. The program is approved by the Higher Learning Commission and is on the List of Schools Approved for Degree or Certification Earning Programs by the Cooperating School Districts of Greater Kansas City.[16]


William Jewell has enjoyed a number of accolades, including:

  • U.S. News & World Report ranked William Jewell No. 155 among the country's top tier of national liberal arts colleges for best academic value in its 2015 edition of “America’s Best Colleges.”[17]
  • Jewell was named by The Princeton Review as one of "The Best 379 Colleges" in its 2015 edition. Only about 15 percent of four-year colleges in the U.S. appear in the student survey-based rankings.[18]
  • Forbes Magazine listed Jewell among "America’s Best Colleges" in its 2014 report. Jewell was ranked in the number 375 slot overall out of 650 public and private undergraduate institutions nationwide.[19]
  • The college was named to Washington Monthly's "Colleges that Contribute to the Public Good" ranking in 2014. Jewell claimed the No. 89 spot. In the category of community service participation, Jewell placed No. 21 nationally. Jewell additionally claimed the No. 38 spot for service-oriented staff, courses and financial aid.[20]

Journey Grants

William Jewell's unique Journey Grants program allows some students the opportunity to compete for funding for a self-designed, life-enriching experience anywhere in the world. Customized to fit students’ unique passions, Journey Grants help fund research projects, study-away experiences, entrepreneurial opportunities, internships, service projects, civic engagement initiatives and more. Past Journey Grant projects include:[21]

  • Shadowing and interviewing healthcare and insurance professionals in the Netherlands and the U.S. to compare the countries’ healthcare systems
  • Observing medical research on tissue and heart valves at Children's Mercy animal research lab in Baltimore, Md.
  • Studying in Milan, Italy, to become fully immersed in the heart of opera
  • Volunteering with nurses at an Oklahoma summer camp to serve children of prisoners to help end the cycle of incarceration
  • Participating in the Europe Exploration Semester at Sea program, traveling on a ship to seven countries in 26 days
  • Meeting with executives in retail, finance, technology, food and sports industries in New York City to complement classroom entrepreneurial studies
  • Attending the Iraqi Education Institute in Dohuk, Iraq, to help educate and empower children and adults in war-torn areas
  • Traveling throughout South Africa studying peace-building strategies, conflict resolution and history
  • Working alongside families in Honduras to incorporate healthy, sustainable changes within their village


The William Jewell Cardinals are the official athletic teams of the college. The college is a member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) at the Division II level and competes in the Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC).[22][23] Prior to its transition to the NCAA Division II, the college competed in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) as a member of the Heart of America Conference.[23][24]

Varsity sports

Greek life



Notable alumni


  1. https://www.bizjournals.com/kansascity/subscriber-only/2017/12/01/largest-colleges-and-universities-in-kc.html
  2. Higher Learning Commission (June 27, 2019). "Public Disclosure:William Jewell College status changed from Accredited–Probation to Accredited"" (PDF). Retrieved July 11, 2019.
  3. "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  4. "National Register of Historic Places Listings". Weekly List of Actions Taken on Properties: 4/23/12 through 4/27/12. National Park Service. 2012-05-04.
  5. "Rupert Hughes' rebuttal of the Gano baptism legend in Time magazine". September 26, 1932. Retrieved 2009-11-12.
  6. "Franklin Steiner's refutation of the Gano baptism legend". Retrieved 2009-11-12.
  7. "Harriman-Jewell Series – Home". hjseries.org.
  8. "PLC: Welcome". jewell.edu.
  9. By. "A football player raped her. She blames William Jewell College for not preventing it". kansascity. Retrieved 2019-06-11.
  10. "William Jewell College wants to drop rape lawsuit, says schools don't have duty to protect students from crimes".
  11. Bergan, Shain (June 7, 2019). "William Jewell College wants to drop rape lawsuit, says schools don't have duty to protect students from crimes". KCTV Kansas City. Retrieved 10 June 2019.
  12. "Majors & Minors". jewell.edu.
  13. http://jewell.edu/oxbridge/ Oxbridge Honors Program
  14. "Journey Grants: Welcome". jewell.edu.
  15. https://www.jewell.edu/about/outcomes. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  16. "Department of Education: M.S.Ed". jewell.edu.
  17. "U.S. News & World Report ranks Jewell among "America's Best Colleges"". jewell.edu.
  18. "William Jewell makes Princeton Review's annual best colleges guidebook". jewell.edu.
  19. "Forbes selects William Jewell among "America's Best"". jewell.edu.
  20. "Jewell named top service school by Washington Monthly". jewell.edu.
  21. "Journey Grants: Welcome". jewell.edu.
  22. "New members for 2012–13 could include Association's first Canadian school". NCAA. July 13, 2012. Retrieved August 1, 2012.
  23. "Great Lakes Valley Conference Admits New Member". GLVC. October 8, 2009. Retrieved August 12, 2011.
  24. "William Jewell Advances to Year Three of NCAA Division II Membership Transition Process". William Jewell College. July 11, 2011. Retrieved August 12, 2011.
  25. "William Jewell's Cissell Wins National Coach of the Year". Nscaa.com. 2006-10-05. Retrieved 2010-01-31.
  26. Russ Cline
  27. Jim Davis (actor)
  28. "Connie Dover biography".

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