In the 19th century, Methodist missionaries called “circuit riders” traveled the length and breadth of the frontier establishing churches in the settler communities, and it is out of that tradition the Southwestern College was born. Founded in 1885, Southwestern College – so named because it served the Southwest Kansas Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church – started with just 3 students, but over time gained a strong regional reputation for quality, affordability, and innovation (for instance, as an early adopter of issuing laptops to each student). Today, Southwestern is a proven leader in education, professional studies, and community service.
Academic ProgramsThough Southwestern is rooted in the traditional liberal arts, the college has become better known in recent years for its professional programs and adult education. A 12:1 student:faculty ratio provides a high degree of service and support to students, helping to increase retention and graduation rates, while small classes increase the feeling of community and cooperation. The university has become well-known for its emphasis on leadership, service, and environmental sustainability, in part due to its Methodist values of community engagement and responsible servant leadership. Several successful pre-professional programs, including pre-law, pre-med, and pre-ministerial, are also popular with students.
Since 1994, when Southwestern opened their Professional Studies Center in downtown Winfield, the college has gained a great deal of recognition for its programs for working adults. In addition to four extension campuses (two on military bases), Southwestern has developed a highly-ranked slate of fully-online degree programs in everything from accounting and business to education and nursing. Five-week terms and flexible scheduling make Southwestern’s online programs attractive to working adults throughout Kansas, and the college has been acclaimed for their service to military personnel and veterans.
Student LifeNicknamed the Moundbuilders (in honor of the indigenous people of the Midwest), Southwestern’s students open every academic year since 1927 by building a mound of stones. That tradition demonstrates the Southwestern ideal of a strong, interconnected, and cooperative community. Students take part in many on-campus events and activities, along with two dozen honor societies, clubs, and organizations, including musical groups and intramural sports. Students are also highly involved in service learning and community engagement activities through programs like Discipleship Southwestern and Leadership Southwestern, which organize missions trips, service projects, and personal and intellectual growth activities.
The Moundbuilders varsity athletic teams take part in the NAIA, competing in basketball, track & field, golf, and other sports. The Moundbuilders have a long-standing athletic tradition in the Jinx, a unique good-luck mascot consisting of a black cat. First erected after a monumental football win against their rivals Fairmount College (now Wichita State University), the Jinx is now a trusted part of Southwestern’s athletic arsenal.