Monmouth College is a four-year coeducational private liberal arts college located in Monmouth, Illinois, United States. Monmouth is a selective, exclusively undergraduate four-year institution that enrolls approximately 1,300 students from 35 countries, students choose courses from 35 major programs,30 minors and 16 pre-professional programs in a core curriculum that features strong majors and an integrative learning course sequence. Monmouth College was founded on April 18,1853, by the Second Presbytery of Illinois, the college celebrates this date as Scholars Day, cancelling classes for a day of celebration and an honors convocation. Founded as Monmouth Academy, the school became Monmouth College after receiving a charter from the legislature on September 3,1856. The college remains affiliated with the Presbyterian Church and is a member of the Associated Colleges of the Midwest, the colleges motto Lux appears on its seal. The first president, David Wallace built two churches in Massachusetts before assuming the Monmouth presidency. Founded on the eve of the American Civil War, the college faced a serious crisis. The colleges campus was still under construction while virtually the entire student body left for military service. Two hundred and thirty-two students, faculty members, and trustees served in the Civil War, a quarter of them were wounded and one in eight was killed. Two were awarded the Medal of Honor, and Abner C, harding, a college trustee who raised a regiment composed largely of MC students, was commissioned a brigadier general for his leadership in the defense of Fort Donelson in 1863. President Wallace, believing that the college must educate, whether there be peace or war, Monmouth was founded as a coeducational college where women and men had equal access to courses. Three years later, another well-known women’s fraternity, Kappa Kappa Gamma, was founded at Monmouth, Monmouth College had gained national stature by 1911 as shown by its US government classification where 59 colleges and universities ranked higher and 244 ranked lower. Through an arrangement with the Navy Department, the college survived by becoming a U. S. Naval Flight Preparatory School, courses were taught by Monmouth’s liberal arts faculty. The Navy later adopted portions of Monmouths curriculum for training programs nationwide, more than 2,000 Navy men went through Monmouth College, a number of whom would re-enroll at the college after the war funded by the G. I. Monmouth’s chemistry department gained national prominence in the 1950s when longtime professor William S. Haldeman was recognized with an award by the American Chemical Society. Beginning in the 1960s, a secularization movement changed the nature of the college, the college did otherwise maintain its covenant relationship with the Church. During the Vietnam War, the military contributed to increases in college attendance throughout the US. Attendance at the college increased but then fell when the draft ended in the 1970s causing financial strain not unlike the losing of students to the Civil War had done in the distant past
Construction of Wallace Hall, Monmouth College, 1908
Housing about a half million items, the Hewes Library also contains ancient antiquities and thousands of Native American artifacts.
Procured by the senior class of 1903 as its graduation gift to the institution, Monmouth College’s Civil War-era cannon spent 50 years at the bottom of a creek after having been stolen by the rival junior class. Today the restored weapon, which is technically an artillery rifle, resides in the basement of the Huff Athletic building. It was once used to signal Monmouth College touchdowns in the annual Homecoming football game.