It’s 113 years old?but it’s a whole new SC.
Southwestern College is made up of a hilly, 82-acre campus in Winfield, Kansas; a downtown Winfield professional studiesrncenter, and two professional studies centers in Wichita, Kansas.
The main campus has undergone more than $15 million worth of improvements during the 1990s. From completely new buildings (the Beech Science Center and Mabee Laboratory Complex) to updating and remodeling of beloved historic sites (Stewart Field House), the improvements have led to a campus that is comfortable, climate controlled, and handicap accessible.
Southwestern College, the Premier College of Kansas, has its roots in the traditions of the Methodist circuit riders, whose love of education helped shape the educational landscape of the19th century.
Founded in 1885 by the Southwest Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, the college graduated its first class of three students in June 3, 1889. The city of Winfield contributed resources for the original campus. In 1909 its name was changed from Southwest Kansas Conference College to Southwestern College, and in 1917 the school earned accreditation by the North Central Association of Schools and Colleges.
A major turning point in the life of the school occurred April 16, 1950, when Richardson Hall (the main administration building) burned. Only the stone shell and the four symbolic pillars facing the Walnut Valley were left standing. At the time the college had only three buildings (Richardson, Stewart Field House, and North Hall), and North Hall had been condemned and was in the process of being torn down.
With facilities so completely destroyed, survival of the college was very much in doubt. But in June of that year, the Central Kansas Conference of the United Methodist Church voted to continue the college and assured its future through “The Million Dollar Building Program.”
Richardson Hall was rebuilt and christened Christy Administration Building, and a half-century later continues to look out over the Walnut Valley as the college’s main administration building with its four pillars symbolizing knowledge, hope, courage, and freedom – the symbolic heart of Southwestern College.
Today the liberal arts tradition that is the foundation of a Southwestern College education is seen not only in the on-campus programs, but also in the degree completion courses offered in three off-campus sites in Winfield and Wichita.
A unique integrative studies program and laptop learning set Southwestern College apart in higher education.
At Southwestern College, integrative studies have replaced the general studies core courses found in most colleges. This series of courses stresses “putting the world together” by developing cross-disciplinary skills in writing, research, communication, and creativity. Courses often are team-taught by professors from different fields, encouraging synthesis of knowledge.
Students are aided in their intellectual quests (and in career development) by Southwestern’s laptop learning program. Each incoming freshman is issued an IBM ThinkPad, which is replaced for the most up-to-date model every two years. Not only are the laptops used in class, but professors use them to communicate with students during off-class hours; on-line discussions give depth to in-class learning; and research and writing are facilitated by the use of compatible hardware and software throughout campus.
All of this provides support for 37 main campus and 10 professional studies undergraduate majors, 20 minors, and teacher certification in 17 areas, plus two graduate programs.