Monmouth College was founded by the Presbyterian Church and opened as Monmouth Academy in 1853. Situated on the American frontier in Monmouth, Illinois, the founders received widespread support from townsfolk of every sect who saw the value in having a strong educational institution in their new town.
The college has a strong military history that dates back to its very foundation, on the eve of the American Civil War. As soon as it opened, most of the college’s male staff and students left to fight for the Union. Despite diminished student numbers classes continued throughout the war. During World War Two the college’s future was threatened when large numbers of students enlisted, but an arrangement with the US Navy allowed Monmouth to become a Naval Flight Preparation School, and thus remain open.
Monmouth is a purely undergraduate college, awarding Bachelor of Arts degrees in arts, sciences, humanities, languages and more. 35 majors are offered in total, along with almost 40 minors. Pre-professional programmes are available in fields including actuarial science, architecture, law, physical therapy and seminary. The college provides an integrated liberal arts core curriculum.
The first fraternity for women, Pi Beta Phi, was founded at Monmouth College.
Monmouth College modified its relationship with the Presbyterian Church in the 1960s, secularising its trustees and taking on more business leaders. However, the college maintains a covenant relationship with the church.