William Jewel College is a private liberal arts college in Liberty, Missouri. Founded in 1849, William Jewell began its existence as a Baptist college and the first men’s college west of the Mississippi. One of the founders, Robert S. James, was the father of both Jesse James and Frank James. The school broke with the church over questions of evolution and homosexuality to become independent in 2003.
Classes at William Jewell are intense, academically rigorous, and highly personalized. The student-faculty ratio is 11:1, and the average class size is only 16. There are about 1,200 students studying full-time at the college.
William Jewell offers 60 majors and 9 pre-professional programs. All students begin studying the same set of subjects, then diversify into their major areas of study in the later years of the program. It is an intensely academic and high-performing atmosphere—William Jewell is known for the high number of Fulbright Scholars, Rhodes Scholars, Truman Scholars, and other award-winning scholars who come from their student body.
The core curriculum at William Jewell, Critical Thought and Inquiry, is organized in three levels. The first level transitions students from high school learning to college with classes in communication, math, and a humanities-based course entitled The Responsible Self. The second level offers a wide range of classes across four topic areas: Science, Technology, and the Human Experience; Culture and Traditions; The Sacred and The Secular; and Power and Justice. The third and capstone level synthesizes the material from the previous level and applies it to questions of ethical and responsible citizenship in the face of critical problems facing contemporary society.
Students at William Jewell are also expected to undergo at least three active learning experiences in the areas of disciplinary scholarship, active engagement, and reflective citizenship. These experiences might include internships, semesters spent studying abroad, or major research projects.
Oxbridge Honors Program
The Oxbridge Honors Program is one of the best-known programs at the college. Students in the Oxbridge Honors Program work independently on personalized syllabi that they discuss with professors on a weekly basis. Candidates for the program need to have a minimum ACT score of 28 or SAT score of 1260 and a 3.75 grade point average (GPA). 20 students a year are admitted to the Oxbridge program. Each of them receives a generous scholarship (in 2010 it was $11,500 annually, although this is subject to change). A large proportion of seniors study abroad in Cambridge or Oxford and take comprehensive British exams.
Pryor Leadership Program
The Pryor Leadership Program combines experience-based opportunities with classroom instruction through such activities as Outward Bound. First-year students often participate in the Emerging Leaders Conferences. Some of these students go on to major in Non-Profit Leadership, a unique program at William Jewell.
The Charles F. Curry Library contains more than a quarter-million print volumes. It belongs to MOBIUS, a state-wide computerized library system that brings over fifty academic and public libraries together in a shared borrowing system. This brings several million resources within reach of William Jewell students for research and pleasure reading. Curry Library is home to the William E. Partee Center for Baptist Historical Studies as well as several exclusive collections of children’s literature, poetry, and limited and first editions. The library also subscribes to Academic Search Premier, a database with full text for over 4,700 academic journals.
Other study abroad opportunities exist for William Jewell students in South Africa, Morocco, Argentina, Australia, Austria, China, Czech Republic, Ecuador, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Ireland, India, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Mexico, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain, and Thailand. There is also a Semester at Sea program for prospective sailors among the student body.
Most Popular Fields of Study
Admissions to William Jewell are very competitive. Applicants are expected to enter college with at least 15 college preparatory academic units, including 4 units of English, 3 units of math, 3 units of science (not including general science), 3 units of social studies, and 2 units of foreign language. About 63% of applicants are admitted.
In addition to the usual range of federal and state financial aid available to William Jewell students, the college administrates a large number of their own need- and merit-based scholarships. The college has an unusually high number of athletic scholarships for its student population, and the majority of students participating in intervarsity athletics receive a scholarship of some kind.
William Jewell also offers a unique Journey Grant Program for juniors. Students can qualify for up to $2,000 to use for service or leadership projects, internships, independent research, or studying abroad.
Student Financial Aid Details
Clubs and Organizations
There is a wide variety of student clubs and organizations, including faith organizations, music clubs, service organizations, social groups, and professional organizations. The student newspaper, Hilltop Monitor, is published weekly. Clubs, organizations, and publications are overseen by the Student Government Association (SGA), which also acts as a liaison between the student body and the administration.
First-year students are required to live on campus, and about 85% of all students in the upper three years live on campus as well. All of the residence halls provide living-learning communities. There are seven residence halls on campus. First-year females live in Ely Hall and Melrose Hall. First-year males live in Eaton Hall. The residences for second, third, and fourth-year students are co-educational by floor. All residences come equipped with beds, dressers, chairs, and desks. Each hall has a kitchen, laundry facilities, vending machines, and lounges with televisions. Some of the upper-class halls have private rooms.
There are three active fraternities at William Jewell: Kappa Alpha Order, Alpha Delta Chapter; Lambda Chi Alpha, Epsilon-Nu Zeta Chapter; and Phi Gamma Delta, Zeta Phi Chapter. There are also four sororities: Alpha Detla Pi, Gamma Nu Chapter; Alpha Gamma Delta, Epsilon Epsilon Chapter; Delta Zeta, Zeta Rho Chapter; and Zeta Tau Alpha, Delta Chi Chapter. Sororities are grouped together in a single complex, while the four fraternities all have their own houses.
There is one main dining hall at William Jewell.There are also two coffee shops on campus, The Perch, on the top floor of the student union; and The Cage, on the bottom floor of the student union.
Student Enrollment Demographics
Student Graduation Demographics
The athletic department at William Jewell is known as the Cardinals. The Cardinals have traditionally competed in the NAIA, but during the 2011-2012 school year will be transitioning to the NCAA Division II and the Great Lakes Valley Conference. The school competes in varsity, intercollegiate sports in baseball, men’s basketball, women’s basketball, men’s cross country, women’s cross country, football, men’s golf, women’s golf, men’s soccer, women’s soccer, softball, swimming, men’s tennis, women’s tennis, men’s track and field, women’s track and field, and volleyball.
William Jewell has many distinguished alumni for a school of its size. They include:
• Tom Carnahan, class of ’91, is the founder of Wind Capital Group.
• Homer Drew is the head basketball coach at Valparaiso University.
• Tom Carnegie was the voice of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for 60 years.
• Terry Teachout is the drama critic for the Wall Street Journal.
• Jason Pyrah is an Olympic distance runner
• Don Page is an astrophysicist and student of Stephen Hawking.
• Daniel Belcher is an opera singer and Grammy award winner.
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Admissions Frequently Asked Questions. William Jewell College. Web. 9 May 2011.
Fiske, Edward B. Fiske Guide to Colleges 2011. Chicago: Sourcebooks, 2010. Print.
Pope, Loren. Looking Beyond the Ivy League: Finding the College That’s Right for You. New York: Penguin. 2007. Print.
Residence Life Hall Descriptions. William Jewell College. Web. 9 May 2011.
Elisabeth Bailey is a freelance writer and editor with particular interests in academics, food,and sustainability . She is also the author of A Taste of the Maritimes: Local, Seasonal Recipes the Whole Year Round and writes regularly for Canadian Farmers’ Almanac and the National Wildlife Federation. Elisabeth and her family live and enjoy great local food in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.