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William Jewell College

William Jewell College is a private, four-year liberal arts college of 1,100 undergraduate students located in Liberty, Missouri, U.S.


500 College Hill


Total Undergrad enrollment
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Additional Information

College Type
Religious Affiliation
Campus Housing
Mission Statement
William Jewell College promises students an outstanding liberal arts education that cultivates leadership, service, and spiritual growth within a community inspired by Christian ideals and committed to open, rigorous intellectual pursuits.
Black Cardinal
Great Lakes Valley

College History


The college is named after Dr. William Jewell, who in 1849 donated $10,000 to start a school. Jewell, who was from Columbia, Missouri, had wanted the school built in Boonville, Missouri. However, Liberty resident Alexander William Doniphan argued that donated undeveloped land in Liberty would be more valuable than the proposed developed land in Boonville, and Liberty was eventually chosen. Judge J.T.V. Thompson donated the hilltop land on which the campus sits. In the American Civil War during the Battle of Liberty, the main building on campus, Jewell Hall, was used as a hospital, infirmary, and stables for the United States Army. Union troops were buried on the campus. After the war, on February 13, 1866, two sons of co-founder and Baptist minister, Robert S. James, Jesse and Frank James, along with Cole and Jim Younger staged the first peace-time, daylight bank robbery in the United States at the Clay County Savings Association four blocks west of the campus, thus beginning the notorious history of what newspapers dubbed the James-Younger gang. George C. Wymore, a 17-year old student of the college, who was across the street from the bank was shot to death in the cross-fire as the gang fled with $60,000 in currency and negotiable instruments. Gano Chapel Gano Chapel on Jewell's Quad In 1926, the John Gano chapel was built, based on a donation from Gano's great-granddaughter Elizabeth Price, who lived in Kansas City. Price gave the money for the chapel with provisions that the chapel be named for Gano and that it hang a painting of Gano baptizing George Washington in the Potomac River during the American Revolutionary War. The college says the painting is one of the school's most popular tourist destinations and takes no stance on whether the baptism of Washington (who was Episcopalian) actually took place. The story is rejected by many historians who question whether Gano was even stationed with Washington and note there is nothing in his Gano's personal correspondence about the event. Other Gano artifacts in the chapel include a painting depicting Gano leading the troops in a prayer of Thanksgiving in 1783 at the conclusion of the Revolutionary war and a sword that Washington was said to have given Gano (which in turn had been given to Washington by Gilbert du Motier, marquis de La Fayette). Recent history Curry Library and Yates-Gill College Union on Jewell's Quad According to the school's website, Luciano Pavarotti made his international recital debut at the campus in 1973. On May 4, 2003, at the height of a debate over whether the Missouri Baptist Convention should continue to fund the school due to a dispute concerning evolution and homosexuality, an F2 tornado that was part of the May 2003 tornado outbreak sequence hit the campus damaging several buildings, ripping roofs off dormitories, and separating the landmark clock tower from the chapel. Although the claim for physical damage to the campus amounted to $7.4 million, nobody at the school was killed or injured. Despite this disaster, the Baptist Convention followed through on its threat and pulled the financing. Nonetheless, classes resumed the next fall with the school relying on other private sources. Since the separation from the Missouri Baptists, enrollment and the financial health of William Jewell College has steadily decreased.

College Specialty


William Jewell College promises students an outstanding liberal arts education that cultivates leadership, service, and spiritual growth within a community inspired by Christian ideals and committed to open, rigorous intellectual pursuits.



Daniel Belcher, Grammy-winning operatic baritone Edwin Charles Boulton (A.B., 1950), a Bishop of the United Methodist Church Nancy Boyda, deputy assistant secretary of defense for manpower and personnel; former Democratic congresswoman from Kansas, 2007�2009 Hilary A. Bush, (BA 1926) Missouri lieutenant governor Robin Carnahan, Missouri Secretary of State, 2005� Tom Carnahan, (BA 1991), founder of Wind Capital Group, builder of wind farms Tom Carnegie, (AB 1942), longtime voice of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Indianapolis 500 car race as track announcer from 1946 to 2006. Susan Chambers, executive vice president of Wal-Mart Stores, Fortune's "50 Most Powerful Women in Business" in 2010 and 2011 Kelly Howerton (BA, 2003), Track & Field, Pole Vault. 5 Time All-American and 2001 National Champion. 2001 Athlete of the Year. 2013 Athletic Hall of Fame Inductee. Chris Cissell (A.B., 1994), Current head coach of women's soccer at University of Missouri Kansas City. Former head coach of men's soccer & women's soccer at William Jewell College. NSCAA/adidas NAIA Men's National Coach of the Year in 2006. Russ Cline, co-founder of Eagle Pro Box Lacrosse League (now called National Lacrosse League), owner of Philadelphia Wings Earl Thomas Coleman, Republican congressman from Missouri, 1977�1993 Jim Davis, actor, portrayed Jock Ewing on "Dallas" TV series Connie Dover, Celtic and American music folk singer, songwriter Homer Drew, head basketball coach at Valparaiso University Zel Fischer, Missouri Supreme Court Judge Clif Forbis, world renowned operatic tenor, chair of voice at Southern Methodist University Richard Harriman, co-founder of the Harriman-Jewell Performing Arts Series, 1932-2010 Larry Holley, former basketball coach at Central Methodist University and Northwest Missouri State and current head coach at William Jewell College. James J. Jenkins American psychologist Edward F. Leonard, (A.B., 1979), President, Bethany College (Kansas) Gatewood Lincoln, 19th and 22nd Governor of American Samoa (only attended, did not graduate) Donald Marolf, (1987), string theorist Don Page (physicist), astrophysicist, and protege of Stephen Hawking David Ring, motivational speaker with cerebral palsy Roy Sanders, former professional baseball player Bill Snyder (A.B., 1962), head American football coach for Kansas State University, 1989�2005; 2009� Terry Teachout, biographer, playwright, opera librettist, drama critic for the Wall Street Journal, and critic-at-large of Commentary Diane E. H. Webber, Rear Admiral in the United States Navy