By Erika Thomas, director, Columbia College-St. Louis

Columbia College was established in 1851 to meet a specific need and has been filling in the blanks ever since. When the college was founded, women were not permitted to attend the University of Missouri, which was an all-male school at the time. The founders of Columbia College saw the need for young women who wanted to go to college and they established what was then known as Christian Female College. This in and of itself would be a terrific legacy, but in reality, it was just the beginning of a remarkable journey that continues to this day.

The explosion of colleges and universities didn’t really take off until the mid to late 1980s when an emphasis was placed on leveraging education to make a better living wage. Columbia College’s founders were so brilliant in their foresight that they positioned the school to adapt to an ever-changing landscape, and adapt we did.

Erika Thomas
Erika Thomas, director, Columbia College-St. Louis

In 1973, Columbia College established an Extended Studies Division to make our degree programs available across the nation. Columbia College was also among the first colleges to establish teaching locations on U.S. military bases; today, there are nearly 40 locations nationwide supporting both military and civilian communities.

From pandemic response to helping students see their potential and guiding them to success, Columbia College-St. Louis is the college’s longest-running location and has been meeting students where they are since we opened in 1973.

Each of you have made us better and have added to the depth and fabric of Columbia College’s long and storied history. Remember, no matter your challenge in achieving your academic goals, we are here to meet you where you are to provide the support and encouragement you need to be successful.