Stewart Memorial Library

Western Leander Clark College, A Brief History

Western College was originally located in a small community between Ely and Shueyville.

Founded in 1857, it was the first college west of the Mississippi built by the United Brethren in Christ, hence the name Western College.  The college was co-educational from the start.
The land around the college was bought by a group of immigrants that shared a different religion and set of values than the founders of the school. Without community support the college encountered financial difficulties. In 1881 the college moved to Toledo IA, where the residents pledged $20,000 in support.
Financial difficulties continued. In 1906 the college was renamed after a local benefactor, Leander Clark. Despite this the financial burden became too much and the college went bankrupt. In 1919 Western, Leander Clark merged with Coe College bringing with it a $200,000 endowment, alumni, faculty, and students.
If you would like to learn more about Western College a history is available for check-out, "Western, Leander-Clark College, 1856-1911," by Henry W. Ward, at the Stewart Memorial Library on Coe Campus. You may also visit the archives to view Western, Leander Clark College's collection containing source material from the college's administration.