Nebraska Wesleyan University

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Nebraska Wesleyan University
Old Main
Established 1887
Type Private
Religious affiliation
Endowment $35.7 million[2]
Location Lincoln, Nebraska, USA
Colors Brown & Gold
Athletics NAIAGPAC
Nickname Prairie Wolves

Nebraska Wesleyan University (NWU) is a private, coeducational university located in Lincoln, Nebraska, United States. It was founded in 1887 by Nebraska Methodists. As of 2007, it has 1,600 full-time students and 300 faculty and staff. The school teaches in the tradition of a liberal arts college education. Nebraska Wesleyan was ranked the #1 liberal arts college in Nebraska by U.S. News and World Report in 2002. In 2009, Forbes ranked it 84th of America's Best Colleges.[3] It remains affiliated with the United Methodist Church.


Chartered on January 20, 1887, Nebraska Wesleyan University had an initial enrollment of 96. The initial teaching and administrative staff at this time totaled eight, including the chancellor.

In September 1887, the cornerstone was laid for Old Main, the defining building of the campus. Still with no stairways, windows, or flooring on some floors, classes began in September 1888. The first graduating class was four women in 1890. The second graduating class, in 1891, was made up of four men. Nebraska Wesleyan received accreditation by the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools in 1914.

The school is located in the former town of University Place, Nebraska. Today, it is part of Lincoln, Nebraska; the surrounding neighborhood is a historic residential and shopping area of Lincoln.

Early on, Nebraska Wesleyan was a college of liberal arts; schools of art, business and education; a music conservatory; an academy (high school) also comprising an elementary school and kindergarten. The high school was discontinued in 1931, and the primary schools in 1941 (grade school) and 1942 (kindergarten). Nebraska Wesleyan offered a Master of Arts degree until 1937.

The University currently has 48 majors and 39 minors. It also offers graduate programs: a Master of Science in Nursing developed in 2000, a Master of Forensic Science degree first offered in 2001 and a Master of Arts in Historical Studies degree, whose first class graduated on May 19, 2007.

Nebraska Wesleyan has been associated with four emblems in its history, featuring the Sunflower (1894-1907), the Coyote (1907-1933), the Plainsman (1933-2000), and the Prairie Wolf (2000-present). The school colors of brown and gold are a tribute to the first emblem.

A fire on November 17, 2006, at the Phi Kappa Tau fraternity house killed 1 brother and sent 3 others to the hospital in critical condition. The Lincoln Police later cited 2 men and arrested 1 other on hazing charges as well as illegal possession of fireworks, although not in connection with this fire, resulting in suspension of the fraternity from campus for two to four years. Phi Kappa Tau has returned to Nebraska Wesleyan University in Fall 2011. [1]


Nebraska Wesleyan teams, nicknamed athletically as the Prairie Wolves, are part of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), primarily competing in the Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC). The Prairie Wolves also compete as an Independent of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III level. Men's sports include baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, soccer, tennis and track & field; while women's sports include basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, softball, tennis, track & field, and volleyball.

Nebraska Wesleyan University ranks 8th of all universities (4th within NCAA Division III) for students who have won All America awards. Nebraska Wesleyan University student athletes also rank third in Division III and fifth for all universities for NCAA Postgraduate Awards.

Notable alumni[edit]

Points of interest[edit]


  1. ^ NAICU – Member Directory
  2. ^ As of June 30, 2009. "U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2009 Endowment Market Value and Percentage Change in Endowment Market Value from FY 2008 to FY 2009" (PDF). 2009 NACUBO-Commonfund Study of Endowments. National Association of College and University Business Officers. Retrieved February 17, 2010. 
  3. ^ "America's Best Colleges". 
  4. ^ "Shawn Bouwens". Pro-Football-Reference.Com. Retrieved October 6, 2012. 
  5. ^ "Nebraska Governor Ralph Gilmour Brooks". National Governors Association. Retrieved October 6, 2012. 
  6. ^ "CURTIS, Carl Thomas, (1905 - 2000)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved October 6, 2012. 
  7. ^ "GRISWOLD, Dwight Palmer, (1893 - 1954)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved October 6, 2012. 
  8. ^ Korbelik, Jeff (2011-02-08). "NWU graduate enjoying TV, stage and music success". Lincoln Journal Star. Retrieved 2012-02-13. 
  9. ^ "John N. Norton". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved 17 October 2012. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°50′21″N 96°39′03″W / 40.83925°N 96.65095°W / 40.83925; -96.65095