Rocky Mountain College traces its history to the 1878 founding of the Montana Collegiate Institute in Deer Lodge, Montana. Renamed the College of Montana, that institution closed in 1916, and in 1923 its assets were incorporated into Intermountain Union College, located in Helena. A former president of the College of Montana, Lewis Eaton, founded the Billings Polytechnic Institute (today's RMC campus) in 1908 as the first postsecondary institution in Billings. RMC remains on Poly Drive, which leads to campus from downtown Billings. Intermountain Union relocated to the Billings Polytechnic campus after its Helena buildings were destroyed by a series of earthquakes in October and November, 1935. IUC merged with BPI in 1947, when students named their own school to create today's Rocky Mountain College. Since the merger of Intermountain Union College and Billings Polytechnic Institute in 1947, Rocky Mountain College has had the following presidents as leaders:
William D. Copeland, 1947 – 1951
Herbert W Hines, 1951 - 1958
Philip M. Widenhouse, 1958 - 1966
Lawrence F. Small, 1966 – 1975
Bruce T. Alton, 1975 – 1986
James J. Rittenkamp, Jr., 1986 – 1987
Arthur H. DeRosier, Jr., 1987 – 2002
Thomas R. Oates, 2002 – 2005
Michael R. Mace, 2005 – 2012
Robert Wilmouth, 2012 - Current
Rocky Mountain College is accredited through the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities and the Office of Public Instruction for the State of Montana for the preparation of elementary and secondary teachers. The Accreditation Review Commission on Education accredits the physician assistant program for the Physician Assistant ARC-PA, while the Aeronautical Science major and Aviation Management major at Rocky Mountain College are both accredited by the Aviation Accreditation Board International (AABI).
Rocky Mountain teams, nicknamed athletically as the Battlin' Bears, are part of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Division I level, primarily competing in the Frontier Conference. Men's sports include basketball, cross country, football, golf, ski racing, soccer and track & field; while women's sports include basketball, cheerleading, cross country, golf, ski racing, soccer, track & field and volleyball.
In 2014, the Battlin' Bears men's basketball team won the Frontier Conference championship and three teammates were named to the NAIA All-America team. In 2009, the Battlin' Bears won a NAIA Division I National Championship, the school's first NAIA title.
The Battlin' Bears women's ski team, which competes in the USCSA (United States Collegiate Ski Association), won a national championship in 2014. The men's ski team won RMC's first national sports championship in 2005, and took national championships again in 2007 and 2011.