The school was chartered on December 23, 1836, as the Georgia Female College, and opened its doors to students on January 7, 1839. The school was renamed Wesleyan Female College in 1843, while changing hands from the Methodist-Episcopal Church to the Church of the South. Later the college shortened to the present name Wesleyan College in 1917.
Wesleyan has the world's oldest alumnae association, begun in 1859. Seniors are inducted into the association during a candle lighting ceremony on Alumnae Weekend.
Wesleyan College is the birthplace of the first sororities: the Adelphean Society in 1851, now known as Alpha Delta Pi and the Philomathean Society in 1852, now known as Phi Mu. The two sororities together are referred to as the "Macon Magnolias". The school no longer has sororities (as of 1914), and instead uses a class system to assign all students with a class name.
Incoming first years are assigned a class based on the outgoing seniors of the previous school year. The classes are the Green Knights, the Purple Knights, the Red Pirates (formerly the Tri-K pirates until the late 20th century), and the Golden Hearts. Further, each of these classes is paired with another: the Green Knights and Purple Knights are sister classes, and the Golden Hearts and Red Pirates are sister classes. The incoming first year class of 2014 will be the Purple Knights.
Wesleyan College has an undergraduate student population of around 700. It has a student-faculty ratio of 8:1 and an average class size of 20 students. Students from more than 20 states and over 20 countries around the world attend the school each year. Wesleyan offers 35 majors, 29 minors, and pre-professional programs for its students. It is affiliated with the United Methodist Church.
Wesleyan College was named among the Best 361 colleges in 2007, 2008, and 2009 by Princeton Review. In 2009, Forbes ranked Wesleyan #15 on its list of best college buys.
Wesleyan College has a 200-acre (800,000 m²) campus dotted with revivalist Georgian style brick buildings. The campus features a 6.3 acre (25,000 m²) lake, Foster Lake, the Nancy Ellis Knox Equestrian Center, Porter Gymnasium, Anderson Cabin, Jones Hall, home of the Lane Center for Community Engagement and Service, and Matthews Athletic Complex. It also has five academic buildings, Tate Hall, Taylor Hall, Murphey Art Building, Porter Fine Arts Building, and the Munroe Science Center which opened in the fall of 2007. The campus also has 5 dormitories for students. Banks Hall and Wortham Hall house first year students. Persons Hall, Jones Hall and Hightower Hall house upperclasswomen. Corn North and South Apartments house juniors and seniors.
There are 4 Major Student Boards: CRU (Council on Religious Unity), CJA (Council on Judicial Affairs), CAB (Campus Activities Board), SRC (Student Recreation Council) which are represented as a part of SGA (Student Government Association). Wesleyan boasts the Nu Omega chapter of Alpha Kappa Psi, the professional business fraternity. It also has over 25 special interest clubs, academic honor societies including the Phi Kappa Phi, Beta Beta Beta and Omicron Delta Epsilon, musical groups, art clubs, service organizations, religious groups, and departmental leadership groups. It also three publications : The Veterropt (yearbook), The Wesleyan Word (newspaper), and the Visionary (creative arts magazine).
Wesleyan's athletes were Pioneers until becoming Wolves in fall 2013. They play in the NCAA Division III. The Wolves have 6 varsity sports: basketball, cross-country, soccer, softball, tennis, and volleyball, and the IHSA equestrian team. Wesleyan competes in the Great South Athletic Conference of NCAA Division III.
The school colors are deep purple and lavender.