History of Graceland University
Graceland University is a nonsectarian institution of higher education open to students of all faiths that was founded in Lamoni, Iowa, in 1895 by the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, now Community of Christ. Graceland University continues its commitment to helping all students find their own path to success by providing a holistic liberal arts education that prepares students for contemporary careers and lifelong learning.
More than a century later, Graceland continues its commitment to providing a solid liberal arts education along with professional preparation to a diverse student population. Today, Graceland students represent more than 40 states and 35 countries and can choose from a variety of academic programs, and over 20 varsity sports.
Graceland began as a high school academy and a two-year college. In 1917 it became Iowa’s first accredited junior college. Graceland conferred its first bachelor’s degree in 1958 and became a four-year college in 1960.
Graceland College became Graceland University in 2000 and began offering a variety of master-level degrees. It now offers multiple master’s degrees, a doctor of nursing practice, and will begin offering a doctor of physical therapy in January of 2024.
Graceland granted its first bachelor’s degree in nursing in 1969. Graceland’s School of Nursing (SON) is located on the Independence, Missouri campus (founded in 1969) where students can earn undergraduate and graduate degrees in nursing and education, including a Doctor of Nursing Practice. The Graceland SON was among the first in the nation, in 1987, to offer accredited distance education programs.
Today, the Edmund J. Gleazer School of Education provides innovative undergraduate degrees, on-site from both the Lamoni and Independence campuses, which lead to nationally accredited teacher licensure in the state where the student plans to teach.
Graceland’s C.H. Sandage School of Business is home to the Sandage Center for the Study of Free Enterprise and Entrepreneurship and Graceland’s championship Enactus team, and offers undergraduate degrees in Accounting, Agricultural Business, Business Management, Finance, Marketing, Organizational Leadership, and Sport Management.
The Community of Christ Seminary at Graceland University was founded in 2002 and is based in Independence, MO, though all classes are administered online, with in-person focus sessions. Seminary students can receive a Master of Arts in Religion or a Master of Arts in Peace and Social Transformation.
In the fall of 2022, Graceland began offering a unique second major for all undergraduate students called Transformational Leadership. This unique approach to the liberal arts incorporates general education courses with annual life and leadership courses and strategic skills to prepare Graceland graduates with the skills that employers are seeking. Transformational Leadership is a first-of-its-kind program and gives all students a second major that quantifies marketable skills like communication, teamwork, and leadership.