The Belleville News-Democrat, bnd.com, has an question and answer section in it online publication.
A recent question referenced Columbia College, and the answer includes some very interesting history. Here is the answer and question, reprinted with permission from bnd.com:
Q. Every time I turn on the TV, I see ads for various colleges. Are these schools legit or just another way to make a buck? For example, Columbia College, Anthem College, DeVry University, etc.
— R.A., of Belleville
A. Looks like you need an education on college history.
Columbia College would be particularly unhappy to hear you questioning its legitimacy. A private liberal arts school, it was founded as Christian Female College in 1851 in Columbia, Mo.
Back then, a few dozen young women would start the day with a walk at 6 a.m. followed by worship, classes, a daily composition and a Bible lecture each night. In 1970, the school changed its name and switched from a two-year, all-female college to a four-year coed school.
Now, the school is home to more than 4,000 students at its main campus as well as 25,000 more taking courses at 33 campuses around the country and online. If that’s not legit enough for you, McKendree fans may remember the two NAIA volleyball titles that the Columbia Cougars won in 1998 and 1999 with an 89-0 record. It’s also the alma mater of famed singer-actress Jane Froman, whose rendition of the Lord’s Prayer can be heard on KMOX.
Other schools don’t have quite that distinguished background, but seem no less legit. Anthem College Online, for example, is a part of the Anthem Education Group, which was founded in 1965 as the Electronic Institute of Arizona. It boasts two dozen campus around the country, including the old Allied College in St. Louis, which it acquired in 2003.
Similarly, DeVry University was founded in 1931 as DeForest Training School and now has more than 80,000 undergrad and grad students at more than 90 campuses. Of course, potential students should investigate any school before signing on the dotted line.