Stephens College timeline

This timeline tracks major events in Stephens College's recent history, beginning October 1998 and focusing on Wendy Libby's influence on the campus.
Thursday, November 13, 2008 | 7:36 p.m. CST; updated 4:13 p.m. CST, Friday, November 14, 2008

This timeline has been updated to reflect the accurate date of the faculty's vote of no confidence and the accurate enrollment figures for the undergraduate class of 2004.

October 1998 – Heavy rains damage buildings on the Stephens’ campus. President Marcia Kierscht declines to examine the extent of the damage despite student requests.

November 1998 – The community begins to look unfavorably on Stephens for neglecting the upkeep of several historical buildings on campus.

December 1998 – Stephens decides to sell Stephens Lake Park in hopes of climbing out of debt. Community opposition grows.

May 1999 – Stephens students sign a petition asking the Board of Trustees to remove Kierscht from office.

September 2002 – Kierscht resigns. In February, she received a vote of no confidence from the faculty.

July 2003 — Wendy Libby takes over as 23rd president of Stephens College.

September 2003 - Libby launches five-year strategic "Renaissance Plan," unveiled in October 2004.

Fall 2004 — The interim report included a goal to increase enrollment from the current 577 to about 900 undergraduate students in five years.

Fall 2005 - Undergraduate enrollment saw an 18 percent increase from fall 2004 and a 27 percent increase from fall 2003.

Jan. 2004 — An interim report on strategic planning stated that Stephens would be closed within three years if it did not change the course of decreasing enrollment and increasing deficits.

2004 — Stephens offers summer courses for the first time in nearly a decade.

2004 — From 2004 to 2005, donations to the college increased from $4.5 million to more than $7 million.

2005 — Stephens sees increased financial stability. The deficit had been reduced to about $250,000, from as much as $3.8 million at one point.

2005 — Stephens shifts from a liberal arts focus toward more toward career-oriented programs in fashion, dance, theater, equestrian studies and education.

June 2006 — MU and Stephens College form a non-profit planning partnership with the city to assist in coordinating public and private development in the downtown area between Providence Road and College Avenue.

Fall 2006 — Stephens had its largest incoming class since 1991. The increase in enrollment marked the beginning of a four-year plan to increase full-time undergraduate enrollment.

Winter 2007 — Columbia and Woods halls were expanded to accommodate increasing enrollment.

Fall 2007 — More than 1,000 students enrolled by the beginning of the fall semester, due to improved academic programs, better facilities and a stronger commitment to recruiting.

January 2008 — The school kicked off its 175th anniversary celebration.

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