History at a Glance

Lincoln College, chartered Lincoln University in 1865, is a private, liberal arts college, fully accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association. The College’s roots date back to December 1864. After investigating several sites, commissioners selected Lincoln, Illinois as the location for a new university.


On February 6, 1865, a charter for the new university was secured from the Illinois General Assembly. Just six days later, on Abraham Lincoln’s last living birthday, ground was broken for University Hall, the first college building. The foundation was completed and the cornerstone laid by September 1865, and instruction for men and women began that November. The first commencement in 1868 honored three graduates.


Since then, Lincoln College has taken its place among the pioneer educational institutions of the Midwest.


Interesting Facts
  • First land plot sold on August 27, 1853.

  • Lincoln, Illinois is located on the Chicago and Alton Railroad between Bloomington and Springfield.
  • Abraham Lincoln christened the new town, named in his honor, with juice from a watermelon!
  • In January of 1969, Lincoln College experienced the tragic loss of its administration building.  Thanks to this virtual walk-through below, we are now able to experience what this beautiful building offered the Lincoln College campus.