What happened to Iowa Wesleyan?
Iowa Wesleyan University, founded in 1842, was an independent, four-year college with a strong liberal arts tradition. Iowa Wesleyan University’s Board of Trustees unanimously voted to close the university at the end of the 2022-2023 academic year. The decision was based on a combination of financial challenges – increased operating costs due to inflationary pressures, changing enrollment trends, and a significant drop in philanthropic giving. Its campus was located in the city of Mount Pleasant, Iowa.
Iowa Wesleyan Archives
Shortly after the announcement of the closure of Iowa Wesleyan University in late March of 2023, it was agreed that the school archives located on the second floor of the Chadwick Library should remain in Mount Pleasant. The Henry County Heritage Trust, located in the former Saunders School building on Madison Street, was selected to be the new home for the majority of the college's collection. The museum has a climate-controlled room dedicated for all of the archives to be cared for and kept safe. The collection includes thousands of artifacts, memorabilia, student publications, all of the Croaker yearbooks, scrapbooks, sports memorabilia and awards, records and artifacts related to Greek life on campus...and
even the frog band.
Following the transfer of the items from the Chadwick Library to the Henry County Heritage Trust Museum in late June, a team of dedicated volunteers has worked hard to make this space a fitting new home for the archives. In addition, Spencer Barton, the former director of the Harlan-Lincoln House, has been working alongside the team at the Heritage Trust to inventory, catalog, and organize the archive space to make it a functional room for the preservation of the history of Iowa Wesleyan. In addition to housing the Iowa Wesleyan archives, this space also has some room for displays of notable artifacts, banners, plaques, and other items from Iowa Wesleyan's past. Requests for appointments to view the archives can be made through the CONTACT US tab on the Henry County Heritage Trust's website. This step is put in place to ensure the safety of the collection, the researcher, and the staff of the Henry County Heritage Trust. In the late spring of 2024, the museum will offer an events space that will feature a display of items from the archives.
The Iowa Wesleyan Archives are safe and secure under our care and are here for you to view, remember, and learn from. The museum is open every Saturday from May through October to the public from 1 to 4 pm. Outside of these times, the museum is open by appointment, including the archives.
Reflections on Iowa Wesleyan’s Closing
The closing of Iowa Wesleyan was a sad day for many of us. If you are a diarist, poet, historian, or writer of any sort, Anita Hampton ’71 is calling on you. Alums are asked to write essays of substance (200-500 words) capturing the emotional response upon learning of the closing. Alumni are encouraged to read Anthem for a Scrappy Old Lady, Professor Ann Klingensmith’s reflection of March 29, 2023, which can be found on her Facebook page, and consider how Dr. Haselmayer, Mrs. Bensmiller, Dr. Thomson, or Dr. Muntz would have written about the closing.
Topics might include:
Reflections on the person I became due to Iowa Wesleyan,
What Iowa Wesleyan has meant to me,
A lesson learned at Iowa Wesleyan,
An unforgettable, unique experience Iowa Wesleyan afforded me,
What difference Iowa Wesleyan made in my life,
How a professor, staff, coach, or administrator made a difference to me,
Thoughts when hearing the news of Iowa Wesleyan’s closing,
Reflections on losing an institution that nurtured me into adulthood.
The intent is to compile a last Purple and White or perhaps a small, hardbound book.
If you are interested in contributing to this collection, please contact Anita Brent Hampton ’71 at email@example.com or (319) 931-6227 (leave a message). The timeline is not yet set—much depends on the interest of potential participants.
Oral History Project
If you ordered merchandise or a hardbound book, they were delivered over the summer of 2023.
If you participated in the project and have questions, contact:
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