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Nebraska Wesleyan University (NWU) is a private Methodist-affiliateduniversity in Lincoln, Nebraska. It was founded in 1887 by Nebraska Methodists. As of 2017, it has approximately 2,100 students including 1,500 full-time students and 300 faculty and staff. The school teaches in the tradition of a liberal arts college education. The university has 119 undergraduate majors, minors, and pre-professional programs in addition to three graduate programs.
Chartered on January 20, 1887, Nebraska Wesleyan University had an initial enrollment of 96. The initial teaching and administrative staff at this time totaled eight, including the chancellor.
In September 1887, the cornerstone was laid for Old Main, which became the defining building of the campus. Still with no stairways, windows, or flooring on some floors, classes began in September 1888. The first graduating class was four women in 1890. The second graduating class, in 1891, was made up of four men. Nebraska Wesleyan received accreditation by the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools in 1914.
The school is located in the former town of University Place, Nebraska. Today, it is part of Lincoln, Nebraska; the surrounding neighborhood is a historic residential and shopping area of Lincoln.
Early on, Nebraska Wesleyan was a college of liberal arts; schools of art, business and education; a music conservatory; an academy (high school) also comprising an elementary school and kindergarten. The high school was discontinued in 1931, and the primary schools in 1941 (grade school) and 1942 (kindergarten).
Construction of the Duane W. Acklie Hall of Science began in 2017 with completion in 2019. It was the first new academic building in University Place in three decades.
Nebraska Wesleyan athletic teams are known as the Prairie Wolves. Men's sports include baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, soccer, swimming, tennis, track & field and wrestling. Women's sports include basketball, bowling, cross country, golf, soccer, swimming, softball, tennis, track & field, and volleyball.
Formerly a dual member of both the NAIA and NCAA, Nebraska Wesleyan moved exclusively to the NCAA as part of its 2016 move to the Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, now known as the American Rivers Conference.
The men's golf team won the 2006 NCAA Division III National Championship, its first in men's golf. The Prairie wolves won by 10 strokes over the University of Redlands. The men's golf team has also won 35 conference championships; with back to back championships in 2018 and 2019.
The men's basketball team won the 2018 NCAA Division III National Championship, its first in men's basketball.
Nebraska Wesleyan has been associated with four mascots in its history, featuring the Sunflower (1894-1907), the Coyote (1907-1933), the Plainsman (1933-2000), and the Prairie Wolf (2000-present). The school colors are black and gold.
David H. Mickey, class of 1939, wrote Of Sunflowers, Coyotes and Plainsmen: A History of Nebraska Wesleyan University (1992). Its three volumes cover inception to 1987. Volume One describes how the university began and tracks its progress to 1921. The second volume covers the years 1921-1946 and the third volume encompasses 1946-1987.