• Bishop Statue with Sky

    Hamline University Mission, Values, and Vision

    Hamline University’s mission statement, values, and vision are not something that exist in words alone.

    You can find them in the values that guide our education, in the way our community comes together, and in our professors, leaders, staff, alumni, and students’ hearts.

    They are not static. Rather, they are continually active, guiding us in what we do, whether it is creating new programs, erecting new buildings, or charting a course into our next 150 years. 


    To create a diverse and collaborative community of learners dedicated to the development of students' knowledge, values and skills for successful lives of leadership, scholarship, and service. 


    Hamline University recognizes its roots in the traditions and values of the United Methodist Church, and aspires to the highest standards for:

    • Creation, dissemination, and practical application of knowledge
    • Rigor, creativity, and innovation in teaching, learning, and research 
    • Multicultural competencies in local and global contexts 
    • The development and education of the whole person 
    • An individual and community ethic of social justice, civic responsibility, and inclusive leadership and service


    Hamline University will be recognized as a diverse, learning-centered university that is:

    • Rooted in a tradition of liberal education 
    • Dynamic and actively inclusive 
    • Locally engaged and globally connected 
    • Invested in the personal and professional growth of persons


    A Red Wing Start (1854 – 1869)

    Hamline University is Minnesota’s oldest university and was named in honor of Leonidas Lent Hamline, a bishop of the Methodist Church whose interest in the frontier led him to donate funds toward the building of an institution of higher learning in what was then the Territory of Minnesota. Hamline University’s first home was in Red Wing, Minnesota.

    A Move to Saint Paul: The Early Modern Period (1880-1914)

    After the close of the Red Wing location, the seventy-seven-acre Saint Paul prairie plot midway between the two largest cities in the state was selected as Hamline's new home. Building operations began in 1873, but by then the depression had overtaken the planners, and there were repeated postponements and delays. The doors finally opened on September 22, 1880, and Hamline’s history in Saint Paul began.

    World War I and Postwar Years (1915-1929)

    When World War I came in April of 1917, the students responded to the call to duty in a variety of ways, seeming to grasp the issues at stake and the parts that would be required of them in the war. Voluntary military drill for men continued and by May seventy-five women were meeting four times a week to learn the principles of first aid. Track and baseball schedules for spring were cancelled when enlistments and applications of officers’ training depleted the teams. Hamline was designated one of thirty-eight colleges in the country to supply men for ambulance work in France. Thirty-six men were selected for the unit and served in France with the 28th Division of the French army. The women made a silk banner for the unit, which read, “Made by the Girls for the Boys of ’17.” The banner now has a home in the Hamline archives.

    The Great Depression and World War II (1930-1945)

    A period that began with the greatest of American depressions and ended with World War II could be expected to generate challenges for Hamline University, as it did for most colleges. The most difficult were the years in the early 1930s, in which the repercussions of the depression were intensified by conflicts over matters of internal reorganization. During the war years, Hamline’s enrollment held above six hundred, except in 1943-44. Although males registrations dropped as men entered the armed services, the women's enrollment increased as nursing students arrived.

    Post World War II (1946 – 1966)

    A flood of veterans entered or returned to college after World War II under the G.I. Bill of Rights. The first reached the campus in the fall of 1946, when registrations passed one thousand for the first time. Enrollment reached the maximum of the period in 1949-50 when 1452 students, including 289 in the School of Nursing, were registered for classes. The School of Nursing, which had been an integral part of Hamline University since 1940 and had won wide recognition for the excellence of its program, was discontinued in 1962 following the decision to concentrate resources and staff on the liberal arts program. The last class in the three-year program graduated in 1960 and the last class in the degree program in 1962. A total of 447 women completed the degree program and received the bachelor of science in nursing degree, and 758 women finished the three-year program and received diplomas in nursing.

    Times a-Changin' (1966–1987)

    If Hamline University ever embodied the quiet pursuit of higher learning in ivied towers of lore, the two decades beginning in the mid-1960s changed all that. As Bob Dylan noted (ominously, in the view of many), “The times they are a-changin'.” This period saw changes in administration, as well as a number of new building projects including Bush Memorial Library, The Paul Giddens/Alumni Learning Center, and the School of Law.

    Vision of a "New American University" (1988–2004) 

    Larry G. Osnes became the 18th president of Hamline University in 1988. During his time at Hamline, Osnes saw many building projects come to fruition, including the Orem Robbins Science Center, Walker Fieldhouse, Klas Center, Sundin Music Hall, the renovation of historic Old Main, and the dedication of the Bishop statue. New programs were also introduced, including the Graduate Schools of Liberal Studies, Education, and Public Administration and Management.

    Present Day (2005-Today)

    Dr. Linda N. Hanson became Hamline University’s 19th president in July 2005. Under her leadership the university launched an innovative MBA program in 2008, aligned undergraduate and graduate programs in a School of Business (including business, management, public administration and non-profit management) and a School of Education, created centers for Business Law and Health Law, and created an in-residence MFA in Young Adult and Children’s Literature. In 2006 she led the university through the development of a comprehensive, university-wide strategic plan, Creating Pathways to Distinction, which describes Hamline’s academic vision and strategies to innovate in the tradition of liberal arts and professional education; to be dynamic and actively inclusive; to be locally engaged and globally connected; and to invest in the growth of persons. In 2008 Hamline University expanded to a 33,000 square foot location in Minneapolis and now offers master’s level programs in business and education there. Upholding Hamline’s strong commitment to leadership and civic engagement, Dr. Hanson has led the expansion of the university’s global partnerships and exchange programs. The university’s Middle East Civic Education Project has been recognized for its outstanding efforts by the U.S. State Department. Hamline has established a relationship with the United International College, the first liberal arts college in mainland China, and the Shanghai Institute for Foreign Trade. 

    Historical Firsts

    1854 First university in Minnesota and one of the first coeducational colleges in the United States

    1856-57 Offered Minnesota's first legal curriculum

    1859 Conferred Minnesota’s first bachelor's degree - to a woman

    1863 Conferred Minnesota’s first master's degree - to a woman

    1895 Hosted the world's first intercollegiate basketball game and introduced five-man (as opposed to nine-man) basketball

    1924 Established America's first exchange program with Peking (Beijing) University

    1980’s Implemented America’s first computer literacy requirement for undergraduates

    1994 Offered Minnesota's first advanced writing degree

    1995 Offered the Midwest's first doctorate of public administration

  • News

    Major construction along Snelling Avenue near campus may cause traffic detours and delays this summer and early fall.

    Following an impressive showing by all the finalists, Andrew Brady was chosen as the undergraduate student speaker for Commencement 2015. Congratulations to all of the finalists, Brianna Brown, Eleanna Mathioudis, and Savana D'Amico, for their tremendous speeches.

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