Augustana was founded by educated Scandinavian Lutherans in Chicago in 1860, to “provide an education in the arts and sciences for young people of their church as well as for all other qualified persons.” The college was moved to rural Paxton, Illinois (1863), and then to Rock Island in 1875. The founders sought to create a college and seminary to serve the growing immigrant communities in North America.
Our student body is small (about 2,360), coed (42 percent male, 58 percent female), almost entirely full-time (99 percent), traditional age (97 percent are age 17-22), and of high academic profile (ACT median 26.2, 53 percent from top 20 percent of their high school class). Eight-and-a half percent of all students are from an ethnic minority, and 1 percent are international students. About 25 percent are first generation college students.
They are a bright and ambitious group. Augustana was ranked 53rd among all American colleges in the number of its graduates to earn doctorates of philosophy over the 20th century. A dozen Augustana graduates have gone on to become college and university presidents and Augustana stands fifth all-time in the number of student-athletes recognized as Academic All-Americans by the NCAA. An average of 72 percent of our entering students graduate after four years and 76% within five years. Our top graduation majors, based on the past three-year average, are business administration, biology, psychology, English and elementary education. About one-third of graduates proceed immediately to full-time graduate study.
Careful financial management and planning have produced a balanced budget for decades. Augustana's endowment has grown from $43 million in 1996 to over $100 million on January 1, 2006 as a result of comprehensive fund-raising campaigns and the new strategic plan places great emphasis on building a stronger endowment to launch and sustain academic initiatives.