Stephens College is a proud affiliate of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and a member of the American Midwest Conference (AMC). As a member of the NAIA and AMC, Stephens College is committed to character-driven athletics. The institution also values the NAIA mission of providing a proper balance of academics and athletics for a student’s educational experience.
In 2004, Stephens transitioned from NCAA Division III to the NAIA. The move allowed Stephens to compete at a higher level athletically, grant athletic scholarships, all while staying committed to an academic-first approach.
In April 2007, Stephens announced its acceptance into the American Midwest Conference and all sports teams would begin AMC play in Fall 2008. Current members of the conference include Benedictine University at Springfield, Columbia College, Freed-Hardeman University, Hannibal-LaGrange University, Harris-Stowe State University, Lindenwood University-Belleville, Lyon College, Missouri Baptist University, Park University, St. Louis College of Pharmacy, William Woods University and Williams Baptist College.
Mission Statement of the College
Historically committed to meeting the changing needs of women, Stephens College prepares students to become leaders and innovators in a rapidly changing world. Stephens engages lifelong learners in an educational experience characterized by intellectual rigor, creative expression and professional practice, in an environment supported by accomplished faculty and dedicated alumnae. Graduates of Stephens are educated in the liberal arts, professionally prepared and inspired by our tradition of the Ten Ideals as core values that enrich women's lives.
History of Stephens College Athletics
Stephens College has a very rich, athletic tradition. Back in the 1970s, the “Stars” were on the cutting edge of athletic excellence. Stephens had a thriving elementary/secondary physical education program and a thriving athletic program that took advantage of the talents of physical education majors. This happened before Title IX and the debut of women’s athletic scholarships. Title IX was supposed to give equal opportunity to women in athletics and did so at co-ed institutions. At Stephens, nothing changed in athletics because there were no male counterparts. By the late 70s, scholarships for women athletes were trending and women were striving not only for equal opportunity, but also for equal scholarships. Stephens tried to keep pace in the athletic scholarship world, but when the NCAA overtook the power of the Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW), Stephens had problems recruiting in a big-time athletic market. At that time, Stephens was an NCAA Division II school and struggled to exist through 1987.
Stephens dropped out of the NCAA realizing that it could not compete effectively without major sources of athletic scholarship monies. In 1987, the institution declared club status for athletics and was not affiliated with any national athletic organization. At the end of the 88-89 school year, the decision was made to discontinue athletics.
Because the field of play was one of the first places where women received the right to equal opportunity, Athletics Director Deb Duren fought hard to bring athletics back to the forefront at Stephens. By 1994, Duren helped the Stars gain approval for NCAA Division III acceptance. Stephens would begin competing at the NCAA DIII level in tennis, volleyball, soccer and swimming.
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