Nebraska Wesleyan campus around 1909 with a couple hundred people standing in line.
History of Nebraska Wesleyan University

History of Nebraska Wesleyan University

Established in 1887

For more than 130 years, Nebraska Wesleyan University has been a destination for scholars across Nebraska and the globe seeking academic excellence in education and experiential learning. Come along with us as we take a journey through the years in pictures.

探索 Nebraska Wesleyan University Archives for an in-depth look into our university's history. Curated by the Cochrane-Woods Library, the archives provide a historical collection of photos, 研究, 工件, and class and faculty listings.


Class of 1895 included four women standing around a large rock with male students standing behind the rock.

Humble beginnings

In the fall of 1887, Nebraska Wesleyan University began its first year with 96 students. Sunflowers grew abundantly around the campus and, in 1894, the sunflower was adopted as the "official emblem" along with its yellow and brown colors. The class of 1895's memorial stone still stands northwest of Old Main.

Dated 1908, this is an old photo of several young men are sitting on the steps of Old Main

The age of the Coyotes

逐渐, enthusiasm for athletics grew and by 1907, the Sunflower emblem was exchanged for a Coyote. This 1908 varsity football team piled onto the steps of Old Main for their team photo.

Large group of students in front of Old Main in the 1920s fashion.


These 1920s graduates dressed so fine for commencement, it would've been a shame to cover their fashion in robes.

Students from 1940 laughing and acting silly in this old yearbook photo.


Wearing their school colors with pride, these students yuk it up at a 1948 首页coming party. Nebraska Wesleyan became the Plainsmen in 1933.

This black and white photo shows a professor on the left in front of a lecture hall with students seated at desks staggered on steps.


Even in 1955, social networks mattered. This meeting of the Nebraska Academy of Sciences brought together NWU students interested in the natural sciences.

Photo dated 1971, students in front and behind book shelves in the library.

Feeling groovy

1971 was a liberating year for NWU students. The Student Affairs Senate passed a Student Bill of Rights that expanded students' authority on campus and clarified expectations for student conduct.

Three rows of students, some with their backs to us and their heads facing the camera with the words, "Plainsman Players" on their back.

Tickets for the show

The 1981 Plainsman Players were the first to perform at The Elder Memorial Speech and 剧院 Center which was dedicated that same year.

Band members in the bleachers playing their instruments.

Pep, pep band, hooray!

In 2000, the pep band cheered on the newly minted Prairie Wolves football team. In 1999, campus-wide and alumni discussions to reconsider the school mascot were motivated by a desire for a more inclusive image. The Student Affairs Senate made it official a year later.

Five females of the Gold Rush dance team perform during half-time at a basketball game..

All that glitters is gold

Today, we appreciate all the rich history that goes into making our campus an inclusive university. Here our 2019 Gold Rush dance team keeps our devoted Prairie Wolf fans energized.