Cooper Memorial College opened in 1887. The original name honored a revered former leader of the Presbyterian denomination which founded the College. The original curriculum offered four majors and a preparatory department offering high school courses for those students unable to attend such institutions in their home communities. The major included a “Classical Course”, a general liberal arts emphasis, a “Normal Course” for prospective teachers, an “English Course” for future school administrators, and a business course.
These original curriculum choices remain the primary focus of Sterling College (renamed in 1920) into this new millennium. Few other colleges in the United States have been able to retain their original focus while continually updating the content of courses and the techniques of teaching them.
Another distinctive aspect of Sterling College, dating from its inception, is the emphasis placed on its status as a Christian college. Sterling faculty and staff have always been, and continue to be, believing Christians who strive to combine the concepts of faith and learning in their lives and in the classroom.