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 College included a “Classical Course” which was 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) today. 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 instruction.
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.
Sterling College looks to the future with confidence. With support from the community, churches, and thousands of dedicated alumni and friends who annually help the College, the Sterling College tradition continues. The background and interests of the students, combined with the College’s Christian focus, gives Sterling College a heritage and a future which promise each student a concerned and supportive learning environment.