Location and History

The home campus of Central Methodist University is located in historic Fayette, MO, midway between St. Louis and Kansas City, a region of exceptional natural beauty. The ninety-four acre campus is distinguished by its majestic shade and ornamental trees and is designated a National Historic District. Officially authorized to operate as Central College in March 1855, by the legislature of the State of Missouri, the College had antecedents as far back as 1841 when the Methodist Episcopal Church South operated Howard High School on the present site. Classes began at Central College in 1857.

Efforts to unify the educational interests of the church in Missouri led to the absorption of Howard-Payne College by Central College in 1922. This merger was quickly followed by the concentration of all educational interests of the Methodist Episcopal Church South in Missouri, in Central College. Following this plan, the Central College for Women at Lexington, Scarritt-Morrisville College at Morrisville, and Marvin College at Fredericktown were closed in 1924-25, and Central College acquired their assets.

In 1939, with the merger of the Methodist Episcopal Church, the Methodist Episcopal Church South, and the Methodist Protestant Church, Central College was designated as the one undergraduate educational institution in Missouri for what later became the United Methodist Church. In 1961, the Board of Curators changed the College's name from Central to Central Methodist College.

In 1989, Central Methodist College, in cooperation with Mineral Area College in Park Hills, Missouri, began baccalaureate degree completion programs which afford opportunities for citizens of that region, who have completed their AA degree (or who have 60 hours of college credit), to earn a bachelor's degree. In 1994, Central Methodist College, in cooperation with East Central College in Union, Missouri, began baccalaureate degree completion programs at ECC so that citizens of that region could earn a bachelor's degree. In 1996 the College began offering the Master of Education degree on all three campuses. Since that time, CMU has established partnerships with State Fair Community College (SFCC), Three Rivers Community College (TRCC), and other corporate partners.

In May 2004, the Central Methodist University Board of Trustees voted to change the name of the institution to Central Methodist University. This name change recognized the growth in graduate and extended studies programs and more appropriately describes the Central Methodist University of the 21st century.