Converse was founded in 1889 by Dexter Edgar Converse to provide the liberal education of undergraduate women in a residential setting.
Since our founding, Converse has been a community of scholars, where students and faculty pursue scholarly excellence and collaborate in the search for truth while developing in students personal honor, confidence, and the curiosity and skills to be life-long learners. The college draws much of its character from its Christian heritage and welcomes students of all faiths.
Converse remains committed to building and strengthening our academic programs to be responsive for the future. In 1964 our co-educational graduate programs launched, providing innovative programs for adult and professional study. In the Fall of 2020 we expanded our mission by offering our distinctive undergraduate education to women and men. Converse’s undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs advance a culture of belonging and collaboration that ignites creativity, innovation, and transformation. Our graduates thrive in roles of leadership, service, and citizenship in their personal lives, community and beyond.
On July 1, 2021, Converse formally acknowledged its long-held university status with a name change to Converse University. Converse University encompasses the School of Humanities, Sciences, and Business; the School of the Arts; School of Education and Graduate Studies; and the Converse College for Women. While Converse is now co-educational across all programs, through the programming of the Converse College for Women we reaffirm the founder’s conviction that a small undergraduate residential liberal arts college is a uniquely powerful environment for developing women’s talents.
Converse empowers students to become transformative leaders who see clearly, decide wisely, and act justly.
Converse advances a culture of belonging and collaboration that ignites creativity, innovation, and transformation.
Our Core Values
Converse University prides itself on embracing a culture of belonging and collaboration that ignites creativity, innovation, and transformation. Supporting our mission are seven core values that guide Converse’s commitment to creativity and the development of wise leaders.
These enduring beliefs serve as the compass for Converse. They transcend time, extend across the institution and guide our actions and decisions.
EXCELLENCE drives us to achieve the best in all that we pursue; to develop competence, confidence and courage to realize full potential in mind, body and spirit.
INTEGRITY calls us to cultivate and exercise honor, character and vision in daily decisions and actions; to act honestly and justly when confronted with ethical dilemmas and life’s challenges.
EXPLORATION compels us to think critically and creatively in the acquisition of knowledge and skills; to discover and enrich scholarship and research, disciplines, methods and vocations through hands-on learning and leadership and through discovery, discourse and debate.
DIVERSITY inspires us to embrace the different perspectives, experiences, cultures, backgrounds, talents and contributions that comprise a global society; to enhance and expand inclusivity as we build a stronger multi-dimensional community.
RESPECT leads us to value self and others, recognizing the legitimacy of individuality in belief, expression and perspective; to exercise civility, mindfulness and responsibility in words and actions.
COMMUNITY motivates us to develop a dynamic network of relationships through a balance of work and play that nurtures the abilities of each member in order to establish a better whole; to mentor, collaborate and communicate as engaged citizens who effect positive change.
PROGRESS challenges us to think strategically toward the future by employing creativity, adaptability, ingenuity and innovation; to advance and transform the world around us.
The Founder’s Ideal
“It is my conviction that the well-being of any country depends much upon the culture of her women, and I have done what I could to found a college that would provide for women thorough and liberal education, so that for them the highest motives may become clear purposes and fixed habits of life; and I desire that the instruction and influence of Converse College be always such that the students may be enabled to see clearly, decide wisely, and to act justly; and that they may learn to love God and humanity, and be faithful to truth and duty, so that their influence may be characterized by purity and power.
“It is also my desire and hope that Converse College be always truly religious, but never denominational. I believe that religion is essential to all that is purest and best in life, here and hereafter. I wish the College to be really, but liberally and tolerantly, Christian; for I believe that the revelation of God in Christ is for salvation; and I commend and commit the College to the love and guidance of God, and to the care, sympathy, and fidelity of my fellowmen.” -Dexter Edgar Converse, founder of Converse College.