History of HLG filled with progress, faith
1858: Founded by the Wyaconda Baptist Association, LaGrange Male and Female Seminary opened its doors on Sept. 15. The name was later shortened to LaGrange College.
1862-1866: As with many other colleges of the period, facilities at LaGrange College were taken over by Civil War troops.
1870: The first class members received their degrees; there were seven graduates.
1880s: With its literary societies, theatre, and musical productions, LaGrange College provided a cultural center for northeast Missouri.
1905: The Wyaconda Baptist Association invited other Baptist associations in Missouri, Iowa, and Illinois to join in support of the college’s operation.
1917: LaGrange College presented the first state certificates for the Teachers’ Training Course. Trustees reported that of 111 Missouri colleges offering the training course, LaGrange College ranked fifth. The following year, LaGrange College was ranked number one out of 109 colleges. The college was also reorganized along junior college lines under the direction of the State University Committee on Accredited Schools and Junior Colleges.
1926: LaGrange College trustees gave ownership and control of the college to the Missouri Baptist General Association (later known as the Missouri Baptist Convention).
1927: A proposed amendment called for moving the college to Hannibal. This proposal caused much commotion among several members of Wyaconda Baptist Association and LaGrange citizens.
1928: The Hannibal Chamber of Commerce and Baptist leaders proceeded with plans to establish a junior college at Hannibal, under the control and ownership of the Missouri Baptist Convention. Citizens raised $232,000 in pledges and purchased 160 acres of land on the north side of Hannibal. LaGrange College officials approved the move to Hannibal on Aug. 17.
1929: Following a year of building, the newly-established Hannibal-LaGrange College (HLG) opened Sept. 19 with an enrollment of 222 students.
1940s: The college contracted with the government to offer a Civilian Pilot Training Program for the Army, which was followed by training for U.S. Navy Cadets. These programs allowed the college to prosper during a period when many students left to enlist in the military.
1941: The first Booster Banquet was held Oct. 12. It brought 400 guests to campus and generated $1,828 in support.
1957: HLG’s theology department opened an extension center in St. Louis.
1958: Celebrating its centennial year, the college constructed two monuments. The LaGrange College bell was mounted on a campanile on the HLG campus, and the iron archway reading “Home of the Trojans” was erected on stone pillars at the campus entrance.
1962: The HLG extension center in St. Louis had become so successful, the college began offering liberal arts courses in addition to the theology courses.
1967: After two years of discussion, Hannibal-LaGrange College merged with Missouri Baptist College, a former extension center of HLG. The St. Louis campus was not operational until 1968.
1973: When the Hannibal campus was threatened with closing, HLG personnel and Hannibal area residents reacted swiftly, calling for the separation of the Hannibal campus of Missouri Baptist College and for the reestablishment of Hannibal-LaGrange College. The community raised over $85,000 to restore HLG as a separate institution.
1975: HLG began offering baccalaureate degrees in theology, religious education, and church music, with accreditation from North Central Association of Colleges.
1981: The college gained full senior college status, expanding its four-year programs in many areas of study.
1989: As HLG began to implement an aggressive long-range expansion plan, fire destroyed a significant building complex housing administrative offices, classrooms, the cafeteria, McKenzie Auditorium, and Porter Gymnasium. The fire occurred on June 22, and resulted in only one day of canceled classes.
1992: The college more than doubled space lost in the fire with the completion of a tech center/cafeteria (1990), sports complex (1991), and finally, a new administration building/classroom complex (1992).
1998: Constructing a new dormitory, Hannibal-LaGrange College demonstrates its continued progress.
1999: The “Season for Growth” campaign is launched. The college launched the $7.6 million campaign to raise funds for a new fine arts center on campus.
2003: The opening of the Roland Fine Arts Center took place when the college dedicated the center May 3. The 50,000 sq. ft. facility houses the visual arts, music and theatre departments at HLG. In addition to classrooms, studios and practice space, the Roland Fine Arts Center has the 580-seat Parker Theatre and the Hagerman Art Gallery.
2005: The Carroll Missions Center was dedicated on November 6. The facility contains training classrooms, student and administrative offices, a conference room, resource room, workroom, and prayer chapel. The Carroll Missions Center provides space for all things ministry related and is the focal point for all campus ministries.
2006: HLG’s first winter commencement was held on December 16. Fifty-seven graduates received diplomas. Woodrow W. Burt was the keynote speaker.
2007: The “Building for the Future” capital campaign was launched. The college launched the $30 million capital campaign in February 2007. Campaign components include a new library, allied health / science building, campus improvements, and endowment. Another component of the capital campaign included new programming. In 2007, HLG expanded their list of NAIA sports to include track & field, swimming, men’s volleyball, and wrestling.
2007: On July 11 the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools acted to grant accreditation for the Master of Science in Education degree. HLG began offering the M.S.E. degree in the fall 2007 semester.
2007: On Nov. 16, HLG trustees, faculty, staff, and students gathered to dedicate the Secker Fieldhouse. The fieldhouse is home for the HLG wrestling program. The approximately 6,000 sq. ft. facility provides locker rooms and training spaces for wrestling and outdoor sports.
2008: Fall 2008 saw record enrollment numbers. The freshmen class was the largest class in HLG history with 192 enrolled freshmen, and there are approximately 1,250 undergraduate students from more than 24 states and 26 countries, with approximately 37 graduate students. The residential population (on-campus housing) was a record 508.
The college now offers degrees in over 30 areas of study, an adult continuing education program, 18 intercollegiate sports teams (9 men’s and 9 women’s), nationally recognized missions program, and four traveling performance groups.