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Distinguished History

Doane College turned 140 in 2012 – and our program for working adults turned
30 years old. Quality begets quality and we started with the best.


In the 1870s, Doane was the passion of prominent men and women who wanted to build a college of Ivy-League scale in a prairie town – people like Founder Thomas Doane, a Massachusetts native and civil engineer, a constructor of railroads and the Hoosac tunnel; a gentle, yet decisive man of power. Distinguished students came to the college they created; bright, forward-thinking, service-oriented students who worked hard for an outstanding education.

In 1981, Doane College established a campus in Lincoln, at a time when it was cutting edge for a small liberal arts college to include working adults as part of its mission. In the late 1970s, higher education had begun to recognize the trend of adults returning to school, and large universities began offering services to this new population of learners.

In 2003, Doane established a campus in Grand Island. Both of these campuses are specifically designed to meet the needs of adult learners and graduate students. About 2,000 students enroll on these campuses each year, fitting the pursuit of a degree in their busy lives through flexible eight-week terms. Educators at these campuses are professionals in their respective fields, so they can bring their experiences and networking opportunities into the classroom.

In January of 2014, the School of Graduate and Professional Studies brought a Doane campus to Omaha.  Programs are designed for the adult learner with a unique approach of conveniently scheduled courses led by high-quality faculty with academic and professional experiences.


140 Years of Strength in a Nutshell

  • Remarkable growth in size and strength, from the first graduating class of three to a residential campus of more than 1,200
  • We survived the Great Depression, World Wars and other events that caused many colleges to fail
  • Continuous accreditation
  • National recognition
  • New locations, student populations and advanced degree programs

We’re proud of our history and the people who built it. Students like you carry Doane’s tradition of quality forward.