Lincoln College was established in 1865 to fill the need for an institution of higher learning in central Illinois. Lincoln College is fully accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association. On February 6, 1865, a charter for the new university was secured from the Illinois General Assembly. Ground was broken for University Hall, the first College building, just six days later, on Abraham Lincoln’s birthday.
By September 1866, the foundation had been completed and the cornerstone was laid. In November 1866, instruction for men and women began. The first commencement in 1868 honored three graduates. Thus, Lincoln College took its place among the pioneer educational institutions of Midwest America.