Cottey College, located in Nevada, Missouri is an independent, liberal arts and sciences college for women. It was founded by Virginia Alice Cottey Stockard in 1884, and is currently owned and supported by the P.E.O. Sisterhood, a philanthropic women's organization. It is the only nonsectarian college in the United States owned and supported by women for women.
Cottey College has traditionally offered only the Associate of Arts and the Associate of Science degrees. Starting in the Fall 2011, Cottey began offering Bachelor of Arts degrees in the following programs: English, Environmental Studies, and International Relations and Business. In 2012, Cottey began offering a B.A. degree in Psychology. In the Fall of 2013, Cottey began offering Bachelor of Arts degrees in Business, and Liberal Arts. B.A. degree programs at Cottey are intentionally interdisciplinary and interconnected and collectively create a common experience of learning and accomplishments for every student, regardless of major. These common experiences are arranged around three threads interwoven throughout the programs' curricula: the threads of women's leadership, social responsibility, and global awareness.
For students pursuing an associate degree, the type of degree a student receives is based upon the core curriculum and distribution requirements she completes. Students choose subjects of their interest and/or intended major. For associate degree students, there is no obligation to declare a major while at Cottey; however, students usually complete prerequisites or requirements for their future field of study. Over 95% of graduates transfer to four-year institutions, including Smith College, Stephens College, Salem College, and Mount Holyoke College.
Cottey has 307 enrolled. Cottey has a student to faculty ratio of 10:1. It is not uncommon to have courses with fewer than 10 students. Faculty includes both men and women, with over 90% holding the terminal academic degree in their field. The college's mission is stated in the college Catalog: "Cottey College will educate qualified women in the arts and sciences to prepare them for transfer to programs beyond the associate's degree by enhancing their intellectual ability, their store of knowledge, their personal skills, and thereby their capacity for contribution to society and their chosen .
The college has a nationally recognized leadership program known as LEO. The Center for Women's Leadership provides structured leadership training for current students and women from the area, as well as high school students.
Cottey is situated on 66 acres (26.7 ha) of land in Nevada, Missouri a rural town of 8,171 people on the 2012 estimate. The main campus is situated on 11 city blocks. Five blocks south of this is B.I.L. Hill, a 33-acre (13.4 ha) wooded area owned and used by Cottey for recreation, concerts, bonfires, picnics, suite nights, and other traditions.
The official colors of Cottey are yellow and white. Additionally, the senior class color is navy blue and the freshmen class color is "baby" blue. The senior class mascot was originally known as "Hermann the duck" and was adopted by the senior class in 1924. The current senior mascot is known as Hermitrude the duck, while the freshmen class chooses their own mascot every year (see Past Freshmen Mascots). The daisy was chosen by the first Cottey students to represent their school, and plays an important role in traditions like convocation and commencement.