Principia didn’t start out as a college. Its first students were the two young sons of the school’s founder, Mary Kimball Morgan. A Christian Scientist, Morgan chose to home-school her sons out of concern for the moral and spiritual dimensions of their education. Word spread quickly among other Christian Scientists, to the point that she had to move her classroom from the carriage house of her home to a two-room storefront in order to accommodate the growing demand. In 1898, only a year after she began home-schooling, fifteen students were enrolled, a second teacher had been hired, and the new school was officially named Principia. But it still wasn’t a college yet.
In 1906, the first high school class graduated, and in 1912, a junior college was added—one of the first in the nation. Finally, a four-year college program was inaugurated in 1932. By the mid-1930s, the current College campus was established on the bluffs of the Mississippi River. Its 2,600 acres, multiple ecosystems, famous architecture, and see-for-miles view make it one of the most elegant and elastic learning environments in the country.