Located in St. Joseph, Missouri, Missouri Western State University serves as an economical, cultural, and educational resource for the entire community. It offers an exceptional learning environment that prepares students for meaningful personal lives, and professional accomplishments. Since its founding in 1915, the university has been committed to the higher education needs of its constituencies. It was started as St. Joseph Junior College to provide a two-year liberal arts transfer program. Later, in 1969, it became a four-year college. It joined the State of Missouri system in 1977. In August 2005, it gained university status and changed its name to Missouri Western State University. Accredited by the Commission on Institutions of the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools, the campus provides a blend of traditional liberal arts and sciences and career-oriented associate and baccalaureate degree programs. The state-supported institution also offers certificate programs, professional programs, programs for transfer students, continuing education opportunities, and self-enrichment courses. With a beautifully landscaped campus, the university provides facilities such as an art gallery, the center for academic support, center for multicultural education, center for student activities, counseling center, fitness center, health center, instructional media center, theater, Spratt stadium/club, and testing center. The Missouri Western State University Library, on the second and third floors of the Hearnes Center, maintains more than 202,000 volumes and subscribes to 1500 journals. The special collections area includes the MWSU Archives and 1850-1950 collection of primary source and published documents. Disability services and financial aid are offered to eligible students.