Augustana College was founded as Augustana College and Theological Seminary in 1860 by the Scandinavian Evangelical Lutheran Augustana Synod. Located first in Chicago, it moved to Paxton, Illinois, in 1863 and to Rock Island, Illinois, its current home, in 1875.
After 1890 an increasingly large Swedish American community in America promoted a new institutional structure, including a lively Swedish-language press, many new churches, several colleges, and a network of ethnic organizations. The result was to foster with pride a sense of Swedishness in the United States. Thereby there emerged a self-confident Americanized generation. Augustana College put itself in the lead of the movement to affirm Swedish American identity. Early on all the students had been born in Sweden but by 1890 the second generation of American-born students predominated. They typically had white-collar or professional backgrounds; few were the sons and daughters of farmers and laborers. These middle class youth developed an idealized view of Sweden, characterized by romanticism, patriotism, and idealism, just like their counterparts across the Atlantic. The new generation was especially proud of the Swedish contributions to American democracy and the creation of a republic that promised liberty and destroyed the menace of slavery.
In 1947, the Augustana Seminary formally separated from Augustana College and became an independent body. It remained on the Rock Island campus until the 1960s, when the Seminary moved to Chicago. 
Augustana ranks among the top forty U.S. liberal arts colleges in the sciences, based on the number of graduates earning Ph.D.s. Students accepted to Augustana typically rank in the top 10% of their high school classes. The middle 50 percent of enrolled students for the class of 2012 scored 24-29 on the ACT, well above the national averages. Augustana College is considered highly selective.
Augustana currently has approximately sixty academic programs including nine pre-professional and eight interdisciplinary programs:
Accounting, Africana Studies, Anthropology, Applied Mathematics, Art, Art History, Astronomy, Biochemistry, Biology, Business Administration, Chinese, Chemistry, Classics, Communication Sciences & Disorders (including Speech Pathology and Audiology), Communication Studies, Computer Science, Creative Writing, Economics, Education, Engineering, Engineering Physics, English, French, Geography, Geology, German, Graphic Design, History, International Business, Japanese, Landscape Architecture, Mathematics, Multimedia Journalism, Music, Neuroscience, Philosophy, Physics, Political Science, Psychology, Religion, Scandinavian, Sociology, Spanish, Theatre, World Literature
Africana Studies, Asian Studies, Environmental Management & Forestry, Environmental Studies, Latin American Studies, Medieval & Renaissance Studies, Neuroscience, Women's & Gender Studies
Old Main was constructed between 1884 and 1893. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. On August 2, 2010, the New Science Building was officially named the Robert A. and Patricia K. Hanson Hall of Science after Robert Hanson, a former John Deere CEO. Mr Hanson, who donated $8 million to the college, credits his success in life to his time spent at Augustana. The science building was dedicated in 1998 is the largest academic building serving approximately 700 students in 17 majors, minors and concentrations. The Hanson Hall of Science's facilities and resources include seven classrooms, thirty-five laboratories (including a cadaver lab), a 400 MHz liquid-and solid-state NMR (nuclear magnetic resonance) spectrometer, scanning electron microscope, instrumentation for X-ray powder crystallography and a fully functioning 40-foot greenhouse.
House on the Hill
Augustana has five traditional residence halls: Andreen Hall, Erickson Residence Center, Seminary Hall, Swanson Commons, and Westerlin Residence Center. All five of these residence halls are coeducational. The majority of first year and sophomore year students typically reside in one of these five residence halls. For upperclassmen, Augustana also offers Transitional Living Areas (TLAs), apartment-like complexes or traditional off-campus houses administered by the college's Office of Residential Life, in which Augustana students live. The school takes care of basic maintenance in these areas, some of which are House on the Hill, Naeseth, and Arbaugh Apartments. These areas usually have 2-6 students who share a bathroom, a kitchen, and other living spaces.
Augustana provides several services to attending students. Services include: campus ministries, career center, student counseling, academic advising, student employment, business office, food services, safety office, campus security, computer services, and campus recreation.
Augustana has a local Greek system, which includes seven sororities Chi Alpha Pi (CAP), Chi Omega Gamma (COG), Delta Chi Theta (Delta Chi), Phi Rho, Sigma Kappa Tau (KT), Sigma Pi Delta (Speed), and Zeta Phi Kappa (Zetas) and seven fraternities Alpha Sigma Xi (Alpha Sig), Beta Omega Sigma (BOS), Delta Omega Nu (DON), Gamma Alpha Beta (GAB), Omicron Sigma Omicron (OZO), Phi Omega Phi (Poobah), and Rho Nu Delta (Roundels).
Current varsity sports include: baseball, basketball (m/w), cross country (m/w), football, golf (m/w), lacrosse (m/w), soccer (m/w), softball, swimming (m/w), tennis (m/w), track & field (m/w), volleyball, wrestling.
Pamela Druger is the S. James Galley Endowed Chair in Accounting.
Cathy Goebel is a professor, the Paul A. Anderson Chair in the Arts and current chair of the Department of Art History. Dr. Goebel oversees collaborative research and publication of faculty and student essays related to Augustana College Art Museum exhibitions. One example of this is her recent work to coordinate Origins of Modernity, a project that integrated first-year studies with essays from the Augustana community and an elaborate art exhibit and catalogue, as well as a community convocation event.
Pamela Trotter is the Robert W. Beart Endowed Chair in Chemistry having been a leader in student-faculty collaboration at Augustana College, having organized summer research programs involving students from the departments of biology, pre-medicine, chemistry and education since 2002.
Communication Sciences & Disorders (CSD)
Kathy Jakielski is an Associate Professor of (CSD), director of the Augustana Center for Speech, Language and Hearing, and the Florence C. and Dr. John E. Wertz Chair in the Liberal Arts and Sciences. Dr. "J" - as she is called by her students - is a noted clinician and scholar examining Childhood Apraxia of Speech.
Karin Youngberg is a professor and the Conrad Bergendoff Chair in the Humanities, Augustana's first endowed faculty position. Dr. Karin Youngberg joined the English department in 1967, and in 1980 became the first woman elected to chair the Faculty Senate. The Phi Beta Kappa Augustana graduate has a long association with East Hall Press, which gives students hands-on experience in book publishing.
Jason Peters holds the Dorothy J. Parkander Chair in Literature. Recent publications include "Wendell Berry: Life and Work" (University Press of Kentucky, 2007).
Norm Moline is the Edward Hamming Professor of Geography. Norm has co-directed the college's fall term in East Asia since that program started in 1974, which was the first time China opened its borders to the West for educational purposes.
Van J. Symons is a noted scholar of China, with his focus on the Q'ing dynasty. Dr. Symons is the Executive Director of ASIANetwork and the William A. Freistat Chair for Studies in World Peace.
Lendol Calder, professor of history, became the second member of the Augustana faculty to earn Professor of the Year honors from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. Dr. Dorothy Parkander, professor emerita of English, was so honored in 1992 and Dr. Calder was recognized in 2010.
Jane Simonsen is an Associate Professor of History and Women's & Gender Studies, which she serve is the program chair starting with the 2010-2011 school year. Dr. Simonsen is the current president of the Mid-America chapter of the American Studies Association.
Thomas Mayer is a Professor of History, specializing in the 16th and 17th Europe. He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and has held numerous fellowships including at Harvard University and Villa I Tatti in Florence. During the 2007-08 academic year he was a fellow of the American Academy in Rome where he researched Galileo's trial.
Tom Bengtson is the Earl H. Beling Chair in Mathematics and mentors 4-5 students, designated Beling Scholars, conducting research projects in mathematics. These students present their research at state and national mathematics conferences, as well as the Augustana Celebration of Learning.
Peter Kivisto is a noted sociologist, former editor of The Sociological Quarterly, and author of over a dozen books on immigration, ethnic and racial studies, and social theory, most recently "Illuminating Social Life" (fifth edition, Pine Forge Press, 2010) and the forthcoming "Race and Ethnicity: The Basics (with Paul Croll, Routledge, 2012). Dr. Kivisto is the president (2010–2011) of the Midwest Sociological Society, holds the Richard A. Swanson Chair in Social Thought and chairs the Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Social Welfare at Augustana. Other members of the Department:
Paul Croll is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Augustana College. His research, focusing on whiteness, critical race theory, race and ethnic relations, social inequality, quantitative research methods, and statistics, has appeared in the journals Social Forces, Social Problems, and The American Sociologist. He has been influential in the management of the American Mosaic Project Survey.
Marsha Smith - Gerontologist and scholar of Asian Studies - is a board member of ASIANetwork (2008–2011) and former president of the Illinois Sociological Association (ISA).
Vicki Sommer - Social Welfare and Gender Studies professor - is also a former president of the ISA and a current board member of the American Men's Studies Association (AMSA). Dr. Sommer was also the program chair for the Women's & Gender Studies program and institute at Augustana for twelve years.