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The P.E.O. Sisterhood is an international philanthropic educational organization with over 225,000 members in the U.S. and Canada, including 325 local chapters and more than 11,500 members in Missouri!

Missouri is home to Cottey College, owned and supported by P.E.O.s

One of the most unique institutions in American higher education, Cottey College is the only all-women’s college owned and supported by women.

The P.E.O. Sisterhood is an international philanthropic organization where women CELEBRATE the advancement of women, EDUCATE women through scholarships, grants, awards, loans, and stewardship of Cottey College, and MOTIVATE women to achieve their highest aspirations. 

P.E.O. was founded on January 21, 1869, by seven students at Iowa Wesleyan College in Mount Pleasant, Iowa. Today, P.E.O. has grown from that tiny membership of seven to almost a quarter of a million members in chapters throughout the U.S. and Canada, with headquarters in Des Moines, Iowa.

P.E.O. came to Missouri on October 3, 1886, when the Missouri State Chapter was organized in Unionville. We have more than 300 active chapters in Missouri and more than 12,000 active members!

P.E.O. is an organization of women, by women and for women. P.E.O. supports women both through friendships and the bonds of sisterhood and through educational scholarships, grants, awards and loans.

P.E.O. is one of the oldest women's organizations in North America. What started as a bond of friendship among seven young women in 1869 has grown to almost 6,000 local chapters with more than 225,000 members in the United States and Canada. A legacy passed down through generations of women, P.E.O. has deep roots in local communities and our influence reaches to all corners of the globe.

In 1927, the P.E.O. Sisterhood accepted Cottey College as a gift from Virginia Alice Cottey Stockard. Nevada, Missouri, is its home. This made Cottey College the only nonsectarian college owned and supported by women.

Cottey College is an independent, liberal arts and sciences college for women. Since 1884, the college has offered young women the opportunity to learn and grow into leaders, role models, and confident individuals.

Today, Cottey's unique combination of women's-only education, high academic standards, focus on leadership development, commitment to an international experience for every student, and a motivated, high-energy community is at the heart of its success.

A Missouri P.E.O., Dr. Jann Rudd Weitzel, began her position as the 12th President of Cottey College on June 15, 2015.

Friendship is the cornerstone of P.E.O. - Women over the age of 18 are eligible to be considered for P.E.O. membership, which is by invitation. Membership begins at the local chapter. Women can become members after being introduced and invited by current members of a local chapter. Talking to a member in your community will give you an opportunity to find out more about their chapter and what P.E.O. means to them.
Learn more about P.E.O. membership

A nationally ranked, fully accredited, independent, liberal arts/sciences college for women located in Nevada, Missouri, Cottey College has been owned/supported by P.E.O. since 1927 and offers baccalaureate and associate degrees in a variety of majors. A debt-free institution, Cottey welcomes women from around the world.

2019 U.S. News & World Report regional rankings

  • #1 Best Value School
  • #3 Lowest Student Debt Load at Graduation
  • #3 Largest Proportion of International Students
  • #9 Best Regional Colleges

2019 College Consensus

  • #2 Best Colleges in the Midwest
  • #2 Best Colleges & Universities in Missouri
  • #4 Best Women’s College in the Nation
  • #18 Best Small College in the Nation