Highland Park College opened 121 years ago, in 1889. It was located in what is now Park Fair Mall, at the corner of Euclid Avenue and Second Street in the north part of Des Moines. In its first year the college offered students free tuition. There were 825 students the first year. By 1911 the enrollment was up to 2,000
students so the school was transferred to the management of the Presbyterian Church.
By 1920 the college merged with Des Moines College, a Baptist school, and with Central College, out of Pella. This merger created the original Des Moines University. While Central College still exists in Pella, the new Des Moines University closed just nine years later, amidst rioting.
In 1999, the University of Osteopathic Medicine and Health Sciences was renamed Des Moines University.