On Monday, May 6, Bethel College officially began operating as Bethel University. The transition has been more than a year in the making, since the Bethel College Board of Trustees voted to change the name in April 2018.
Bethel University’s website is now BethelUniversity.edu and faculty, staff and student email addresses have changed to reflect this domain. New social media handles are @BethelIndiana for Instagram and Twitter, and @BethelUniversityIndiana for Facebook and YouTube. Secondary social media accounts – for athletic teams, academic departments, and other campus groups – are also in the process of being updated to reflect the new name.
Randy Lehman, Chairman of the Board of Trustees and a Bethel graduate, says, “As we look to our 75th year, Bethel College is excited to transition to Bethel University, a name that better defines who we are now and where we’re going in the future. Simply stated, with bachelor’s, master’s and online programs, and an increasingly international student body, it’s the category in which we fit. Bethel is ready for a name that matches our advancing institution.”
As Bethel expects to expand graduate, online and, potentially, doctoral programs, the name change removes any barriers that future students (especially international and online) might encounter in understanding the depth and quality of Bethel’s academic programs. This new name positions Bethel for even more reach and international impact.
In making the decision, the board took into consideration four months of research that included focus groups of alumni, current and prospective students, faculty, staff, donors and community members; conversations with other institutions who had made the change from college to university; an audit of campus branding to determine the impact of the change; and a survey to about 20,000 Bethel constituents. This research informed the unanimous decision to make the change to university, as well as the choice of the final name. Several options were considered, and Bethel University received the support of a large majority of those surveyed.
“Bethel alumni and friends should know that, although the name is changing, Bethel’s mission is not,” says Lehman. “We remain steadfast in our commitment to provide a Christ-centered education that equips leaders to make a Kingdom impact in the church and the world. We will continue to have a community atmosphere where relationships and spiritual formation are at the core of the student experience.”
A committee of Bethel leadership was appointed to oversee all aspects of the transition. The institution’s logo and seal were updated, but the mascot, motto and school colors remain the same.