History

Old picture of water fountain

For more thanĀ 70 years, Bethel University has been educating students with the same mission. Though many things have changed since the college first opened in 1947, the Christ-centered, academically challenging focus has remained steadfast.

Institutional Profile

Currently composed of 1,500 traditional and adult and graduate students from 35 states and 10 countries, and 250 full-time employees, Bethel University is in a city of 250,000 residents (Mishawaka), five colleges (including, nearby, the University of Notre Dame, Indiana University South Bend, Ivy Tech Community College-South Bend, Holy Cross College, Saint Mary's College), the second largest shopping district in the state of Indiana, 15,000 businesses, 50 parks, and Mishawaka's own renovated, three-mile Riverwalk development. Resort venues on Lake Michigan are 45 minutes away. Read our full profile.

Our Founders

The roots of Bethel University run deep.  Mennonite Brethren in Christ (MBC) founder Daniel Brenneman first called for a training institute in 1893. Then, for many years, J. A. Huffman pressed the case for a Christian liberal arts college, even suggesting the name Bethel, meaning “house of God.” Formal church approval finally came in 1944, and land was purchased in Mishawaka, Indiana during 1946 under the leadership of Q. J. Everest, Seth Rohrer, and Warren Manges. Twenty-seven-year-old Woodrow I. Goodman (1947-1959) was appointed the first president, at that time the youngest in the United States.

Stories Through the Decades

In the spring 2017 edition of Bethel Magazine we featured stories from seven decades, as we celebrated the college's 70th anniversary.

Hear voices of the past in these engaging alumni stories.

Through the Years