Return to Campus Plan for Fall 2020

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Timeline

1909 - Messiah College is founded

Messiah College is founded by the Brethren in Christ Church under the presidency of S.R. Smith, a church leader and Harrisburg businessman. Its original name was Messiah Bible School and Missionary Training Home, and the school was located on Twelfth Street in Harrisburg, Pa. It began as a school offering high school curriculum and a few Bible programs.

1910 - Classes begin in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

Twelve students enroll for the fall semester. Tuition is free and room and board cost a whopping $.50/week. Meal plans were $2.75 per week.

1912 - Relocation

Messiah Bible School and Missionary Training Home relocates to Grantham, Pa. where students and educators have more classroom space as well as a campus library, dining hall and chapel.

1917 - Second president

C.N. Hostetter becomes president, replacing S.R. Smith who passed away in 1916.

The fate of Messiah Bible School and Missionary Training Home is precarious. A group of faithful Brethren in Christ leaders and members commit themselves to the continuation of the school and raise $4,800 in 15 minutes.

1920 - Inching towards becoming a college

Messiah begins to offer college-level courses.

1923 - Third president and name change

Messiah changes its name to Messiah Bible School and welcomes Enos Hess as its third president.

1930 - Students have a voice

Hapantes, the first student government organization, is formed.

1934 - Fourth president

C.N. Hostetter Jr. is named the fourth president of Messiah.

1951 - Name change

Messiah Bible College officially changes its name to Messiah College.

1960 - Fifth president

Arthur Climenhaga is named as the fifth president of Messiah College. In addition, Messiah chooses the falcon as its mascot.

1964 - Sixth president

D. Ray Hostetter `48 becomes the sixth president of Messiah College. The College would experience great growth during his 30-year tenure.

1965 - Noteworthy events

Messiah merges with Upland College in California (formerly called Beulah College), and former U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower visits campus.

1968 - Messiah moves into Philly

Messiah College partners with Temple University and opens the Philadelphia campus. This was the first collaboration between a Christian and secular college in the United States.

1970 - J-Term begins

The first ever J-Term session was introduced to students in January 1970.

1982 - Going green

Students in Dr. Rich Stevick's "Humankind and the Environment" course encourage campus to begin recycling paper by placing boxes next to all trash receptacles. The student group Earthkeepers is also organized.

1983 - New ventures

Messiah athletics joins the MAC (Middle Atlantic Conference).

The College also formed a partnership with Daystar Institute in Nairobi, Kenya.

1986 - Jimmy Carter visits Messiah

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter visits campus on Feb. 18, 1986 as the inaugural speaker for the Religion and Society Lecture Series.

1994 - Seventh president named

Rodney Sawatsky is announced as the next president of Messiah College.

1995 - Solar power

In 1995, Messiah competed for the first time with its solar car, Genesis, in Sunrayce, a national competition of solar-powered vehicles.

1997 - Service commitment established

The Agape Center for Service and Learning is founded.

1998 - First Rhodes Scholar

Joy Yu-Ho Wang '98 becomes Messiah's first Rhodes Scholar.

1999 - Oakes Museum opens

With the completion of the Jordan Science Center, Messiah College opened the Oakes Museum, a 40,000-square foot museum with Smithsonian-quality collections of North American and African wildlife, seashells, bird eggs, insects, minerals and fossils.

2000 - Creation of the Collaboratory

Messiah College authorizes the creation of the Collaboratory for Strategic Partnerships and Applied Research, an effort to organize co-curricular projects in the engineering department that has expanded into an organization focused on education, collaboration, innovation and service.

2004 - Eighth president

Kim Phipps is named the eighth president of Messiah College.

Ray Crist '16, visiting professor of environmental sciences, retires at age 104.

Harrisburg housing is available to students at the College's Harrisburg Institute.

2008 - Candidates, computers and championships

On April 13, Messiah hosts The Compassion Forum, a nationally televised, unprecedented conversation with presidential candidates on the integration of faith and public policy.

Messiah begins offering online courses during the summer.

2009 - Graduate programs launched

Messiah adds its first graduate program--a master's degree in counseling.

Messiah celebrates a century of God's faithfulness during its centennial year, 2009-2010.

2012 - Celebrating 50 years of athletics

In celebration of Messiah’s 50th year of intercollegiate athletics, Tony Dungy, best-selling author, sports analyst and former NFL head coach, and his wife Lauren visit campus and deliver a lecture to a sold-out crowd.

2013 - Opening of the High Center

The Calvin and Janet High Center for Worship and Performing Arts is completed providing new classroom and rehearsal spaces for the departments of music and theatre and dance. The High Center includes Parmer Hall, a magnificent worship and performance venue equipped with a pipe organ and state-of-the-art acoustics.

Messiah College also successfully completed its Centennial Campaign, a $40 million fundraising effort to construct the Calvin and Janet High Center for Worship and Performing Arts and to raise funds for student-focused initiatives and scholarship endowments. The College exceeded its $40 million goal by $6.2 million.

2015 - DNP approved

The Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing approves a new Doctor of Nursing Practice-Family Nurse Practioner (DNP-FNP) Program.

2018 - Announcement that Messiah College will become Messiah University

The Messiah College Board of Trustees announced that it approved Messiah College moving to university status, effective July 1, 2020.

2019 - 10 years of graduate programs

Messiah celebrates 10 successful years of graduate programs.

2020 - Messiah College becomes Messiah University

Messiah officially becomes Messiah University on July 1, 2020, and adds its first online undergraduate adult degree programs to its curriculum--expanding its educational mission to another emerging student population.