Bethel University (Minnesota)

Bethel University
Type Private
Established 1871
Affiliation Converge
Endowment $35.2 million[1]
President James H. Barnes III, Ed.D.
Academic staff
Students 6,532[2]
Undergraduates 2,800
Postgraduates 1,423
Other students
578 (Seminary)
Location Arden Hills, Minnesota, USA
Campus Suburban
Colors Navy blue and Vegas Gold         
Athletics NCAA Division IIIMIAC
Sports 18 varsity teams
Nickname Royals
Mascot Roy the Lion

Bethel University is an evangelical Christian higher education institution with approximately 6,000 students from 36 countries enrolled in undergraduate, graduate, seminary, and adult education programs. The main campus is located in Arden Hills, Minnesota, a suburb of St. Paul, and the seminary has a second campus in San Diego.

The university has a performing arts program, including Benson Great Hall, a concert hall, and The Bethel Choir, the university's 75-voice concert choir which has performed throughout Europe and Scandinavia.

Fully accredited by the Higher Learning Commission—North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, the university is also a member of the Christian College Consortium. Bethel University is affiliated with and supported by the congregations of Converge, formerly known as the Baptist General Conference.


Bethel University began in Chicago, Illinois as a seminary for Baptist immigrants from Sweden. John Alexis Edgren opened a department for Scandinavian theological students in the fall of 1871 in the basement of First Swedish Baptist Church in Chicago starting in 1871.[4] The seminary merged with Bethel Academy in Saint Paul, Minnesota in 1914. In 1931 the Academy became Bethel Junior College. The addition of a four-year liberal arts college program created Bethel College and Seminary in 1947. The school relocated from St. Paul to Arden Hills, Minnesota in 1972. Beginning in 2004, the institution changed its name to Bethel University.


Bethel University is divided into four different schools, each focusing on a different area:

College of Arts and Sciences

The College of Arts and Sciences offers 66 majors (78 including emphases within majors) and 41 minors (42 including emphases within minors).[5] According to Bethel Magazine, the freshman class of 2016 has 660 students, 59% of which are females.[6]

College of Adult and Professional Studies

The College of Adults & Professional Studies offers both Bachelor of Arts Degrees[7] and Associate of Arts Degrees.[8]

Graduate school

Bethel offers programs leading to the master's degree in a range of fields, including education, nursing, communication, and counseling psychology. Beginning in 2013, Bethel began offering a Master of Science in Physician Assistant. At the doctorate level, Bethel confers the Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Educational Administration.[9]

Bethel Seminary

Bethel Seminary has locations in Arden Hills, San Diego, and online programs[10]

It offers Master of Divinity programs at all locations, as well as several Master of Arts and Certificate programs that vary depending on the site.

Facilities – Main Arden Hills Campus

Main Education Buildings

There are six main education buildings located at the center of Bethel University's main campus in Arden Hills, Minnesota. They run Southwest/Northeast and are connected on the first three floors by weather-protected skyways and tunnels.

Starting from the Southwest and running to the Northeast the buildings are as follows (with abbreviations in parentheses): Benson Great Hall and Lundquist Community Life Center (CLC), Academic Center (AC), Brushaber Commons (BC), Clauson Fine Arts Center (CC), Hagstrom Student Services Center (HC), and Robertson Physical Education Center (RC).

Campus housing

The College of Arts and Sciences has four freshman residence halls on campus. Three—Bodien Hall, Getsch Hall, and Edgren Hall—encircle a cul-de-sac just on the south side of the academic buildings and are informally known as Freshman Hill. The fourth, Nelson Hall, is located nearby on the north side of the buildings and is the oldest building on Bethel University's current campus in Arden Hills. All four freshman residence halls (with the exception of six 6-person suites at either end of Nelson Hall) are set up as two-person rooms and have one bathroom per floor per building wing.

Two residence halls, Arden Village and Lissner Hall, mostly house sophomores. Both consist of six-person suites; however, Lissner is a single, 4-story building that arranges the suites on floors while Arden Village is a collection of townhomes on both sides of Nelson hall. Lissner is farther from the main buildings than Arden Village, but it is the newest residence hall on campus; it was completed in the summer of 2005.

Two residence complexes, North Village and Fountain Terrace, house mostly juniors, although many sophomores live in North Village as well. As apartment-style residence halls, North Village and Fountain Terrace offer a full kitchen in every suite, and suite capacity varies between 3 and 6. North Village is a collection of five buildings formerly used as housing for Bethel Seminary students, and it is located on-campus within walking distance of the academic buildings. Fountain Terrace, meanwhile, is a renovated apartment complex located about 2 miles (3.2 km) west of the main campus. For convenience, Bethel runs shuttles between both complexes and the main buildings frequently.

Heritage Hall is a suite-style residence hall, of which the Lissner floor plans are very similar, houses juniors and seniors.

Some students choose to live off-campus.

New University Commons Building

Commons Building in 2010

The Brushaber Commons connects to the main academic buildings at the junction between the Academic Center and Clauson Center. It contains the college bookstore; three new dining options including the Monson Dining Center, the Royal Grounds coffee shop, and the 3900 Grill (an À la carte restaurant to replace the old Market Square); a new board room; office space for the Office of Student Life and the Bethel Student Association; and a brand-new admissions guest center.

Construction on the 30 million dollar University Commons project began on May 19, 2007, and was completed in the spring of 2009. The building project was headed by the former Vice President for Campus Services, Bruce Kunkel.

On June 27, 2008, the building was renamed "George K. Brushaber Commons" in commemoration of the recently retired president, George K. Brushaber.

In 2011 a new admissions guest center was constructed between the Clauson Center building and the Brushaber Commons.

In 2014 the University purchased a new building off campus, to begin serving as a location for many adult and graduate programs, as well as office space. The new building was named the "Anderson Center".


Bethel University offers a wide range of undergraduate and graduate programs. It regularly achieves good ranks in the U.S. News & World Report, ranking 21st in the midwest region.[13] Undergraduates leave Bethel for positions in industry, nursing, business, social service, community organizations, and many other fields. Graduates have gone to excel at top graduate schools in the United States, including Yale, Princeton, UC Berkeley,[14] the University of Chicago, Stanford University and many others.

In the last ten years there has been a strong emphasis on study abroad, and Bethel offers programs on every inhabited continent and highly encourages its students to study for a semester or, at least, a January term in some other part of the world.


All full-time students in the College of Arts and Sciences are expected to abide by the Covenant for Life Together. This lifestyle agreement focuses on living a Christian life of personal morality, which includes a respect for all persons and ethnic traditions, refraining from extramarital sex, gambling, illegal drugs, and tobacco in any form. It also states Bethel students should live a biblical lifestyle, which would mean staying away from gossip and gluttony. The goal of the Covenant is to build a community of faith and learning centered around common values.

The consumption of alcohol year round was previously prohibited by the Covenant. As of June 25, 2008 it is allowed when the school year is not in session, with the exception of Bethel University sponsored events, or students engaging in full-time Bethel University employment during the summer months. Alcohol consumption by full-time students in the College of Arts and Sciences is still prohibited during the academic year.[15]


Over the last decade Bethel University has embraced a call to Biblical Reconciliation. The ministry of reconciliation is dedicated to breaking down social divisions and barriers in order to bring people together, encouraging them to embrace their common bond of humanity rather than emphasizing the differences between them. In the case of Bethel this especially refers to the idea of racial reconciliation. Initially, the push toward reconciliation arose as a reaction to racially charged incidents that happened in the 2002–2003 school year.[16] Since that time Bethel University has made great strides towards reconciliation. These include creating a Major in Reconciliation Studies housed in the Department of Anthropology and Sociology. Additionally, the University has created the Bethel Anti-Racism and Reconciliation Commission (BAARC) using materials and processes developed by the Minnesota Collaborative Anti-Racism Initiative(MCARI). The University has also sought to emphasize this issue through its core value statements, describing the biblical qualities of disciples of Jesus. The seventh of the core values reads: "We are reconcilers— honoring the worth and dignity of people from all races and purposely seeking to create a community that reflects the diversity of the Body of Christ."

Student publications

Bethel University has three student publications, The Clarion, the Coeval, and the Bethel Table Tent.


The Bethel University athletic teams are known as the Royals. The university competes at the NCAA Division III level in 18 intercollegiate sports and is a member of the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC).

BU also competes at the club level for certain sports, including:


Notable alumni

Notable faculty

See also


  1. As of April, 2012. "Bethel Foundation, Bethel University Minnesota". Investment Results. Bethel University. Retrieved November 1, 2013.
  2. "Annual Report". Annual Report. Office of the President, Bethel University. Retrieved November 1, 2013.
  3. NAICU – Member Directory Archived November 9, 2015, at the Wayback Machine.
  4. John Alexis Edgren 1871–1887, retrieved 19 November 2012
  5. Majors & Minors, retrieved 19 November 2012
  6. Westlund, Michelle, ed. (2012). "Class of 2016 by the Numbers". Bethel Magazine. Arden Hills: Bethel University: 2.
  7. Bachelor's Degrees, retrieved 19 November 2012
  8. Associate's Degrees, retrieved 19 November 2012
  9. Graduate School Academics, retrieved 19 November 2012
  10. "Locations". Retrieved 27 April 2012.
  11. "St. Paul Programs". Retrieved 27 April 2012.
  12. "San Diego Programs". Retrieved 27 April 2012.
  13. "Bethel St Paul". Retrieved 13 March 2014. Bethel University's ranking in the 2014 edition of Best Colleges is Regional Universities (Midwest), 21.
  14. "Alumni Success". Retrieved 27 April 2012.
  15. "Covenant Changes". Retrieved 27 April 2012.
  16. "Bethel college says it won't tolerate recent hate crimes". Retrieved 27 April 2012.
  17. Murray, Rheana (9 August 2012). "Abby and Brittany Hensel, conjoined 22-year-old twins, get their own reality TV series – Conjoined twins Abby and Brittany Hensel, 22, will be featured in their own new reality series, TLC's 'Abby and Brittany,' as they graduate college together and seek a first job.". New York Daily News. Retrieved 10 August 2012.
  18. Smith, Roberta (23 July 2010). "Doug Ohlson, Painter of Vivid Abstracts, Dies at 73 – Obituary". NY Times. Retrieved 27 April 2012.
  19. Painter, Kristen Leigh (2016-07-20). "Obituary: Professor, nonprofit leader Alvera Mickelsen blended feminism and Christian teaching". Star Tribune. Retrieved 2016-08-06.

External links

Coordinates: 45°3′25.3″N 93°9′41.3″W / 45.057028°N 93.161472°W / 45.057028; -93.161472

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