Indiana Wesleyan University

Indiana Wesleyan University
Indiana Wesleyan University
Motto Character. Scholarship. Leadership.
Established 1920
Type Private
Religious affiliation Wesleyan Church
Endowment US $149 million[1]
President Dr. Henry Smith
Provost Dr. David Wright
Academic staff 246
Admin. staff 1,113
Students 15,345[2]
Undergraduates 3,201[2]
Postgraduates 839[2]
Location United States Marion, IN, USA
Campus Suburban
345 acres (1.40 km2)
Former names Marion College (1920-1988)
Newspaper The Sojourn
Colors Red and Gray         
Athletics 18 Varsity Teams
NAIA Division II in men's and women's basketball, Division I in all other sports
NCCAA Division I
Nickname Wildcats
Mascot Wesley the Wildcat
Affiliations CCCU

Indiana Wesleyan University (commonly referred to as IWU) is a private, evangelical Christian, liberal arts university located in Marion, Indiana that is affiliated with the Wesleyan Church denomination. IWU is the largest member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities and the largest private university in Indiana.[3][4][5]



The University mission states: "Indiana Wesleyan University is a Christ-centered academic community committed to changing the world by developing students in character, scholarship, and leadership."[6] IWU's original campus, well recognized in Indiana for teacher education and a college of business, was known first as Marion Normal College (1890–1912) and then reopened as Marion Normal Institute (1912–1918).[7]

In 1918 the Marion Normal Institute relocated to Muncie, Indiana, and merged with the Indiana Normal Institute to form what would eventually become known as Ball State University. Because the Indiana Conference of The Wesleyan Methodist Church operated the Fairmount Bible School 10 miles (16 km) south of Marion, a group of local citizens asked them to move to the vacant property and open a normal school in Marion. So from 1918–1919 the conference raised $100,000 to endow the school, moved the Fairmount Bible School to Marion, and added a new teacher education program to become Marion College. The actual year of incorporation was 1919; however, the first classes were not offered until the fall of 1920, which became the official year of inception.[8]

From 1920 to 1988, Marion College operated as a developing liberal arts institution with growing programs, offering the Bachelor of Arts and the Bachelor of Science degrees since the first graduating class of 1921. A Master of Arts in Theology was begun in 1924 and offered continuously until 1950. Master’s degree programs were initiated again in 1979 in Ministerial Education and Community Health Nursing. Master’s degree programs were begun in Business in 1988, in Primary Care Nursing in 1994, and in Counseling in 1995.

A new administration was initiated by the Board of Trustees with the presidency of Dr. James Barnes in 1987. The name of the institution was changed to Indiana Wesleyan University in 1988, reflecting the influence of the institution across the state - well beyond the boundaries of the city of Marion, its connection with The Wesleyan Church and Christian higher education, and the development of increasing numbers of graduate programs.[8]

IWU Seal

Having already established a liberal arts college, in 1983, University leadership decided to begin offering courses and degrees to working adults during evening hours and Saturdays, forming what would eventually become the College of Adult and Professional Studies (CAPS). This decision proved to be very successful and massively affected IWU’s future, eventually eliminating the school's sizable debt and funding the revitalization and expansion of the Marion campus, transforming the college into a major evangelical Christian university. To this day, the CAPS provides the majority of the funding used in campus renovation and construction projects, keeping student tuition at a relatively low level compared with other similar colleges.[4]

Enrollment in the CAPS has grown substantially since 1985 when the first courses were offered. IWU has grown by more than 200 percent since 1990 to educate more than 15,000 students, over 12,000 of whom are taking courses online or at IWU's CAPS educational centers in Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky. Site-based classes are held at 11 education and conference centers: Indianapolis (2), Fort Wayne, Shelbyville, Kokomo, and Columbus, Indiana; Louisville and Lexington, Kentucky; and Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Dayton, Ohio. Classes are also held at more than 80 off-campus locations in Indiana.[1][9]

On July 1, 2006, Dr. Henry Smith succeeded Dr. James Barnes as president of IWU. Dr. Barnes served as president from 1987–2006 and is credited with transforming IWU from a small, struggling Christian college into one of the largest and most successful evangelical Christian universities in the world. Dr. Barnes served as the University's first Chancellor from 2006-2010. In 2010, the Student Center was renamed the Barnes Student Center, in his honor.[10]

In 2008, the Board of Trustees approved a motion to begin the process of establishing Wesley Seminary at Indiana Wesleyan University, an evangelical seminary affiliated with both the University and the Wesleyan Church. In 2009, the seminary was approved and accredited and opened for the fall 2009 semester. It currently offers the Master of Divinity degree along with other graduate theological degrees and will eventually have its own building, after the University received a substantial donation from the Green family, owners of the Hobby Lobby corporation. Wesley is the first officially affiliated seminary in the history of the Wesleyan Church.[11][12]

IWU is currently the fastest-growing university and the largest private university in Indiana. Among the 105 members of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (the main organization of evangelical colleges in the U.S. and Canada), IWU is its largest member with more than 15,000 students enrolled as of September 2008. The next largest member, Azusa Pacific University, has approximately 8,000 students. The University currently employs more than 200 full-time faculty, over 1,000 full-time administrative and staff members, and more than 1,000 adjunct faculty members. The University currently has an endowment of $45 million and an operating budget of $173 million.[1][13]


The University offers various liberal arts (including 87 undergraduate majors) and professional educational programs leading to the Associate of Arts, Associate of Science, Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Music, Master of Arts, Master of Science, Master of Education, Master of Business Administration, and Master of Divinity degrees, along with a doctoral program in Organizational Leadership.[14]

In 2000, the University organized its academic structure into three colleges; the College of Arts and Sciences (traditional four-year liberal arts education), the College of Graduate Studies (traditional semester-based graduate degrees), and the College of Adult and Professional Studies (non-traditional, accelerated programs for working adults). In 2009, the University realigned its academic structure into five Principal Academic Units: the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Adult and Professional Studies, the Graduate School, the School of Nursing, and Wesley Seminary.[15][16]


In 2007, the University was named "One of the Top Masters Universities in the Midwest" by U.S. News and World Report, ranked 62nd among 138 schools. In the 2008 edition, IWU jumped up to 31st in the rankings and in the 2009 edition, the University moved up to 28th.[17] In the 2010 edition, Indiana Wesleyan was moved to the new "Regional Universities" category and the University was ranked 33rd out of 172 universities in the Midwest region. In the 2011 edition, IWU moved up to 28th. Also in the 2011 edition, IWU was ranked 11th among Regional Universities in the "Great Schools, Great Prices" section of the report.[18]

The New Media Consortium recently recognized IWU as a world leader in its innovative approaches to the use of technology. IWU is the first member institution of the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities to be selected. President and CEO of the New Media Consortium, Dr. Larry Johnson, identifies IWU as "a place where smart, creative people are devising innovative solutions to challenges we all face in teaching and learning. The dedication to excellence here is palpable, and students and faculty are the clear beneficiaries."[19]

The University was one of 12 independent colleges chosen nationally to receive the Foundation of Excellence Award from the Policy Center on the First Year of College. As a result, the university is helping to develop programs and best practices that many institutions across the country will view as the gold standard for outstanding first-year programming.[19]

The Best Christian Workplaces Institute, a research-based organizational and human resources consulting firm, recently named the University one of the three Best Christian Workplaces in America. The Institute has surveyed 400-plus Christian organizations, with more than 40,000 employees, during the last four years.[19]

Two faculty members have recently received Fulbright research grants.[19]

The University has been named one of the "Top Ten Conservative Colleges" in the U.S. by the Young America's Foundation five years in a row.[20]

The University has the largest adult education program in the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. In 2008, the CCCU selected IWU to establish The Research Center in Adult Learning, a joint project with the CCCU.[19]


Indiana Wesleyan's total enrollment has grown substantially over the past 20 years, from a student total of 2,000 in 1987 to over 15,000 in 2008. This rapid growth has made IWU the largest institution in the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, the largest private university in the state of Indiana, and the fastest-growing university in Indiana.

The population of traditional students living in on-campus residence facilities has increased from 442 students in 1989 to nearly 2,600 in the fall of 2008. Currently, there are more than 3,200 undergraduate students and more than 800 graduate students enrolled at IWU's Marion campus.

Enrollment in the College of Adult and Professional Studies programs has increased more than 900 percent, from 1,250 students in 1989 to more than 12,000 students in the fall of 2008.[7]

Main campus

Indiana Wesleyan University is noted for its award-winning 345-acre (1.40 km2)[1] main campus in Marion, Indiana. During the past two decades, nearly $250 million has been spent on new construction and renovation, and the campus is valued in excess of $360 million. Since 1990, over 50 construction projects have been completed, including 20 residence halls and 16 academic/administrative buildings, along with 11 adult and professional studies structures around the Midwest. Fort Wayne-based architectural firm, Design Collaborative, has designed the majority of the campus facilities.[7][21]

As the University continues to grow, new facilities are constantly being built. Chief among them is the $22 million University Chapel (where required chapel services are held 3 days a week). The groundbreaking ceremony was held in April 2008 and the chapel was dedicated in January 2010. With 3,800 seats, the new chapel is one of the largest theaters in the Midwest. It has a larger capacity than the famous Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles, home of the Academy Awards. As one of the largest facilities of its kind in the nation, it was designed to attract major events to Marion, such as famous musical artists, renowned speakers, and national conventions. A few months after opening, the IWU Chapel was the site of a concert by the internationally-recognized band, Switchfoot.[22][23]

Society of World Changers

The Indiana Wesleyan University Society of World Changers was established in 2003 "to honor exemplary individuals who are impacting their professions with a vibrant Christian faith, who embody the mission and vision of the University, and whose lives demonstrate ways students can become world changers."[24]

Inductees receive their awards in the fall or spring (depending on the schedule of the recipient), where they receive an honorary doctorate degree and have a life size bronze bust unveiled in the rotunda of the Jackson Library.[25][26][27]

Society of World Changers Inductees
Name Occupation Year Inducted
Bob Briner Former producer, sports executive, and author 2003
Frank Peretti Christian author 2004
James Dobson Founder of Focus on the Family, author, radio host 2005
Benjamin Carson Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital 2007
Tony Dungy Former Indianapolis Colts head coach 2008
Joni Eareckson Tada Paralyzed Christian author and radio host 2009
Bill Gaither & Gloria Gaither Prominent singers and songwriters of Gospel Music 2010
S. Truett Cathy Founder and CEO of Chick-fil-A 2011


The University's music department is most noted for its premier choir, the University Chorale, directed by music department chair, Dr. Todd Guy. Throughout the year, the eighty voice ensemble regularly travels to many states, singing in churches across the country and performing before thousands of people each year. Most notably, the Chorale has performed several times at the internationally recognized Crystal Cathedral in Orange County, California and Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The group has also toured throughout Europe on several occasions, and recently was selected to sing at St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. The choir is made up of students in a variety of majors. Auditions are held at the beginning of each school year as hundreds of students audition for the open spots.[28] Other ensembles at IWU include University Singers, University Orchestra, Wind Ensemble, One Voice, His Instrument, and Master's Praise. These groups perform on campus and regionally on a regular basis. Throughout the school year, students also perform a wide variety of solo and joint recitals. The Phillippe Performing Arts Center is home to the IWU Music Department.


The University offers nine intercollegiate sports for both men and women. The Wildcats compete in the Mid-Central College Conference and are the conference's winningest school. IWU is also a member of the NAIA Division II in men and women's basketball and NCCAA Division I.[29]

IWU has won the MCC Conference Commissioners Cup a record eight consecutive years, and placed among the Top 20 in the NAIA United States Sports Academy Directors' Cup Standings nine straight years. The University was awarded the 2008 NCCAA President's Cup as the best overall athletic program in the nation, and shared the award with Cedarville University in 2009, the fourth time IWU has won the award. IWU has also won 9 national championships in the last three years alone.[30]


The men's sports began MCC play in 1968 and the women's sports began MCC play in 1986. The University holds the record for MCC conference championships with 121 titles. The University has 24 national championship titles, including 1 NAIA national championship from the record-setting 2006-2007 women's basketball team that went 38-0. The other 23 titles are NCCAA national championships.[31]


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  8. ^ a b Elder, Marjorie. The Lord, The Landmarks, The Life. Marion: Indiana Wesleyan University, 1994.
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  10. ^ Indiana Wesleyan University
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  19. ^ a b c d e Indiana Wesleyan University | Alumni
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  29. ^ Indiana Wesleyan University Athletic Department
  30. ^
  31. ^ Indiana Wesleyan University Athletic Department - Quick Facts

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