150 Years of History: A Vision for Eternity 

Bethel presidents reflect on the history, mission, and vision of Bethel University

Bethel’s founder, John Alexis Edgren, once said, “The effect of your influence does not end with time. It will extend into eternity.” Join two influential Bethel leaders—President Ross Allen and President Emeritus Jay Barnes—as they reflect on Bethel's 150-year history and cast a vision for the years to come.

President Ross Allen on the significance of Bethel’s 150-year history
Like never before, our world needs the courage of committed leaders who will stand up for faith, justice, and truth. And Bethel’s been preparing for this moment for 150 years.
President Ross Allen on the boldness of Bethel’s mission

Throughout the course of its history, Bethel University has held fast to its commitment to providing Christ-centered education—preparing graduates to renew minds, live out biblical truth, transform culture, and advance the gospel.

President Ross Allen on his prayer for Bethel
Allen has been inspired by the words of Carl H. Lundquist, Bethel’s third president: “The big question about any undertaking is not ‘Can we do it?’ but ‘Is God in it?’ If He is, anything is possible.”
President Emeritus Jay Barnes on John Alexis Edgren’s philosophy of education
As Bethel's founder John Alexis Edgren said, we “measure our performance by what God accomplishes through our graduates after they have been prepared at Bethel to go out into the world to serve.” From 1871 through today, this commitment reflects Bethel’s unchanging mission.
President Emeritus Jay Barnes on Bethel remaining mission-true 
History has brought a variety of challenges that have threatened to push Bethel away from its mission. But the university’s leaders have been remarkably committed to maintaining Bethel’s mission as a faith-based institution.
President Emeritus Jay Barnes on the distinctiveness of a Bethel education
For 150 years, Bethel has been committed to bringing the presence of Christ into the midst of the world’s diversity and complexity. “We have answers that the rest of the world may not have,” Barnes says. “And the presence of Christ needs to be in the middle of it.”

150 years of history. And we're just beginning.

From its humble beginnings, Bethel has become a thriving, faith-filled learning community that’s prepared over 50,000 graduates—and that’s something worth celebrating. We hope you’ll join in the festivities, whether that means coming to campus for an event or diving deeper into Bethel’s rich history online.

Celebrate with us