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Multnomah Moves Toward University Status


Multnomah Bible College and Biblical Seminary will soon exist under the institutional name Multnomah University. In a unanimous vote, Multnomah's board of trustees resolved to take the necessary steps to become a university by July 1, 2008. The college and seminary names, missions, and curriculum emphasis will remain unchanged, but they will be included under the broader institutional name Multnomah University. Multnomah's faculty, president, and board of trustees were motivated by key strategic reasons to pursue university status.

Student-centered, Ministry-motivated

"Over the years, we have received numerous requests from students intending to serve overseas as career missionaries," said Dr. Daniel R. Lockwood, president of Multnomah Bible College and Biblical Seminary. "Some encountered immigration obstacles in entering certain countries if officials learned they were graduates of a Bible college or a seminary." It was also found that in some countries, the word ‘college' refers to high-school level education, while ‘university' is widely recognized as a term for baccalaureate-level education.

Last fall, this need for unfettered student placement intensified when the college began planning our new teacher education program," Dr. Lockwood said. Several Christian educators with public school experience pointed out that our graduates could face severe employment obstacles with the name ‘Bible' on their diplomas. "All of us consider this program, which certifies qualified men and women to teach at the elementary level in the public school, to be a mission-fulfilling and ministry-enhancing program. The faculty sought to remove any unnecessary obstacle to our students' vocational goals."

Future Strategic Planning

"With our four seminary masters programs, we qualify with the State of Oregon to become a university," said Dr. Lockwood. "However, some of our planned graduate-level programs do not fit a seminary curriculum. Our Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) degree, scheduled to begin this January, is a case in point; and other master-level programs (e.g., TESOL and Humanitarian Studies) are in our long-term strategic plan. Faculty and trustees anticipate a day where a future Multnomah Graduate School division would become necessary. An appropriate name like Multnomah University would more accurately reflect our developing institutional structure."

What it Doesn't Mean

Dr. Lockwood and the board are quick to point out several things the name change will not mean. First, it does not signal a change in Multnomah's mission. "We will still remain committed to ‘educating, equipping, and enriching Christians for leadership in their church, community, and world,'" Dr. Lockwood said. The name change will not eliminate the Bible and theology core required for every Multnomah student.

Furthermore, university status will not eliminate the two divisions of Multnomah: Multnomah Bible College and Multnomah Biblical Seminary. Both divisions will continue to exist under the umbrella name of Multnomah University.

Finally, the name change will not begin a transition from a Bible college to a Christian liberal arts college. A Bible college possesses three fundamental values

  1. A solid, required core of Bible and theology for every student
  2. A strong, campus-wide emphasis on the spiritual life
  3. Sustained Christian ministry experience concurrent with one's academic learning

"These three values will continue to characterize Multnomah Bible College and Biblical Seminary," Dr. Lockwood said.

For more information regarding Multnomah's university status, please consult the official "Multnomah University Blog at You may also contact Robert Leary at or 503.251.6451.