Grace University has a long lasting reputation of developing servant leaders for the home, the church and the world through excellence in biblically-integrated education. Here students receive a life changing experience in a personal and discipling environment, and all for the glory of God. Review the links below to learn more about our history, educational goals, beliefs, and more.
Grace University was born in prayer as a group of ten Mennonite ministers met in Omaha, Nebraska, on June 1, 1943, to pray and plan for a college-level institution that would be fundamental in doctrine, vitally spiritual in emphasis, and interdenominational in scope. The need for such Bible-centered education became increasingly apparent to these evangelical pastors. A number of them shared this common concern with each other during the commencement activities at the Oklahoma Bible Academy in Meno, Oklahoma, in 1942. So in the providence of God, they selected Omaha as a central location for the meeting that led to the founding of Grace Bible Institute.
n his book, The Story of Grace, Paul Kuhlmann documents many of the miraculous answers to prayer evident during the first 35 years of the University’s history. It is a testimony of God’s gracious provision and direction. The student enrollment grew rapidly in the early years so that by 1949 it had reached 331. The diversity of the student body in recent years indicates its interdenominational nature and widespread appeal to students who desire a Bible-centered college education.
In his book, Committed to the Vision: 50 Years by the Grace of God, Harold J. Berry gives highlights of each presidential administration and focuses attention on those who have served Grace University 25 years or more. The Board of Trustees, Advisory Council, administrators, faculty and staff provide a rich spiritual heritage for the University.
Academic programs have been expanded and upgraded to reach each generation; the administrative structure has been revised and faculty has grown in size. Most significantly, the University has remained vigilant in upholding the fundamentals of the faith maintaining, without reservation, that the Bible is the inspired Word of God. In 1976, when a change of name was considered, “Grace Bible Institute” became “Grace College of the Bible.”
The physical plant has been expanded through the construction and purchase of additional facilities. The expansions include Suckau Chapel (basement, 1949; main floor, 1957); Schmidt Hall (1962); Harold D. Burkholder Center (1967) which includes the Jim Classen Gymnasium (2003); and the Donald J. Tschetter Academic Building (1975).
In 1977, the University purchased the St. Catherine’s Hospital Center for Continuing Care. This acquisition added nearly 2.7 acres to the campus and doubled facility space, making it the largest and most significant property acquisition in the history of the University. Three wings - Stanford Hall, Rieger Hall, and Waldo Harder Hall–have been utilized as dormitory facilities. A fourth wing houses administrative offices, conference rooms, classrooms, music rooms and a fifth wing houses the faculty offices. Additional facilities in the complex will be renovated, as needed, for student housing, classrooms, and offices. Each facility expansion was an adventure of faith and a distinct answer to prayer.
In 1993, President Neal McBride proposed that Grace consider a new identity as “Grace University.” During the 1993-94 academic year, a feasibility study for restructuring was accomplished. In May 1994, the Trustees formally adopted restructuring as Grace University, which consists of three colleges: Grace College of the Bible, Grace College of Graduate Studies, and Grace College of Continuing Education.
On July 1, 1995, the institution’s new corporate identity as Grace University became official. Today, President James P. Eckman leads Grace University.
In 2003, the Jim Classen Gymnasium was dedicated providing physical fitness and athletic opportunities to the campus community. With this construction, the Duerksen Center was renamed the Harold D. Burkholder Center, and the dining commons was named in honor of Vernon Duerksen.