Coordinates: 43°05′00″N 96°10′02″W / 43.083312°N 96.16711°W / 43.083312; -96.16711
Dordt College is a private, Christian, liberal arts college located in Sioux Center, Iowa, United States. It was founded in 1955 and is affiliated with the Christian Reformed Church. The college name is a reference to the Synod of Dordt (Dordrecht).
Dordt annually enrolls about 1,300 students from more than 30 states, seven Canadian provinces, and 10 other countries, with a student-faculty ratio of 15:1. U.S. News and World Report has included Dordt in its America’s Best Colleges listing for 18 straight years (since 1993), including a six top 10 rankings in the Midwest region’s Best Baccalaureate Colleges. In 2008 it was tied for #3 in the Midwest region.
The college is committed to a Reformed, Christian perspective that embraces the Bible as the word of God. The college offers 90 programs of study that lead to Associate of Arts, Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science in Engineering, Bachelor of Social Work, Bachelor of Science in Nursing and Master of Education degrees.
Dordt College was founded as Midwest Christian Junior College in 1953. In 1954, a group of men from local Christian Reformed Churches in Iowa, South Dakota and Minnesota agreed to establish the college in Sioux Center. At this time, it was tentatively referred to as Midwest Christian Junior College. The first classes were held at the college in the fall of 1955 with about 40 students.
In April 1956, the name of the institution was changed to Dordt College. This name was chosen to honor a historic 17th century Reformed church meeting called the Synod of Dordt that took place in the Netherlands in 1618-19. "[T]he name 'Dordt' will constantly remind us of the heritage in which we are rooted and the goals we should strive for. It will give us a constant source of inspiration to continue in the faith of the fathers. It will tell all people everywhere just exactly what we are and what we stand for." "Dordt College, as no other name, will express the distinctiveness of our school and the purpose for which it was established, The Spirit of Dordt, its strivings to seek the glory of God in all its thinking...its efforts to be faithful to the Word of God in every detail, summarizes all the things our school should strive for..."
The first graduating class consisted of 18 students in 1957. The first students to earn B.A. degrees graduated in 1965.
Dordt offers over 90 programs of study with 30 majors and 11 pre-professional programs of study. The core is drawn from various academic disciplines—such as language, natural science, and social science. These courses integrate the character and scope of Christian perspective. They provide insight into the nature and demands of contemporary Christian living and help students understand how various aspects of contemporary life are interrelated and how the global culture has developed. These general education courses also supply students with the basic quantitative, analytic, lingual, and physical skills that are essential to the program overall and to their tasks as citizens.
Dordt is accredited to grant bachelor and Master of Education degrees by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Furthermore, the engineering program is ABET accredited, the nursing program is accredited by the National League for Nursing and the Iowa Board of Nursing and the social work program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.
Dordt offers more than 25 off-campus study opportunities in countries around the world through its affiliation with the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. These countries include Australia, China, France, Ghana, Honduras, Hungary, Mexico, the Netherlands, Spain, Uganda, and the United Kingdom. Off-campus programs also exist for Chicago, Washington D.C., and Los Angeles.
Ninety-eight percent of students receive financial aid in the form of scholarships, grants, loans, and work-study opportunities. The college awards scholarships based on academic potential and performance (e.g., the Kuyper Scholars honor program), activities (e.g., sports, theater, music), and demonstrated financial need. Over $18.5 million is awarded in financial aid annually, thanks in large part to private donors and alumni.
The college is located in Sioux Center, Iowa, about 45 miles (72 km) north of Sioux City, and 55 miles (89 km) southeast of Sioux Falls, SD. The campus covers a 115-acre (47 ha) area and includes 25 buildings, eleven for student housing.
The hub of the campus is the Campus Center. The 70,000-square-foot (6,500 m2) facility was constructed in 2002 at a cost of $12.5 million and is open continuously during the academic year. The entry level consists of a bookstore, an art gallery, meditation rooms, and a student lounge. The upper level features enhanced-technology classrooms, conference rooms, and various offices. The lower level houses an activity center, a dining area, a snack bar, and the mail room. The basement features a game room complete with a four-lane regulation-size bowling alley, as well as foosball and pool tables.
The campus center is the John and Louise Hulst Library, which houses a collection of more than 300,000 book volumes, 16,000 print journal volumes, and 163,000 microtext units. The library subscribes to more than 600 journals, magazines, and newspapers, and has electronic access to another 10,000 titles. In addition to providing print and electronic resources, the library serves the campus media needs by offering checkout availability of various media equipment. The library has a significant collection of curriculum and children’s literature materials housed in the Learning Resource Center. Other specialized collections include the Dordt College Archives and the Dutch Memorial Collection.
The Science and Technology Center at has 180- and 80-seat lecture halls, a greenhouse, laboratories, general-use classrooms, and various science departmental offices. There are laboratories for organic chemistry, physical chemistry and physics. It also houses agriculture facilities for animal science and agronomy labs. The engineering wing includes labs for mechanical engineering, electronics, electrical engineering, and computer-aided design.
The B. J. Haan Auditorium seats approximately 1,500 people and is used for chapel services, concerts, organ recitals, and other regional events. Convocation and commencement exercises are also held in "the Beej", as it is called by students. The auditorium features a three-manual, tracker-action Casavant Frères organ with 37 stops, 57 ranks, and 2,865 pipes.
The auditorium is adjoined by the Music Building, which also has rehearsal rooms, studios and classrooms, vocal and instrumental practice rooms, and music faculty offices. Its mezzanine also houses the International Association for the Promotion of Christian Higher Education.
The campus recreation center hosts the Health, Physical Education, and Recreation (HPER) departmental facilities and the athletics offices. The Rec Center includes basketball, volleyball and raquetball courts, an aerobics room, a weight room, a 200 meter indoor track, and a batting cage.
The All Seasons Center was built in 2004 and contains an NHL-sized hockey rink, waterslides, a lap pool, and both indoor and outdoor family aquatic pools. This US$9 million facility is shared by Dordt College and the city of Sioux Center and received the Iowa League of Cities 2002 All-Star Community Award. It is the home ice for the Dordt Blades club hockey team.
Dordt College teams are known as the Defenders. The college is a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), competing in the Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC). Men's sports include baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, soccer and track & field; while women's sports include basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, softball, track & field and volleyball.
Dordt College also sponsors these following club sports: