Mount Vernon Nazarene University (MVNU) is a Christian, liberal arts college located in Mount Vernon, in the U.S. state of Ohio.
The result of a 1960 education commission, Mount Vernon Nazarene was first chartered as the Zone A College of the Church of the Nazarene in 1964 by the church's General Assembly. The Mount Vernon site was chosen in 1966 for its proximity to a concentrated Nazarene population, and Mount Vernon Nazarene College (MVNC) opened in 1968 on the old Lakeholm Farm property that had belonged to The Ohio State University.
The Lakeholm Farm was the former home of Columbus Delano, Secretary of the Interior under Ulysses S. Grant. Three buildings (Manor, Ice House, and Barn) original to Lakeholm Farm, are still in operation on the campus today. Originally a two-year junior college, and thought to be a feeder school for the much older Eastern Nazarene College (ENC) in Massachusetts, it became a four-year school in 1973, was accredited for two-year degrees in 1972 and four-year degrees in 1974, and graduate degrees in Christian ministry were added in 1991. It was renamed Mount Vernon Nazarene University (MVNU) in 2002.
MVNU's main campus is along the southern edge of Mount Vernon, Ohio. The town was just one of many sites proposed for the college, but it raised $209,000 USD to purchase a 209-acre portion of the Lakeholm Farm before the Church of the Nazarene bought it from The Ohio State University, which owned the property. The colonial-style buildings were designed to resemble Williamsburg, Virginia. Nine acres were added by Mary Starr in 1970, and the college acquired a neighboring 128-acre (0.52 km2) farm in 1999. MVNU also has satellite locations in Columbus, Gahanna, Polaris, Newark, Cincinnati, Mansfield, Marion, and Grove City, Ohio.
Organization and affiliation
MVNU is one of eight U.S. liberal arts colleges affiliated with the Church of the Nazarene. Although its name might suggest that it is the college for the "Mount Vernon" region, no such region currently exists; MVNU is the college for the "East Central Region" of the United States, which comprises the Northwestern Ohio, North Central Ohio, East Ohio, Southwestern Ohio, Central Ohio, Eastern Kentucky, West Virginia North, and West Virginia South districts (all of Ohio, part of Kentucky, and most of West Virginia).
The trustees of the college, organized in 1966, are representatives from each of these Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia districts. Each college receives financial backing from the Nazarene churches on its region; part of each church budget is paid into a fund for its regional school. Each college or university is also bound by a gentlemen's agreement not to actively recruit outside its respective "educational region". Until the founding of Mount Vernon Nazarene College in 1968, its region had been part of the Eastern Region associated with the Eastern Nazarene College since the first establishment of Nazarene Educational Regions in 1918. This territorial alteration immediately affected the enrollment at Eastern Nazarene. MVNU has been accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools since 1972.
MVNU has programs for traditional students, graduate students, and working adults. The format of the traditional undergraduate division has led some to call MVNU "a college of the past" because it still utilizes "traditional 'women-oriented' programs" common to schools of the early 20th century, such as home economics and "family and consumer sciences," in spite of its liberal arts college model. 75% of all degrees awarded are bachelor's degrees and the 2007 acceptance rate for students who applied to the college was 72.2 percent. Student-to-faculty ratio is 16:1 and 60% of full-time professors hold a terminal degree. Many of the faculty members completed their training at one of the other Nazarene institutions of higher education.
There were 2,675 students at the college in 2007, 2,169 of whom were undergraduates. Nine percent of students represent racial minorities, 93% of students are from the state of Ohio, over 50% are Nazarene-affiliated, 60% are female while 40% are male, and 78% of students live on-campus.
"Drinking alcoholic beverages is prohibited, as well as sexual acts with anyone other than one's spouse," "entertainment that is promiscuous, pornographic, or occult, illegal drugs and misuse of legal prescriptions, and tobacco in any form." Students and faculty are "expected" to attend chapel services three times each week.
Mount Vernon Nazarene teams, nicknamed athletically as the Cougars,, are part of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), primarily competing in the Crossroads League, formerly known as the Mid-Central College Conference (MCCC). The Cougars also compete as a member of the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA); and formerly competed as a member of the American Mideast Conference until its dissolution on the 2011-12 academic year. Men's sports include baseball, basketball, cross country, golf and soccer; while women's sports include basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, softball and volleyball.