Taylor University is a private, interdenominational, evangelical Christian college located in Upland, Indiana, United States. Founded in 1846, it is one of the oldest evangelical Christian colleges in America.
Taylor University has been ranked first in U.S. News and World Report’s guide to America’s Best Colleges among 109 Midwest Regional Colleges for six years in a row. It is currently in the middle of a comprehensive ten-year capital building initiative having built five new facilities in as many years, and a review and reorganization of its university and academic programs.
Taylor University was founded in 1846 in Fort Wayne and moved to Upland in 1893. It is named after Bishop William Taylor (1821–1902). The university sits on an approximately 450 acres (1.8 km2) campus on the south side of Upland. It also preserves a 680 acres (2.8 km2) arboretum and an additional 668 acres (2.70 km2) of undeveloped land northeast of campus which have 80 acres (320,000 m2) more of arboretum space.
Taylor University has 1,910 undergraduate students, 108 graduate students, and 524 distance learning students. The student body hails from 43 states and 25 foreign countries, with 35 percent from Indiana. Taylor is a member of NAIA with 15 men's and women's sports teams. The university is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and is a member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities and the Christian College Consortium.
Being a Christian institution, academics and programs at Taylor are biblically anchored and centered on Christ, with a focus on the "integration of faith and learning." Adhering to a strict statement of faith and community lifestyle covenant, the university seeks to project the Gospel. The university has a special focus on global engagement and servant leadership. The university takes a special pride in its heritage and traditions, and invests heavily in fostering a community for its faculty, staff, alumni, students, and their families. The university holds chapel worship services three times a week during the academic year which community members are expected to attend.
Eugene Habecker is the university's thirtieth and current president.
Taylor University was originally established as Fort Wayne Female College in Fort Wayne, Indiana, in 1846. Fort Wayne Female College was founded by the Methodist Church as an all-female school. Fort Wayne Female College started admitting men coeducationally in 1855 and changed its name to Fort Wayne College. In 1890, Fort Wayne College acquired the former facilities of nearby Fort Wayne Medical College that were vacated after Fort Wayne Medical College's merger with Indiana Asbury College, another Methodist-affiliated college. Upon completing this acquisition, Fort Wayne College changed its name to Taylor University in honor of Bishop William Taylor. The original Taylor University campus was on College Street in Fort Wayne.
A guest-preaching engagement in 1882 in the Upland Methodist Church afforded Taylor University (then Fort Wayne College) president Thaddeus Reade the chance to meet the minister of Upland Methodist Church, Rev. John C. White. Because the school was having financial difficulties at its location in Fort Wayne, White and Upland citizen J.W. Pittinger worked to bring the school to Upland. In the spring of 1893 White negotiated an agreement between the Taylor trustees and the Upland Land Company, whereby the university agreed to move to Upland, Indiana, and the company agreed to provide Taylor with $10,000 in cash and 10 acres (40,000 m2) of land.
In the summer of 1893, Taylor University relocated to Upland. White was able to find the resources to support Taylor University because of the recent discovery of large deposits of natural gas in the area. In 1915, Taylor paid seven thousand dollars to purchase 70 acres (280,000 m2) more from Charles H. and Bertha Snyder. The university added another 80 acres (320,000 m2) to its present location in the early 1920s when the Lewis Jones farm was purchased.
In 1992, ninety-nine years after moving to Upland, Taylor University acquired Summit Christian College. Summit Christian College was previously named Fort Wayne Bible College (from 1950 to 1989) and Fort Wayne Bible Institute (from its establishment in 1904 to 1989). Prior to acquisition by Taylor University, Summit Christian College was affiliated with the Missionary Church.
With the urban setting of Fort Wayne, Indiana, this campus' academic programs tended to be more vocational and its student body more non-traditional. Reflecting this, of TUFW's 1,040 member student body, approximately 224 students lived on campus with the rest commuting or taking courses online. Popular majors included Professional Writing, Biblical Studies, Christian Ministries, Education, English, and Business.
The Taylor University Fort Wayne Falcons participated in the United States Collegiate Athletic Association. The school offered basketball for men and women, soccer for men and women (2008–2009 was the first year for the women's program), and women's volleyball.
On October 13, 2008, the university announced plans to discontinue traditional undergraduate programs on the Fort Wayne Campus. Notable programs that remained after the closure or were transitioned to the Upland campus include the MBA program, the online program, and the radio station, WBCL.
There are 90 undergraduate programs, in 61 majors, with popular focuses including education, business, new media and exercise science. In 2003, Taylor began offering graduate-level programs again after having dropped such degrees nearly 60 years earlier. Since then, the university has expanded its offerings to include a Master of Environmental Science, a Master of Business Administration, a Master of Arts in Higher Education and Student Development (MAHE), and a Master of Arts in Religious Studies.
The concept of integration of faith and learning, the idea that knowledge and faith meet their highest potential when coupled together, is a central educational theme at Taylor. The two distinct columns of the Rice Bell Tower on campus and the spotlights that shine up from each of them symbolize this theme to the campus community.
In 2009, the University adopted the more traditional academic school system for its university structure. Degrees are now awarded by four different schools: Liberal Arts, Natural & Applied Sciences, Business, and Professional Studies.
Besides offering a number of off-campus programs, Taylor hosts two of its own study abroad program – in Ecuador and Ireland. The Ecuador program is run through the university's Spencer Centre for Global Engagement and is based in Cuenca. The semester-long, immersion program involves a three-prong partnership with Taylor University, the Universidad del Azuay, and the Verbo Church of Cuenca.
The Irish Studies Program is based at Coolnagreina in seaside Greystones. Courses are taught by the university's own professors. This program is enriched by exposure to Ireland's fine arts, exploration of the land and experience with the Irish people. Reflection for personal growth occurs through residence life, guided discussions, and chapel sessions. Students are encouraged to worship with local churches and fellowships.
Students, faculty and staff are required to sign the "Life Together Covenant" (LTC) upon joining the University. Community members pledge to adhere to certain standards of conduct and refrain from certain behaviors, including social dancing (excepting marriages taking place off of school property and choreographed or folk dance), premarital sex, homosexuality, smoking, and the consumption of alcohol, with the intention of strengthening the community as a whole. Students cannot register for classes or housing unless they have signed the LTC pledge each year. The LTC is viewed as not only a covenant, but as a binding contract as well. Penalties for not adhering to the LTC range from "citizenship probation" to expulsion from the university. In 2013 the dancing rule was tweaked to allow officially sanctioned school dances.
The Life Together Covenant covers activities and behaviors not only on the Taylor campus, but off-campus as well. The purpose is to strengthen the Christian community and to maintain a sense of maturity and accountability.
Chapel services are held three times a week, from 10:00 to 10:50 a.m. on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Services generally follow a modern nontraditional Christian theme. Chapel attendance is expected but attendance is on the honor system. In spite of this, chapel is nearly always well attended.
Multicultural students are supported by the Director of American Student Ethnic programs and the advisor of the International Student Society, and other faculty and staff through various student leadership groups, social clubs, and programs on campus. Programs include International Student Society, Mu Kappa International (founded at Taylor in 1985), Asian Awareness Association, Black Student Association, Middle Eastern Cultural Association, Taylor Gospel Choir, Indian Student Awareness Association, Latino Student Union. These groups and their subsequent events and programs play a role the University's goal of "...promoting diversity awareness, social justice, and globally minded Christianity throughout the campus".
Sickler Hall, the oldest of three remaining original buildings on the campus, was built in 1902 with a gift from the estate of Christopher Sickler, and early Taylor trustee. Originally, the building was a residence hall that provided free housing for the children of ministers and missionaries. Later, it served as a science hall and educational department center; more recently, it was the location of the communication arts department. Remodeled in 1995, Sickler Hall currently houses the William Taylor Foundation, professional writing department, and alumni and parent relations. A campus prater chapel is located on the main floor and is open 24 hours a day for personal worship, meditation, and prayer.
Helena Memorial Hall, built 1911, is the second oldest building on campus. It serves as the University welcome center. The building was drastically remodeled in 1987 and houses Admissions and the Offices of the President and Provost. First a music building and then art and theatre building, this building is named for Mrs. Helena Gehman, an early benefactress to the University.
Zondervan Library is a sprawling 61,000-square-foot (5,700 m2) complex at the center of campus and opened in 1986. Named in honor of Peter J. "Pat" Zondervan and his wife, Mary, who contributed over $1 million dollars to the project. Part of the complex is the Engstrom Galleria, the state-of-art University Archives, and the renowned Center for the Study of C.S. Lewis and Friends. This collection consists of several first editions, manuscripts, photographs, and other materials relating to the life of Lewis, George MacDonald, Dorothy Sayers, Charles Williams, and Owen Barfield.
Sitting beside the library complex is the Rice Bell Tower. It is one of the distinctive architectural elements to the campus and stands at 71 feet, 10 inches in height. It was dedicated in memory of Garnet I. Rice’s husband, Raymond. The twin spires of the tower that meet at the apex of the structure symbolize the integration of faith and learning.
On the west side of campus is the Jim Wheeler Memorial Stadium with a seating capacity of 4,000. It has been the home of Trojan football since its completion in 1980. It was built with funds donated by 1954 alumni John Wheeler in memory of his son, Jim Wheeler, an aspiring Christian recording artist who died of cancer shortly after his graduation from the University in 1979.
The Taylor University Dome was designed by Orus Eash and built in 1958. It originally served as a cafeteria, but now serves as the student union.
The Modelle Metcalf Visual Arts Center opened in 2003 and includes 38,000 square feet of art studios, computer design labs, teaching auditoriums, and art galleries.
The Kesler Center, named after president emeritus Jay Kesler, was completed in 2004 and features 88,000 square feet of athletic activities space, including an indoor track, multi-purpose courts used for intramural sports, an exercise room, an aerobics room, and multiple locker rooms. The new Eichling Aquatics Wing, completed in January 2011, includes a lap pool and several classrooms and offices.
In 2010, the University began a massive $41.1 million, 137,000-square-foot (12,700 m2) addition to its Nussbuam science education complex on the south-east side of campus. The building was completed in time for the 2012 fall semester and dedicated during Homecoming weekend. Named the Euler Science Complex, the center features two wind turbines, a heliostat, green roofing, geothermal heating and cooling, and solar paneling. With an emphasis on sustainable energy, the University hopes not only to saves energy and costs, but also to use these features as a teaching tool. The University is seeking a Gold LEED certification for the new complex.
Bergwall Hall was named for Evan Bergwall, Sr., president of Taylor University (1951-1959). It was first occupied during the fall semester of 1989 and currently houses 195 students—women on the third and fourth floors and men on the first and second floors. Each floor has a lounge and study facilities, and each room has a private bath.
Breuninger Hall is the newest residence hall. Located on the south side of campus, it will house 150 students across one floor of men and two floors of woman. Breuninger will be open to students for the Fall 2013 semester.
English Hall, on the far south end of campus, is a women’s residence hall housing 224 students and opened in 1975. It is named for Mary Tower English, spouse of one of Taylor’s most distinguished graduates. English Hall provides private living room areas as rooms are arranged around a suite that is shared by 8-12 women. It is of a unique compartmental brutalism architecture.
Gerig Hall, immediately next to English, is a four-story co-ed residence hall for 96 students. Constructed in 1971, this hall is arranged in a suite-style similar to English Hall. Women live on the second and third floor and men on the fourth floor. The hall is named for Lester Gerig, a long-time University trustee and Taylor University benefactor.
Olson Hall, named in honor of long-time and distinguished history professor Grace D. Olson, was constructed in 1966 and is the largest residence hall (in terms of housing) on the campus with 300 beds. The hall underwent major renovations between 2006 and 2008. The hall is arranged along a typical corridor with a shared common bath. Olson is mirrored by Wengatz Hall, named for alumni and pioneer missionary to Africa John Wengatz, houses 266 men.
Haakonsen Hall was constructed in 1975 as the student health center. The building is named after medical care provider Lily Haakonsen who was employed by the University. In 2006 it was renovated and re-purposed as housing for 16 upperclassmen.
Morris Hall, colloquially referred to as “Sammy,” is named in honor of late 19th century African student Samuel Morris. Completed in the late 1990s, it is the University’s most modern large scale residence hall and its largest in terms of square feet. It sits on the northeast corner of campus and houses 286 men. It is the third building named after Morris, the second being demolished in the mid-1990s.
Swallow Robin Hall is the oldest residence hall and third oldest building on campus, having been completed in 1917 by Samuel Plato. and then remodeled and restored in the fall of 1990. Silas C. Swallow and his wife (maiden name Robin) financed a major portion of the original construction cost for the building and asked that it be named in honor of their mothers. The hall was designed by Samuel Plato, a notable architect of the early 20th century.
In the past three years, the University has added two new off-campus housing apartment halls on the north side of campus. The 19,167-square-foot (1,780.7 m2) Campbell Hall, constructed in 2008 and opening that fall, is named in honor of Walt and Mary Campbell. It is located on the northwest edge of campus and consists of fifteen apartments housing 60 upper-level students in an apartment-style setting. The larger Wolgemuth Hall opened in fall of 2011 and incorporates the architectural style of Samuel Plato. At 35,970 square feet (3,342 m2) it has room for 92 upper-level students and is named after Sam and Grace Wolgemuth.
Taylor University teams participate as a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). The Trojans are a member of the Crossroads League, formerly known as the Mid-Central College Conference (MCCC). Taylor was formerly a member of the NCAA Division III's Indiana Collegiate Athletic Conference (ICAC), now known as the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC). Men's sports include baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, soccer, tennis and track & field; while women's sports include basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, softball, tennis, track & field and volleyball.
The Taylor University football program competes in the Mideast League of the Mid-States Football Association. The Trojans football team ended the 2009 season ranked #19 in the NAIA coaches poll.
The Taylor University Women's Volleyball 2009 season ended in a single elimination game as part of the top 12 teams in the NAIA playoffs with the team ranked #11 in the NAIA.
Every year the Friday before final exams, Taylor University has the Silent Night Men's Basketball game. In it, students remain quiet until the 10th point is scored and then erupt in cheering. In the late moments of the game, "Silent Night" is sung. A former assistant coach came up with the idea in the late 80's and it was a packed event by the mid-to-late 1990s. Afterward, students can go to "Habecker's Hollapalooza", which is a campus-wide party involving live Christmas music, making and eating Christmas cookies, and making gingerbread houses. The 2010 game was more formally named the 27th Annual Ivanhoe Classic and resulted in a 112–67 win over Ohio State-Marion. This was the most scored by the Taylor men's basketball team since the 1993–94 squad scored 139 points in a victory over Robert Morris University (Illinois). This allowed Taylor students to quiet down and erupt in celebration again after the 100th point. Casey Coons scored the 10th point in the 2009 Silent Night, the 2010 Silent Night, and 2011 silent night on free throws. Casey Coons received the NAIA Mid-Central College Conference Division II Player of the Week award for the week of the 2010 game. Coach Paul Patterson coached without shoes for the 2009, 2010, and 2011 games to raise money for Samaritan's Feet (400 pairs of shoes were raised at the 2009 event for the Dominican Republic and 170 pairs of shoes were raised for Guatemala at the 2010 event). Sports Illustrated paid tribute to the Silent Night Event in its December 27, 2010 issue. The 2011 game received significant media attention as well.
Taylor University operates a radio station--WTUR.
2006 van accident
On April 26, 2006, Taylor received national attention when a University van was involved in a fatal accident outside Marion, Indiana, while traveling between the Fort Wayne and Upland campuses. The accident happened when a northbound semi-trailer truck driver fell asleep at the wheel, crossed the median and struck the southbound passenger van on I-69. Four students and one staff member were killed, and three staff members and one student were injured. The accident occurred two days before current University president Eugene Habecker's inauguration ceremony. The truck driver was convicted of reckless, involuntary manslaughter and received a four-year prison sentence.
However, because the Grant County coroner and Taylor officials failed to positively identify all the victims, the incident later made international headlines when there was a shocking case of mistaken identity between two of the victims. Senior Laura Van Ryn, who died on the scene, was mistaken for surviving freshman Whitney Cerak. The Cerak (actually Van Ryn) funeral was conducted with a closed casket, and the mistake was not discovered until Cerak identified herself after waking up from a coma over a month later.
As a result of this incident, Indiana changed the procedure for identifying victims involved in accidents. Cerak graduated from Taylor on May 23, 2009, and the two families remain close. On April 26, 2008, the two-year anniversary of the accident, the University dedicated the $2.4 million Memorial Prayer Chapel as a memorial to the victims: students Laurel Erb, Brad Larson, Betsy Smith and Laura Van Ryn, along with Taylor employee Monica Felver.
Accreditation and memberships
In its academic programs, Taylor University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. The University is also accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, and the Indiana Professional Standards Board. Taylor's music program is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music and programs in Computer Engineering and Engineering Physics are accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET.
University memberships include: