Judson University Mission Statement
Judson is an evangelical Christian university that represents the Church at work in higher education, equipping students to be fully developed, responsible persons who glorify God by the quality of their personal relationships, their work, and their citizenship within the community, the nation and the world.
Through a broadly based education in the liberal arts, sciences and professions, the college enables its students to acquire ideas and concepts that sharpen their insights, develop skills appropriate to their career goals, and develop the skills and commitment for lifelong learning.
The Judson community experience challenges graduates to be decisive leaders and active participants in church and society, articulate proponents of Biblical Christianity, persuasive advocates for the sovereignty of God over all life, and effective ambassadors for Christ.
For more about educational goals, operational objectives, student outcomes, and denominational focus, read more here.
Distinctives of Judson University
Judson University is nestled along the mighty and picturesque Fox River in the city of Elgin, just 45 miles northwest of Chicago. Some might call Judson’s riverside campus “quaint.”
- Students at Judson, which is primarily a residential campus, develop close personal ties through the community life nurtured in the dormitories and through campus activities. As a majority of students are professing Christians, a spirit of enthusiasm for Christ, dedication to the church and service to others characterizes important aspects of student life both on and off campus. Students can opt to join campus ministries and service projects, to apply for mission projects during school breaks, and to take part in either required chapel services or additional programs, many of which are student-run, in order to enhance their personal spirituality.
- Judson is quickly gaining a reputation as an evangelical, “green” university. The new 88,000 square foot Harm A. Weber Academic Center, home to the library and School of Art, Design and Architecture, is a LEED Gold certified building and one of the most energy-efficient buildings of its kind in North America.
- Judson University is currently the only evangelical Christian college or university to offer a fully-accredited graduate program in architecture.
- Judson University is an active citizen in the local community, country and abroad through strong partnerships with schools, non-profit agencies, businesses, and the international consortia.
- In order to send prepared students into the world, Judson encourages its students to actively engage popular culture as Christians. Through Judson’s Imago Film Festival, Reel Conversations, and a resourceful faculty, Judson University practices an active and responsible engagement of culture that understands and appreciates the tension of being in the world but not of it.
- Judson’s School of Education is an academic powerhouse, and graduates are recognized immediately for their enthusiasm to help their students learn and the quality of training they have received at Judson. The scope of the program is broad, with three undergraduate majors, a large range of classroom emphases, and two Master’s degrees.
History of Judson University
As the next chapters of Judson University’s story are written, God’s hand will continue to be upon the school, as has been the case throughout its history. The sixth president of Judson will be standing on a firm foundation of spiritual vibrancy, academic accomplishment, and campus growth.
Judson’s roots are almost a century old, an outgrowth of Northern Baptist Theological Seminary, which was founded in 1913. From its inception, Northern offered both graduate and undergraduate education to men and women training for the ministry.
In the early 1960s, when the seminary portion of Northern Seminary moved from Chicago to Lombard, founders decided to make the college an independent entity. Under the guidance of Dr. Benjamin P. Browne, college and seminary president, a "new" school was founded along the shores of the Fox River in 1963.
The college was named after Adoniram Judson, the first American missionary abroad, arriving in Burma in 1813 and eventually spending 37 years overseas, returning home just once in all that time.
Judson University has become home to people from all around the world, including students from Kenya, India, Serbia and Japan.
From a 19-acre private estate, Judson has expanded to 90 acres of woods and lawns. Nearly two dozen buildings dot the grounds, including four residence halls, a campus apartment building, a fine arts center, a fitness center, student center and a 700-seat chapel.
Judson’s first president, Dr. Browne, retired in 1967. Dr. Amos B. Barton served as president through 1969 and Dr. Harm A. Weber from 1969-1992. Dr. James W. Didier was next in line, serving from 1992-1998. Dr. Jerry B. Cain became Judson’s fifth and current president.
History has shown that each one of the five believed that where people come from isn’t nearly as important as where they are going. With such a mindset, leadership is action, not position. In the Judson administration building, it is commitment, not authority that has always produced results.
Those results have allowed for close personal relationships among almost everyone on campus, an egalitarian spirit supported by the school’s relatively small size.
Judson is an evangelical Christian university of the liberal arts, sciences and professions, offering a wide variety of B.A. programs and “practitioner-based” graduate programs in architecture, education, organizational leadership and literacy.
In 1994, Judson introduced a new academic division concentrating on continuing education for non-traditional students. Since its inception, the Division of Adult and Continuing Education has offered innovative programs with a high level of student service, both at the main campus in Elgin and at its extension campus in Rockford. The extension campus was established in 1999.
Judson University is home to more than 1,100 undergraduate and graduate students. Some come from just a few miles away; others a few thousand miles. Thirty states and 25 countries are represented on campus.