Judson's roots extend back to 1913 and the founding of Northern Baptist Theological Seminary. From its very first day, NBTS offered both graduate and undergraduate education to men and women training for the ministry. When the seminary portion of Northern Baptist moved from Chicago to Lombard, Illinois, in the early 1960's, it was decided to make the college an independent entity. Under the guidance of Dr. Benjamin P. Browne, college and seminary president, the "new" college was founded in 1963 in Elgin, Illinois, along the shores of the Fox River. It was named after Adoniram Judson, the first American missionary to foreign shores.
From its birth on a 19-acre private estate, Judson has grown today to a campus of 90-acres of woods and spacious lawns. Fifteen buildings dot the campus, including four student residence halls, a campus apartment building, a library, a science building, a fine arts building, a fitness center, a campus commons, Creekside South, athletic fields, the Lindner Tower (a seven-story classroom, office and residential facility), and as a center of spiritual life, a 650-seat chapel. A new state-of-the-art academic center to house the Division of Art, Design and Architecture and an expanded library opened the summer of 2007. This facility, the Harm A. Weber Academic Center, employs innovative "green" technology and is one of the most energy efficient and environmentally friendly buildings in the U.S.
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. In 1992, Dr. James W. Didier was appointed president. He retired in 1998, and Dr. Jerry B. Cain became Judson's fifth president. Dr. Cain retired in June 2012. Dr. William Crothers joined Judson in July 2012 as Interim President, while the university enters into a formal search process.
Judson is an American Baptist-affiliated, evangelical Christian university of the liberal arts, sciences and professions. It is coeducational and offers the bachelor of arts degree, and master's degrees in Architecture, Education, Education in Literacy and Organizational Leadership. A majority of Judson's traditional-aged students live in campus residence halls and apartments.
Judson's size and intimate campus setting allows for close personal associations among students, faculty and staff. Campus life does not end in the classroom; co-curricular activities provide personal recreation and social development. These include intercollegiate and intramural athletics for men and women, Christian ministries, drama, choir, reach-out teams, student publications, volunteer programs, student government and special campus festivities such as Homecoming and seasonal banquets.
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 our main campus in Elgin and our branch campus in Rockford (established in 1999).
Today, Judson University is home to over 1,100 traditional and continuing education students and over 100 master's students from 36 states and 28 countries.
1968 Statement of Purpose
It is the conviction of the faculty, administration, and Board of Trustees of Judson College that education is more than the acquisition of knowledge. Education is also the growth of an individual that results from the total experience of the living-learning situation involving the experiences in the classroom, the chapel, the residence halls, the athletic fields, as well as other meaningful associations with persons in the college community.
It is the conviction of the faculty, administration, and Board of Trustees of Judson College that education is at its best when it provides experiences of liberation—that is, when it helps to free persons from bigotry, provincialism, and unexamined belief systems. We consider it imperative for intelligent, searching minds that issues be discussed and options evaluated with humility, since education involves a process of discrimination among alternative answers to the great issues of life. Accordingly, we affirm the values of liberal education, realizing that it is as likely to raise questions as it is to provide answers.
It is the conviction of the faculty, administration, and Board of Trustees that higher education at Judson College should involve a personal intellectual encounter with the Christian revelation. Viewed from this perspective, both knowledge and faith are dynamic, not static. This is consistent with our belief that it is not possible to have worthwhile education where there is uncritical devotion only to the accepted, the safe, and the sanctioned. Christian education is at its best when it involves consideration of both new and familiar truths. The Christian, above all, should hold unswerving allegiance to honesty and integrity in the pursuit of knowledge.
It is the conviction of the faculty, administration and Board of Trustees of Judson College that Christian higher education should include a consideration of commitment to Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. It is hoped that every Judson student will experience this commitment during his years at the college.
Mission Statement and Educational Goals
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.
Judson graduates will embrace a Christian worldview derived from critical and disciplined interaction with God's Word and God's world. This ultimate goal will be achieved as students attain the following intermediate goals:
- Embrace Christian ethics for lifelong growth and behavior, model personal commitment to Christ and the church, and articulate that faith.
- Practice wellness from a Christian stewardship perspective and make responsible lifestyle choices that lead to optimal health and vitality.
- Appreciate the development, values and limitations of their own and other cultures through personal integration and communication.
- Engage the complexity of human personality and behavior, developing balanced and critical self-awareness, and demonstrating sensitivity in interpersonal relationships.
- Develop widening aesthetic appreciation, discernment and expression, including an understanding of the creative process.
- Acquire critical and creative thinking abilities, read and listen perceptively, and write and speak effectively and responsibly.
- Develop analytical, research, and problem-solving skills using appropriate mathematics, logic, technology, and scientific methods.
- Embrace the Christian life, as ethical and redemptive servants, leaders, and stewards. 9. Acquire competencies in a major field and skills for lifelong learning.
- Judson will be a Christ-centered community that cares.
- The total Judson community will minister to the whole student, addressing academic, spiritual, physical, emotional, and social needs in a multicultural and multinational environment.
- Judson will deliver Christ-honoring professional service in all operations to all stakeholders.
- Judson faculty and staff will be spiritually maturing Christians who minister through learning, facilitating, mentoring and advising.
- Learner-centered education in the liberal arts and sciences will undergird all programs.
- Judson will be financially healthy.
- The college will embrace growth in student populations and programs through ongoing strategic planning and assessment.
Like any educational institution, Judson University includes students of varying degrees of preparedness, motivation and discipline. This being the case, there will be a variety of student outcomes. Indeed, no college or university can guarantee equality of outcome, but it can do everything in its power to ensure equality of opportunity. Our goal is to provide the finest Christian liberal arts education possible. However, it is up to the individual student to show initiative and take ultimate responsibility for his or her education. Consequently, this catalog represents a snapshot of where we are in our community-wide quest for excellence, rather than an unconditional contract.
An Evangelical and Pan-Baptist Institution
Judson was conceived by a group of American Baptist leaders and intended to be a pan-baptist, evangelical university in terms of its institutional ethos. Among the many ways our Baptist heritage affects the ongoing operation and culture of the university is our firm commitment to having “no creed but the Bible.” Accordingly, we expect all of our employees to be, in the words of our mission statement, “articulate proponents of Biblical Christianity, persuasive advocates for the sovereignty of God over all life, and effective ambassadors for Christ.”
Evangelicalism itself is an extremely broad movement. Indeed, as Larry Eskridge of the Institute for the Study of American Evangelicals points out, it is as much a style of religion as it is a set of beliefs. Thus, it includes such diverse groups as “black Baptists, Dutch Reformed Churches, Mennonites, Pentecostals, Catholic Charismatics, and Southern Baptists.” This diversity has led some to speak of Evangelicalism as a mosaic, while others say it is more like a patchwork quilt in that it is more “folk art . . . than fine art”, and still others insist that a kaleidoscope best captures the diversity that is Evangelicalism. Recognizing the frustrating difficulty of defining Evangelicalism, historian George Marsden once quipped that an evangelical is simply someone who admires Billy Graham!
Not surprisingly then, there are a variety of definitions for the movement, but in general evangelicals are characterized by the following:
- A high view of scripture as the all sufficient guide/rule for faith and practice
- The majesty of Jesus Christ, both as incarnate God and Lord and as the Savior of sinful humanity
- The importance of personal conversion (often referred to by the Biblical allusion to being “born again”) as the central criterion for salvation
- A commitment to sharing with everyone everywhere the transforming “good news” of new life in Jesus Christ which is an utterly free gift that comes by grace alone through faith alone in the crucified and risen Savior
For further information on American Evangelicalism, see Douglas A. Sweeney, The American Evangelical Story: A History of the Movement, Baker Publishing, 2005 or visit the Institute for the Study of American Evangelicals website at http://www.wheaton.edu/isae/