Continuing in our presentation of “Most Beautiful Campuses,”initially presented in the 50 Most Beautiful Christian Colleges and Universities 2017, Christian Universities Online (CUO) now turns attention to the West. Many of the schools listed on the Top 50 are showcased here as well; some may say that the Western portion of the country has an unfair advantage due to climate, time to plan and space. As stated previously, by bringing the scope down to a regional level, some additional treasures made their way onto the list. As you should be aware from our prior rankings, campus appearance should not necessarily be a primary criteria for making a decision; however, a pleasant environment in which to study and learn is not unimportant! CUO is pleased to present the best the West has to offer when it comes to overall campus beauty.
Fresno Pacific University (FPU) is a private Christian institution located in Fresno, California. FPU was established in 1994 with a mission to develop “students for leadership and service through excellence in Christian higher education” and a vision to become a “leading Christian university known for academic excellence, innovative programming and spiritual vitality.” The university’s main 50 acre campus is located in the southeast Fresno area and FPU also maintains four regional campuses located in Central California, including the Bakersfield Campus, Merced Campus, North Fresno Campus, and Visalia Campus. FPU is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges and has been so since 1961.
The only accredited Christian university in the Central Valley, Fresno Pacific University has a total enrollment figure of nearly 3,500, including more than 2,500 undergraduate students with an average student to faculty ratio of 13 to 1. Many of these students are the first in their families to ever attend college and as one of the Top 10 Hispanic Serving Institutions (HIS), FPU has a high percentage of students of Hispanic decent. FPU provides a four-year graduation guarantee and boasts fairly high retention and graduation rates. FPU highly values the on-campus living experience and requires that students under 21 years of age live on campus. Housing is offered with four different style options: modules, suites, apartments, and houses. Each house style is unique and offers its own advantages. Surrounded primarily by residential areas, FPU’s moderately-sized campus features a good layout with plenty of green space (including Ecklund Park and Holman Park), paths and trees. Architectural styles of the University’s facilities are blended with the Marpeck Center serving as a focal point on the campus. Other notable structures include FPU’s Memorial Prayer Chapel, Alumni Hall, East Hall, Hiebert Library, and Seminary House.
Whitworth University is a private, residential Christian liberal arts institution located in Spokane, Washington. Established in 1883 by George F. Whitworth as the Sumner Academy, the school was originally located in the small town of Sumner in the (then) Washington Territory. In 1890 the school was incorporated as Whitworth College, having been renamed in honor of its founder, and in 1899 relocated first to Tacoma and again to its current location of Spokane in 1914. In 2006 the board of trustees voted to call the college Whitworth University, officially adopting the name in July of 2007. Today, the University’s mission is to “provide its diverse student body an education of mind and heart, equipping its graduates to honor God, follow Christ, and serve humanity.” Whitworth University has a total enrollment figure of more than 2,600, including over 2,300 undergraduate students, with an average student to faculty ratio of 11 to 1.
Whitworth University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities and has been so since 1933. Whitworth University is characterized not only by the academic excellence it offers but also the way in which it purposefully integrates both faith and learning. A variety of undergraduate and graduate degrees and programs are offered through the University’s several schools and college, including the College of Arts & Sciences, the School of Business, the School of Education, and the School of Continuing Studies. Set on a beautiful, park-like campus, Whitworth’s sprawling grounds are filled with tall pine trees, lovely grassy areas and contemporary, red-brick buildings. Situated in a peaceful, natural setting, Whitworth has poured over $100 million into renovations to the college and grounds, including a new science hall, recreational center, and an expansion to The Cowles Music center, which opened in fall of 2016.
Le Tourneau University (LETU) is a private, interdenominational Christian university located in Longview, Texas. Founded by Mr. R.G. LeTourneau (for whom the University is named), in February of 1946 the State of Texas chartered the school as LeTourneau Technical Institute. The original purpose of LETU to be a training institute for veterans who had returned from World War II; however, the institution’s vision and scope quickly expanded and has only continued to throughout the years. In addition to the university’s main 160-plus acre campus in Longview, LETU also offers undergraduate and graduate programs at its educational centers located in Dallas and Houston as well as online. LeTourneau University has a total enrollment of nearly 3,000, including more than 2,000 undergraduates, with an average student to faculty ratio of 12 to 1.
Le Tourneau University is fully accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and has been so since 1970. The University offers traditional undergraduate degree programs in the areas of technology, the liberal arts, business, aeronautical science, education and the sciences as well as four-year ABET accredited engineering and engineering technology programs. In addition to these, the University also offers a number of master’s degree programs in the areas of business, education, engineering and psychology. The University’s main campus is located in the suburbs and boasts plenty of green space, walking paths and trees with a good campus layout. With facilities built in a mix of modern and contemporary architectural styles, LETU’s signature clock tower serves as a focal point. Having invested millions of dollars into its state-of-the-art research facilities and equipment, most notable among LETU’s centers is the 53,000 square-foot Glaske Center for Engineering, Science and Technology, which features an auditorium for special lectures and events, cutting-edge laboratories, over 40,000 square-feet of facilities dedicated solely to Engineering, and much more.
Located in Phoenix, Arizona, Grand Canyon University is a coeducational, research institution and the premier private Christian university within the state. Established in 1949 by the Southern Baptist Church, the school was originally called Grand Canyon College. After experiencing severe financial difficulties during the first part of the twenty-first century, in 2004 Grand Canyon University opted to become the first for-profit Christian college in the United States. Since making this change, the University has experienced rapid growth and has plans for continued expansion. Grand Canyon University boasts a large student population of nearly 70,000, including more than 40,000 undergraduate students, with an average student to faculty ratio of 17 to 1. The University’s mission is to prepare “learners to become global citizens, critical thinkers, effective communicators and responsible leaders by providing an academically challenging, values-based curriculum from the context of our Christian heritage.”
The University offers a wide variety of degrees and programs and is comprised of multiple colleges, including the College of Doctoral Studies, the Colangelo College of Business, the College of Education, the College of Fine Arts and Production, the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, the College of Nursing and Health Care Professions, the College of Science, Engineering and Technology and the College of Theology. Grand Canyon University is accredited through the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Grand Canyon University’s curriculum instructs students from a biblical worldview perspective and great emphasis is placed on teaching students to be effective communicators, responsible leaders, and critical thinkers. Situated on a large urban campus in the heart of Phoenix, Grand Canyon University boasts beautiful facilities and a well-designed campus layout. With buildings featuring a modern architectural design, Grand Canyon University’s athletic facilities have been described as a “hidden gem”, offering first-class amenities to students and athletes alike.
Northwest Christian University (NCU) is a private, coeducational, Christian, liberal arts institution located in Eugene, Oregon. NCU was established in 1895 by Eugene Claremont Sanderson as the Eugene Divinity School. Historically affiliated with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the Christian churches and churches of Christ, the school underwent a series of name changes before adopting its current one in 2008. NCU describes its mission as being “to develop competent, ethical leaders for service in the workplace, community, Church and world,” aspiring to be “a University characterized by its commitment to equip students to discover and answer God’s call in their lives.” NCU has a total enrollment of more than 700, including over 500 undergraduate students, with an average student to faculty ratio of 12 to one.
Northwest Christian University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities and offers a wide range of undergraduate majors, adult degree programs, and graduate programs of study. Among the University’s most popular undergraduate majors are the subjects of Accounting, Business Administration, Exercise Science, Psychology, and Teacher Education (K-12). NCU places a strong value on the campus living experience, and requires that all students with less than 89 credits and who are under the age of 21 live on campus. A variety of different housing options are offered in order to better fit each student’s needs and each living area is equipped with both internet and security services. The campus itself is situated in a nice urban setting in the south end of the Willamette Valley, just off of the Franklin Blvd and a few blocks away from a large park and the Willamette River. NCU is located right in the heart of Eugene’s University district (and across from the University of Oregon), offering students easy access to such amenities as shopping, bookstores, eateries, coffee shops and more.