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25 Most Beautiful Colleges and Universities in the Midwest 2017

In our continued narrowing of the scope of beautiful campuses, first presented in the “50 Most Beautiful Bible Colleges 2017,” Christian Universities Online (CUO) is pleased to share what we believe to be the 25 Most Beautiful Christian Colleges and Universities in the Midwest 2017.  There are some familiar campuses and fresh faces as well – by bringing the scope down to a regional level, some additional treasures made their way onto the list.  As we have stated before, campus appearance should not necessarily be a primary criteria for making a decision, a pleasant environment in which to study and learn is not unimportant!  Considering both natural and man-made elements of each campus, CUO desires to present the best the Midwest has to offer when it comes to overall campus beauty.



University of Sioux Falls

The University of Sioux Falls is a private, coeducational, Christian, liberal arts institution located in Sioux Falls, South Dakota and affiliated with the American Baptist Churches, USA. An independent, not-for-profit institution, the University of Sioux Falls (abbreviated USF) was established in 1872 by pastors and delegates from several Baptist churches within the Dakota Territory. Originally named the Dakota Collegiate Institute, the school’s first secondary and collegiate programs were offered in 1883 with students meeting in the basement of First Baptist Church. By the mid-1880s the school’s name was changed to Sioux Falls University. Today, the mission of the USF is to educate “students in the humanities, sciences and professions” in the “liberal arts tradition.” Operating under the motto of “Culture for Service” USF strives to “foster academic excellence and the development of mature Christian persons for service to God and humankind in the world.”

The University of Sioux Falls has a total enrollment figure of nearly 1,500, including more than 1,000 undergraduate students, with an average student to faculty ratio of 14 to 1. USF is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and has been so since 1958. More than 80 undergraduate academic programs are offered, including all majors, pre-professional degree programs, minors and specializations. Several adult and graduate-level programs are also available in areas such as business, education and nursing. USF’s main campus in the heart of Sioux Falls is conveniently located off of Interstates 90 and 29 and is within a day’s drive of several major Midwestern cities, including Minneapolis/Saint Paul, Chicago, Kansas City and more. USF’s main campus is well planned and features beautiful green spaces, combined with noteworthy historic halls and several contemporary facilities.


MidAmerica Nazarene University

MidAmerica Nazarene University (MNU) is a private, coeducational, Christian liberal arts institution affiliated with the Church of the Nazarene and located in Olathe, Kansas. MNU was established in 1966 as the MidAmerica Nazarene College and is accredited through the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (Higher Learning Commission). MNU’s mission is to be a “transformative university that nurtures Christlike community, pursues academic excellence, and cultivates a passion to serve.” The University’s vision is to “impact the world for Jesus Christ through servant leaders recognized for their excellence, integrity, and spiritual vitality.” MNU operates multiple campuses including its main campus in Olathe, as well as the Santa Fe Commons Site, also in Olathe, KS, and the Liberty Site in Liberty, Missouri. MNU has a total enrollment figure of nearly 2,000, including over 1,300 undergraduate students, with an average student to faculty ratio of 7 to 1.

Over 40 undergraduate academic programs are offered by the MidAmerica Nazarene University in addition to more than dozen graduate and professional degree programs. The top five major-picks of first-time freshmen include Nursing, Elementary Education, Business Administration, Sports Management, and Ministry. MNU’s graduate and professional studies programs are available in the areas of Counseling, Education, Business, and Nursing. MNU also offers several pre-professional programs, study abroad, and an honors program. MNU’s main campus is located just 19 miles southwest of Downtown Kansas City and features more than 100 acres with over 1,000 trees and 6,000 flower bulbs which are planted annually.  Students under the age of 22 years, unless married or living at home with their parents/legal guardians, are required to live on-campus in one of the University-owned residencies.


Bluffton University

Bluffton University is a private, coeducational, Christian liberal arts institution located in Bluffton, Ohio on a 65 acre campus and is affiliated with the Mennonite Church USA. Originally called the Central Mennonite College, Bluffton University was established at the end of the 19th century. In 1913 the institution adopted the name of Bluffton College and it was not until 2004 that the college gained university status and formally adopted its current title. Built upon the four values of discovery, community, respect and service, Bluffton University strives to offer a “character-building education” which enables students to achieve their “personal and professional goals for use in a global market”. The University’s statement continues, “Grounded in the Mennonite values of peacemaking and service, Bluffton’s faith tradition serves as a useful framework for your personal exploration and faith development.” Bluffton University has a total enrollment figure of more than 1,000, the vast majority of whom are undergraduate students, with an average student to faculty ratio of 12 to 1.

Bluffton University is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and has been so since 1953. The University offers more than 85 majors, minors and interdisciplinary programs across a wide range of areas. A variety of continuing and professional education opportunities are also offered and have earned the University national recognition for excellence. In addition to these, Bluffton University also offers graduate degree programs including the Master of Arts in Organizational Management, the Master of Business Administration with several concentration options, and the Master of Arts in Education, as well as a post-graduate program in Education. Situated on a rural campus, Little Riley Creek runs across the grounds. The architectural style of the school is modern-traditional and the campus features plenty of green space, an abundance of trees, and paths for walking and jogging.


Judson University

Judson University is a private, evangelical Christian liberal arts institution located in Elgin, Illinois. The University’s heritage dates back to the founding of the Northern Theological Seminary which was established in order to offer “both graduate and undergraduate education to men and women training for the ministry.” In the 1960s, after the seminary portion of the school was relocated from Chicago to Lombard, the decision was made to make the college an independent institution. This new college was named for Adoniram Judson, the first American missionary to serve on foreign soil. Today, Judson University describes its mission to be an evangelical Christian institution which will represent “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.”

Judson University is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and has been so since 1973. More than 65 majors, minors and concentrations are offered with traditional undergraduate programs available through the Departments of Architecture, Art & Design, Biblical & Theological Studies, Business, Christian Ministries, Education, English, Exercise & Sports Sciences, History, Music, Psychology & Sociology, Science & Mathematics, Speech Communication & Performing Arts, and Worship Arts. A number of adult degree completion programs are also offered in addition a variety of graduate degrees, including the Master of Business Administration, Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Doctor of Education in Literacy, and several others. Situated on a large suburban campus set against the Fox River, Judson University’s grounds feature a unique and modern architectural style. The campus is well designed and is conveniently located off a main road and set between a large wooded area and residential neighborhoods.


Cornerstone University

Cornerstone University is a private, non-denominational Christian institution located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Created in 1941 as the Baptist Bible Institute, by 1972 the school was granted its initial accreditation as a degree-granting institution and adopted the new name of Grand Rapids Baptist College. In 1993 the College merged with the Grand Rapids School of Bible and Music and in 1999 was granted approval from the State of to become known as Cornerstone University. Today, Cornerstone University’s vision is to “create a thriving community of fully devoted followers of Jesus in a spiritually contagious, academically excellent, richly resourced, and culturally diverse learning environment that attracts outstanding students, faculty, and staff who influence our world for Christ, His church, and His kingdom.” The University’s mission is to “empower men and women to excel as influencers in our world for Christ by offering a student-focused learning community where Jesus Christ is central.”

Cornerstone University is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and has been so since 1977. More than 100 undergraduate, graduate, seminary, online and adult learning degrees and programs are offered and each class is taught by professors who are passionate and care about their students. Cornerstone University’s undergraduate programs are divided into several divisions including, Bible, Religion & Ministry; Business; Communication & Media; Humanities; Interdisciplinary Studies; Kinesiology, Science & Mathematics; Music; Social Science; and Teacher Education. The University has a total enrollment figure of more than 2,500, including over 2,000 undergraduate students, with an average student to faculty ratio of 20 to 1. The University’s campus is located nearby the Frederik Meijer Gardens and features a large pond near the center of the campus. The architectural style of the facilities is contemporary and the grounds provide plenty of green space and a good amount of trees.


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