Many universities and colleges across the globe provide both high-quality education and a thorough devotion to Christian principles. However, some institutions associated with the teachings of Jesus excel not only academically and spiritually, but also aesthetically – boasting some of the loveliest looking campuses anywhere on Earth. Whether because of their lush green spaces, breathtaking surroundings or inspired architecture, these places of learning can offer stunning locations in which to study, rest and play.
Featured Online Christian Colleges
After last year’s publication of the 25 Most Beautiful Christian Colleges in the U.S. was so well received, we decided to expand our purview to include Christian colleges and universities from around the globe. Read on for 50 of the most beautiful Christian college and university campuses in the world.
Note: No list of this type can be entirely comprehensive or objective. The schools on this list were chosen from a global pool of Christian colleges and universities known to our editors and considered broadly evangelical in their theological outlook. If there is a school you think should be considered for future editions please let us know through our contact page.
50. Uganda Christian University – Mukono, Uganda
Uganda Christian University, set in the heart of the beautiful continent of Africa, is arguably one of the most beautiful college campuses throughout not only Africa, but the world. Right in the city of Mukono, Uganda, about 25 kilometers outside the capital city of Kampala, the college is surrounded by both natural and man-made beauty. Rich in history, the campus of UCU is a great site. The university resides on the historical campus of Bishop Tucker College, one of the oldest institutions in Uganda’s history, dating back to 1913, when the local chief, Hamu Mukasa, granted the university the land to build a school. The university has resided on the historical campus since 1997, when it was founded by the Anglican Church of Uganda, and now has a much more modern feel, architecturally, but still remains rich in the history it was founded on.
49. International Christian University – Tokyo, Japan
International Christian University (ICU) was founded in 1949 to emphasize peace and reconciliation. The main campus, a blend of ancient and modern times sits on 150 serene, wooded acres in west Tokyo. It provides the perfect atmosphere for peace. It is a one-hour train ride away from downtown Tokyo. ICU’s campus is built on ancient pre-Jomon and Joman remains, yet internet access is available all around the campus. Students at ICU have the unique opportunity to engage in archeological fieldwork. Excavated items are displayed in the Hachiro Yuasa Memorial Museum. In a lovely, quiet wooded area on campus, the Taizanso Garden is accessible through a large thatched gate. The garden was established in the 1920s and includes a traditional Japanese tea house and the historic One-Mat Room. The One-mat room was constructed of beautiful wood gathered from sacred, historic sites all around Japan.
48. Belmont University – Nashville, Tennessee
Nashville’s Belmont University is a nondenominational Christian liberal arts college known for its groundbreaking music business courses. Belmont was initially founded at its present site as a women’s seminary back in 1890 and didn’t enter its current incarnation until the 1950s. The 75-acre campus plays host to various grand, elegant and strikingly beautiful buildings. Chief among them, though, is Belmont Mansion, an elaborate, Greek Revival- and Italianate-styled antebellum structure that is on the National Register of Historic Places and now serves as a museum. The home and its estate were originally developed in the mid 19th century by owners Adelicia and Joseph Acklen. Meanwhile, the campus’ other pride and joy is the iconic 160-year-old Belmont University Bell Tower, whose carillon – the first in Tennessee’s history – is played for college events and holidays.
47. Silliman University – Dumaguete, Philippines
It was partly the area’s outstanding splendor that convinced American missionary Dr. David Sutherland Hibbard to found Silliman Institute in the Philippines city of Dumaguete back in 1901. That splendor is still evident today thanks to the university’s scenic 150-acre main campus, seaside setting, and buildings like Silliman Hall – which since 1970 has housed the school’s anthropology museum. Silliman Hall’s Stick-style architecture nods to the institution’s American origins, with the structure even incorporating materials recovered from an old New York theater. Guy Hall, finished in 1918, is another interesting looking older construction, while various more modern buildings are also present. Silliman University has Presbyterian roots but is currently a nonsectarian Christian school. It achieved university status in 1938 and today educates around 10,000 students in undergraduate, master’s and doctoral programs.
46. LeTourneau University – Longview, Texas
LeTourneau University’s 162-acre main campus is nestled on the site of a disused World War II-era military hospital in Longview, Texas. It still retains the hospital’s picturesque, white-walled Speer Chapel, which originally opened in 1943 and boasts wooden sash windows together with an eye-catching steeple overlooking its gabled roof. Another striking feature on the grounds of the interdenominational school is the Jeannette S. Belcher Memorial Bell Tower. Completed in 1990, this centerpiece houses the college’s carillon and lies amid the beautiful lawns and walkways of the university mall. Although it was set up in 1946 as the LeTourneau Technical Institute, the school earned university status in 1989 and currently offers upwards of 80 graduate and undergraduate programs.
45. Hope International University – Fullerton, California
The unusual and striking design of some of Hope International University’s 18-acre campus could almost have been lifted from the pages of an old science-fiction book. Inspired by the Space Age and the automobile culture of Southern California, architects Armét & Davis (now Armét Davis Newlove Architects) designed a lot of the university’s older buildings in what was dubbed the “Googie” style. The impressive, unmistakably angular forms found on the campus house the Darling Library, for one. Established in 1928, the school has switched name and location several times during its history. It moved to Fullerton, California in 1973, earning university status and settling on its current moniker in 1997. Around 1,400 students are enrolled at the private university – which, although nondenominational, is strongly linked with the Christian Churches/Churches of Christ. Hope International offers undergraduate, graduate and online courses in arts and sciences, education, ministry and biblical studies, and more.
44. Spring Arbor University – Spring Arbor, Michigan
Home to Spring Arbor University, Michigan’s Spring Arbor is aptly named – featuring as it does abundant artesian water springs that form a number of the community’s waterways and lakes. The rural 100-acre main campus of the university is itself full of beautiful greenery, as well as eye-catching modern structures. Standing tall among these is the McKenna Carillon Tower, which boasts clocks on all four sides and can be heard chiming hourly. Dedicated in 2005, this attractive edifice serves as a symbol of the university’s commitment to education and God, with the institution’s mission statement and the Wesleyan Quadrilateral inscribed on the tower’s four entries and pedestals, respectively. The current principal campus was established in 1873 as a Free Methodist Church seminary and grew to achieve higher education status 90 years later. It now has an undergraduate and postgraduate student body of just over 4,100.
43. Azusa Pacific University – Azusa, California
The interdenominational, evangelical Azusa Christian Pacific University educates over 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students across its eight Southern California locations, including its main campus in Azusa. The school was founded in 1899 in Whittier, California, becoming the first Bible college established along the U.S. West Coast. It moved to Azusa in 1946 and obtained university status in 1981. Among the Azusa campus’ most eye-catching features is the John and Marilyn Duke Academic Complex, which was dedicated in 2003 and accommodates several academic departments, a lecture space, classrooms, and even a pair of art galleries. International firm HMC Architects turned what was once an industrial warehouse into a sleek facility that nevertheless nods to its past through the use of metal, concrete and wire mesh.
42. Grace College and Theological Seminary – Winona Lake, Indiana
Grace College grew out of Grace Theological Seminary and now includes five schools at its main campus offering undergraduate and graduate degree programs in a variety of subjects from business, to engineering, to bible and theology. Located in historic resort town, the school’s campus is a combination of modern elegance and historic charm. The elegant Westminster Hall and stately Mount Memorial Hall anchor the school solidly in its 77 year history, while the brand new modern design of the Manahan Orthopaedics Capital Center, which includes a sports arena and classrooms, points forward to Grace College’s future. Nearby Winona Lake offers several scenic views and opportunities for recreation.
41. Judson College – Marion, Alabama
Elegant Jewett Hall – the heart of Judson College’s Marion, Alabama campus – has had the misfortune of burning down twice. The original Greek Revival-style building dated back to 1840 but succumbed to fire in 1888, while the structure built in its place was struck by lightning in 1947; the subsequent reconstruction was completed in 1951, and this version still stands to this day. A major renovation of the building in 2003 by Alabama- and Georgia-based firm Davis Architects also saw the hall’s distinctive cupola tower, as well as roof and windows, get a total refresh. Judson College has the honor of being the only women’s college in the state of Alabama and is the fifth-oldest women-specific institution in the country. The Alabama Baptist Convention-affiliated school owes its 1838 founding to people from the Siloam Baptist Church. Today, Judson’s beautiful, rural 80-acre campus is an educational hub for its small undergraduate student body of around 322.
40. Evangel University – Springfield, Missouri
The original Pentecostal liberal arts school in the country, Evangel University began life in 1955 on the site of a former army hospital in Springfield, Missouri. Since then, the Assemblies of God-affiliated institution has built up an exceptionally pretty campus on its 80-acre property. Conceived by Missouri’s Sapp Design Associates Architects and dedicated in 2009, the eye-catching Ralph M. Riggs Administration Building succeeded the final remains of the hospital and serves as the face of the campus. Elsewhere, the 50th anniversary clock tower, completed in 2005, is another attractive feature overlooking the university’s lawns. Evangel runs over 100 liberal arts and science programs across ten academic departments for some 2,490 students. What’s more, these students are never far from gorgeous lakes and the Ozarks.
39. Abilene Christian University – Abilene, Texas
Abilene Christian University’s campus doesn’t just dazzle during the day; it also does so at night. This is thanks to its iconic 150-foot-tall Tower of Light, which when darkness arrives glows a vivid white – not to mention purple, the school’s other color, on special occasions. Next to the tower on the 250-acre university grounds is the beautiful stained-glass edifice of the Chapel on the Hill, which features a total of 280 hues in its west- and east-facing windows. Elsewhere, original schoolhouse the Zona Luce Building marks a more traditional and arguably elegant presence on campus. The Churches of Christ-affiliated school dates back to 1906, when it was set up as Childers Classical Institute. It relocated to its current site in Abilene, Texas in 1929 and later switched its name to Abilene Christian University in 1976. Both undergraduates and graduates make up the university’s some 4,460-strong student body.
38. Roberts Wesleyan College – Rochester, New York
Roberts Wesleyan College apparently holds the honor of being the first Free Methodist Church-affiliated school founded in North America; this was back in 1866, when it was still the Chili Seminary. Today, the liberal arts institution also hosts the Northeastern Seminary – a graduate theology center – on its greenery-filled 75-acre campus in Rochester, New York. One of Roberts Wesleyan’s most notable landmarks is the modern B. Thomas Golisano Library. The work of New York state-based SWBR Architects in conjunction with international firm Leo A Daly, this facility was dedicated in 2007. The library can be seen from virtually everywhere on campus and has garnered several accolades, including the Rochester branch of the American Institute of Architects’ Citation of Merit Award. Eco-friendly touches such as geothermal heat pumps and the utilization of natural light have also seen the building receive a LEED Silver certificate.
37. Southwestern Assemblies of God University – Waxahachie, Texas
Southwestern Assemblies of God University’s undergraduate and postgraduate students get to enjoy a tree-lined, naturally beautiful campus. The institution traces its origins back to 1927, with the formation of the Southwestern Bible School in Enid, Oklahoma. It later combined with two further bible schools and in 1943 – as Southwestern Bible Institute – relocated to its current setting in suburban Waxahachie, Texas. The university finally earned its current name in 1994. Easily one of the 73-acre campus’ most impressive architectural sights is the Blake L. Farmer Administration Building. This grand and attractive construction dates back to the early 20th century and today hosts conference halls, classrooms and the university’s McCafferty Hall as well as faculty and admin offices.
36. Wayland Baptist University – Plainview, Texas
Wayland Baptist University has 14 U.S. campuses in all, but perhaps the prettiest is its main Plainview, Texas location. This campus plays host to lush lawns and foliage – but it’s green in another way, too. For one, from 2009 to 2010 it received a complete lighting overhaul set to save a significant amount of energy. Recycling has been made a priority as well, and a community garden is even being considered for the 80-acre site. Architectural highlights of the Southern Baptist Convention-affiliated school include the elegant Gates Hall, which was built in 1910, two years after the university was founded. Inside, this facility houses an auditorium, classrooms, faculty offices and meeting spaces. And with its Greek Revival-style columns and facade of red brick, the building’s exterior presents a handsome sight for Wayland’s student body.
35. Gordon College – Wenham, Massachusetts
Gordon College has existed as a nondenominational Christian liberal arts institution on its current Wenham, Massachusetts campus since 1955. However, the college traces its origins back to 1889, when Baptist minister Reverend Adoniram Judson Gordon founded its predecessor, the Boston Missionary Training School. The college campus is presently home to more than 2,100 undergraduate and postgraduate students combined. This attractive green locale stretches over 450 acres and is charmingly set next to a pond. Formerly the mansion of investor Frederick H. Prince, the grand Frost Hall – completed in 1911 – now functions as the college’s administrative center. And one of the site’s more recent buildings is equally eye-catching: the state-of-the-art, red brick Ken Olsen Science Center, which was built to a design by Boston architects Payette and dedicated in 2008.
34. Hope College – Holland, Michigan
Arguably one of Hope College’s most beautiful features is its fine-looking Dimnent Memorial Chapel, which has pride of place on the school’s Holland, Michigan campus. Clad in gray Bedford stone, the building is an impressive adapted example of the American Gothic architectural style. It was constructed to a design by Chicago architect William K. Johnston and formally opened in 1929. The liberal arts college shares its pretty 120-acre campus with the Western Theological Seminary and is itself linked to the Reformed Church in America. What’s more, if the charm of the setting weren’t enough to attract the school’s undergraduate student body, Hope can also boast of being located in the second-best city in the country for well-being – according to a 2010 survey by Gallup and Healthways.
33. Dallas Baptist University – Dallas, Texas
Dallas Baptist University’s 293-acre main campus sits in the undulating hills to the southwest of Texas’ third-biggest city, offering students nice views of the nearby Mountain Creek Lake. The school first opened in 1898 as Decatur Baptist College, on acreage bought by the affiliated Baptist General Convention of Texas; later, in 1965, it relocated to its current site following a donation of land. Today, some of the university’s buildings are heavily influenced by historic structures in entirely different states. Among the most prominent is the Georgian-look John G. Mahler Student Center. Dedicated in 1992, this project from Texas-based firm BMA Architects is a reproduction of Philadelphia’s Independence Hall. The elegant-looking center features a wood- and stone-esque bell tower – actually made from hardwearing architectural fiberglass. Other recent buildings that nod to the past include 2009’s striking white Patty and Bo Pilgrim Chapel and 2011’s Joan and Andy Horner Hall.
32. Erskine College – Due West, South Carolina
The beauty of Erskine College’s campus lies in its elegant old architecture – and it is this, along with other buildings in the Erskine College-Due West Historic District, that has earned a portion of the campus a spot on the National Register of Historic Places. Among Erskine’s most attractive features is Philomathean Hall, which is home to the college’s Philomathean Literary Society and holds the prestige of being the oldest building in the entire historic district. Complete with Corinthian columns and interior frescoes, the Italian Renaissance Revival-style structure was built in 1859 under architect Thomas Veal’s supervision. Moreover, design-wise the building bears some similarity to the White House in Washington, D.C. Established back in 1839 by the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, Erskine was the first private Christian school set up in South Carolina. Today, it has a relatively small student body of 575 on its undergraduate liberal arts plus graduate theological programs.
31. Rhodes College – Memphis, Tennessee
Rhodes College’s 100-acre campus is not only handsome, but a notable landmark, too, as 13 of its beautiful stone Collegiate Gothic buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places. Several of the structures at Rhodes date back to 1925, including Palmer Hall, one of the first buildings to be constructed at the Memphis, Tennessee-based institution. Palmer Hall was designed by U.S. architects Henry Hibbs and Charles Klauder and was supplemented by the 140-foot-tall Halliburton Tower in 1962. Other subsequent architecture has also featured a similar look – for example, the student dormitory, West Village, which was completed in 2012 and echoes its predecessors with its stone facade. The Presbyterian Church-affiliated liberal arts school originated in 1848, although it didn’t move to its current location until 1925. Today, it mostly caters to undergraduate students.
30. Howard Payne University – Brownwood, Texas
Guy D. Newman served in the role of Howard Payne University’s president from 1955 to 1973 and oversaw the development of the most awe-inspiring edifice on the school’s verdant 80-acre campus. The building that would become the Douglas MacArthur Academy of Freedom was constructed in 1890 and was originally part of Daniel Baker College – until the college amalgamated with Howard Payne University in 1953. The Brownwood, Texas-based university moved to renovate the historic building in the 1960s, and the stunning sandstone, spire-topped facility was dedicated in 1969. As well as housing a library, classrooms and some of the school’s academic departments, the Academy of Freedom is graced by a gleaming glass frontage – and all told it arguably looks like something from a fairy tale. Founded in 1889, Howard Payne University is a Baptist General Convention of Texas-affiliated institution that currently educates over 1,000 students.
29. Kenyon College – Gambier, Ohio
In 2010 Kenyon College appeared on Forbes’ list of the world’s most beautiful college grounds, as chosen by a select group of architects and campus designers. Established back in 1824, the Episcopal Church-affiliated liberal arts college sits on a rural 1,000-acre campus in Gambier, Ohio. The site showcases a distinctive mix of modern architecture and the more antique Collegiate Gothic style for which it is known. The American Gothic-type current dormitory Old Kenyon was designed by pioneering U.S. architect Charles Bulfinch, the Reverend Norman Nash, and the college’s founder and original president Bishop Philander Chase. Opened in 1829, it exhibits an impressive central spire. The site’s older structures lie in stark contrast to the contemporary, minimalist Horvitz Hall Studio Arts Building, which was completed in 2012. Another of Kenyon’s most appealing elements is its tree-lined Middle Path, an attractive walkway that acts as a central link on the campus.
28. Houston Baptist University – Houston, Texas
The beauty of Houston Baptist University’s 100-acre campus is largely down to its impressive architecture. The Baptist General Convention of Texas-affiliated university’s first president, William H. Hinton, oversaw the considerable growth of the institution’s faculty, student body and building developments during his 25 years in charge. What’s more, the striking Hinton Center – with its distinctive, shiny dome – is named after him. Another of the school’s highlights is its Belin Chapel, which was formally opened in 2007 and is adorned with columns and a huge cross to a design by the Houston- and Vietnam-based Studio RED Architects. Inside, the chapel is even more breathtaking thanks to its ethereal reflector ring, painted metal panels and intricate stained glass. Houston Baptist University was established in 1960 and is now home to just over 2,500 students in undergraduate and postgraduate programs.
27. Campbell University – Raleigh, North Carolina
The Campbell University campus occupies a bucolic rural setting along the Cape Fear River in the Sandhills Region of North Carolina. Nestled in the quaint village of Buies Creek, the scenic 1300-acre campus is equidistant from Raleigh and Fayetteville. The site has been home to the co-educational Baptist university since it was founded more than 125 years ago. Academic Circle is a grass-covered plaza with brick walkways encompassed by magnolia trees, residence halls, Butler Chapel and academic buildings, such as Kivett Hall, which anchors the campus. Built in 1903, the hall is the oldest building on campus and serves as the iconic symbol of the university. Its beloved bell chimes every quarter hour. North of Academic Circle is Fellowship Commons, an open space that serves as a gathering place for students. Beyond the commons, the North Campus is home to the contemporary, 3,000-seat, multi-purpose John W. Pope, Jr. Convocation Center.
26. Nyack College – Nyack, New York
The primary residential campus of Nyack College rests on 102 beautiful acres of land in Nyack, New York. The college, which is affiliated with the Christian and Missionary Alliance, was established at its current location in 1897, and many of the buildings on campus reflect the beautiful and imaginative Victorian architecture of the late 1800s. Some of the buildings, including the dormitories, are recent additions, but the newer buildings and renovations are designed to blend in with the existing structures. Simpson Hall, the oldest residential building, was originally constructed in 1896. The hall was rebuilt in 1981, but the structure still features a towering Victorian exterior. Some of the other eye-catching buildings, including Moseley Hall dormitories, were acquired from a sprawling country club. The college is also surrounded by natural beauty, and the Nyack campus sits on the edge of Blauvelt State Park and Schuyler Town Park.
25. Biola University – La Mirada, California
Even without its attractive campus, the evangelical Christian Biola University’s location makes it a major draw. Why? Because it is situated in the city of La Mirada, which was included on Money magazine’s 2007 “Best Places to Live: Top 100” list. Although the liberal arts university was established in 1908, its 96-acre campus boasts, among other features, the sleek and modern Talbot East, a LEED Silver-certified building that houses the school’s Department of Biblical and Theological Studies. Opened in 2011, this striking facility was the work of global architectural firm Gensler and contains a smart, minimalist prayer chapel featuring wood recovered from olive trees at Biola. Meanwhile, the “fresh” and “young” Horton Hall – a dormitory completed in 2005 and also designed by Gensler – makes an impression with its white, window-peppered facade. Biola offers a wide range of degrees at all levels.
24. Greenville College – Greenville, Illinois
Greenville College is located in the quaint hamlet of Greenville, IL. The school’s 50-acre campus provides students with a serene and picturesque location for learning. When students become overwhelmed with studying, they can hike down the campus’s nature trail to view the area’s native beauty and regroup. The Bock Museum, which presents the Richard W. Bock Sculpture collection, is housed in the historic Almira College House. History majors will appreciate the structure’s past as John Brown White once owned it. Mr. White is famous for his attempts to conquer slavery. Greenville’s campus includes many residence buildings such as Joy Hall, Janssen Hall and Holtwick Hall. When students want to venture out of town to enjoy eclectic dining or shop, St. Louis is just 45 miles away from the quiet Greenville campus.
23. Colorado Christian University – Lakewood, Colorado
Located 10 minutes west of Denver, Colorado Christian University offers a main campus that is both scenic and modern. With a clear view of the Rocky Mountains, students at this university can enjoy an expansive main campus that is expansive, yet conducive to an active and fulfilling student lifestyle. The Lakewood main campus houses the College of Undergraduate Studies building for undergraduate students, as well as the College of Adults and Graduate Studies for post-graduate and non-traditional learners. While all of the buildings on main campus offer modern amenities like computer labs and comfortable classrooms, CCU is currently undergoing a renovation process to add new buildings to campus to meet the demands of the growing student body. As with existing buildings already on campus, the new buildings will be made out of attractive and sturdy materials like brick, limestone, and concrete. The university recently met its fundraising goal for the ongoing construction.
22. Waynesburg University – Waynesburg, Pennsylvania
Known for its close proximity to four city parks, Waynesburg University makes it easy for students to enjoy nature in the southwestern Pennsylvania foothills. A total of about 15 acres of parkland serve as a great complement to the total 30-acre campus, so students are never too far from tree-lined sidewalks and promenades. Founded in 1849, Waynesburg University is dominated by classic American architecture; the iconic Hanna Hall and Miller Hall each enjoy spots on the National Register of Historic Places. Interestingly, the bricks used in Miller Hall were actually formed by university students over a century ago. The university has managed to balance its exemplary historical edifices and unspoiled rural surroundings with modern facilities as well; renovations to Thayer and Stewart halls commenced in fall 2012 and new dorms are planned.
21. John Brown University – Siloam Springs, Arkansas
John Brown University is home to a beautiful 200-acre campus in Siloam Springs, Ark., less than a five-minute walk from the Oklahoma border. The scenic Dogwood Springs Trail nearly encircles the school, and gorgeous dogwood trees are situated throughout campus. JBU’s standout building is the Cathedral of the Ozarks. Built in 1957, this building is home to a beautiful 1,200-seat chapel, music studios, offices and classrooms. The main quad is next to the Cathedral of the Ozarks; students study, play sports and watch evening concerts and movies here. The Walker Student Center is adjacent to the main quad as well. It opened in 2002 and is home to the JBU bookstore, post office and eateries. The Windgate Visual Arts East and West buildings completed a $3 million renovation in 2012. They are home to some of the region’s top traditional and digital art facilities.
20. Whitworth University – Spokane, Washington
The campus of Whitworth University is set in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. The university is centrally located in Spokane, Washington’s University District with its many lakes, rivers and waterfront features. There are several on- and off-trail hiking and biking opportunities in and around the Spokane River area. The school’s 200-acre campus features red-brick buildings such as McMillan Hall, created in 1913, and tall pine trees, which provide a secure and beautiful place to learn. Since year 2000, over $100 million in renovations have been done to the college, including a new science hall, a rec center, and a center for visual arts.
19. College of the Ozarks – Point Lookout, Missouri
College of the Ozarks lies amid some truly stunning surroundings, located as it is next to the White River, with a view over Lake Taneycomo in the Ozark Mountains. The Christian liberal arts college in pastoral Point Lookout, Missouri was established in 1906 as a school for young people, following a proposal by pastor James Forsythe. Nevertheless, it eventually became a full institution of higher learning in 1965. One of the most impressive features on the 1,000-acre campus is the neo-Gothic Williams Memorial Chapel, which is replete with stained-glass windows and a soaring arched ceiling. The chapel was built to an old design from Chicago-based architect Edward Jannson and completed in 1958. Also among the campus’ beautiful buildings is the Keeter Center, an idyllic lodge that acts as a hub for functions and bigger events and is home to the college’s program of hotel and restaurant management.
18. Samford University – Birmingham, Alabama
The Alabama Baptist Convention-affiliated Samford University has had a turbulent history. The school has endured fires, two moves, monetary troubles and the Civil War. Its genesis came through land donated by Siloam Baptist Church members, and it was established as Howard College in 1841. Initially a men-only institution, it opened its doors to women in 1895. Today, the school lies in suburban Birmingham, Alabama on a scenic 212-acre campus that was modeled after historic site Colonial Williamsburg. The grounds feature verdant lawns, gardens and Colonial Georgian-style red brick buildings. The magnificent Harwell Goodwin Davis Library is capped by the school’s signature bell tower, while A. Hamilton Reid Chapel harks back in time, having been designed to imitate the earliest Baptist church constructed in the New World. Accommodating over 5,000 students, Samford is the biggest private university in its state. Its courses include options in education, divinity, arts and sciences, and law.
17. Seattle Pacific University – Seattle, Washington
Some of the greenery on Seattle Pacific University’s main campus doesn’t just look good; it’s also a little piece of history. A number of the trees dotted around the school’s Tiffany Loop are among the oldest native species in Seattle. Seattle Pacific University president Dan Martin has even paid tribute to one particular white poplar, labeling it a “living legacy” to the foundation of the institution. Another campus trademark is its clock tower – a cast stone structure gifted to the school by its own students in 1966, featuring prominent sculptures designed by erstwhile art professor Ernst Schwidder. The Free Methodist Church-affiliated university was established in 1891 and now educates over 4,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students in total on its 40-acre campus.
16. Westmont College – Santa Barbara, California
Although it was originally started up in central Los Angeles in 1937, interdenominational liberal arts school Westmont College is now to be found on a 111-acre campus in suburban Santa Barbara, where it has resided since 1945. Upon its relocation, the evangelical college took over the splendid Mediterranean-style main house on the former estate. This building was conceived by Pasadena architect Reginald Davis Johnson and was constructed in 1929. Now named Kerrwood Hall, the facility contains a lounge and administration offices. Other more modern and sustainably designed but no less attractive architecture is also present on campus – which features various beautiful lawns and green areas as well. A highlight is Davis Formal Garden, where Westmont’s undergraduate student body can relax next to water fountains in the company of extraordinary flowers.
15. Regent University – Virginia Beach, Virginia
Regent University’s grand 70-acre main campus in Virginia Beach is full of greenery and even has a decorative fountain with stone animals fashioned by British company Haddonstone. The site’s charming neo-Georgian architecture also belies its young age, as this interdenominational school was only set up 1978: the brainchild of media mogul and Southern Baptist Pat Robertson, it started life as the Christian Broadcasting Network University. The school initially operated using leased classroom space, before its first building, an administration hub, was constructed in 1979. Renamed Regent University in 1990, it today educates a total of almost 6,000 undergraduates and postgraduates. Regent now has eight principal buildings on campus, including stately Robertson Hall plus its striking new chapel and divinity school. These last two were formally opened in 2013, with the chapel taking its cue from the beautiful London, England-located church St. Martin-in-the-Fields, which dates back to the 18th century.
14. Franciscan University of Steubenville – Steubenville, Ohio
The Franciscan University of Steubenville describes itself as giving a “passionately Catholic education” to its over 2,700 undergraduate and postgraduate students. This is made even more apparent on a lovely circular green area of the Steubenville, Ohio campus where a flowerbed has been arranged into a large cross. The university was set up by the Franciscan Friars of the Third Order Regular in 1946 and moved to its current hillside location in 1961. A number of its buildings, like “spiritual hub” Christ the King Chapel, date back to the 1960s. Meanwhile, a more recent addition is Saints Cosmas and Damian Science Hall, a handsome limestone and red brick structure that takes inspiration from the architectural legacy of Italy’s Assisi, the birthplace of St. Francis. Designed by Pittsburgh-based architects MacLachlan, Cornelius & Filoni, the hall was completed in 2000 and houses the university’s sciences, engineering science, computer science and math schools.
13. Wheaton College – Wheaton, Illinois
Nestled in the Illinois suburb of Wheaton, the interdenominational, liberal arts-based
Wheaton College has been described by The Princeton Review as “arguably the best school in the nation with a Christ-based worldview.” The 80-acre campus’ beautiful centerpiece is Blanchard Hall, an imposing limestone edifice completed in full in 1927 and later placed on the National Register of Historic Places. This building’s architecture includes strong elements of the Classical Revival style as well as Romanesque Revival and Italianate aspects and is said to have been inspired by structures at England’s University of Oxford. Meanwhile, the Billy Graham Center – named for one of the school’s best-known graduates – adds a touch of elegant grandeur with its red brick facade and striking white columns. Wheaton’s scenic campus also features an accumulation of specimen trees, among them rare Dutch Elms, not to mention the attractive Peacock Pond.
12. Baylor University – Waco, Texas
Chartered in 1845, the Southern Baptist-affiliated Baylor University holds the honor of being the oldest continuously functioning school in the state of Texas. Its 1,000-acre campus in Waco – where the institution moved in 1885 – is situated on the Brazos River and displays plenty of natural beauty thanks to the green areas and trees spread throughout. Two of the campus’ most notable buildings are architecturally stunning: the Italian Renaissance-style Armstrong Browning Library, which features the most sizable collection of works by poets Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Browning; and Old Main, which was designed using a mix of American Victorian and Italianate Villa styles by architect William Lamour and was completed in 1887. Built in 1938 in the American Georgian mode to the blueprint of local architect Birch D. Easterwood, the structure now known as Pat Neff Hall is another of the university’s landmarks.
11. California Baptist University – Riverside, California
The campus of private liberal arts institution California Baptist University brings a touch of the Mediterranean to the Golden State. The school was set up in 1950 in El Monte as California Baptist College by the California Southern Baptist Convention. However, it moved to its magnificent present location in the city of Riverside five years later and was officially renamed California Baptist University in 1998. Mission Revival-style buildings with red roofs, picturesque courtyards and palm trees grace the attractive 131-acre site, which accommodates over 7,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students. The charming W.E. James Building – whose final stone was laid in 1934 – is one of the campus’ highlights. This facility plays host to classrooms and laboratories for the school’s faculties of behavioral sciences, arts and sciences, and allied health.
10. Palm Beach Atlantic University – West Palm Beach, Florida
Established in 1968, interdenominational Christian college Palm Beach Atlantic University benefits from a prime location close to the Atlantic Ocean in West Palm Beach, Florida. Thanks to the palm trees springing up around its Spanish Mediterranean-style buildings, the university’s campus arguably appears more like an attractive resort than a place of higher learning. International architectural firm Leo A. Daly took inspiration from the nice-looking existing structures for the design of the college’s Warren Library, which blends in through its red tiling and a facade that mixes stone and stucco. Completed in 2009, the library contains hundreds of thousands of volumes, dozens of group study rooms, a boardroom, a café and more. Over 2,000 undergraduates working towards 48 majors study at the school.
9. Geneva College – Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania
Geneva College’s campus offers students plenty of outdoor beauty, set alongside elegant architecture that dates back to the 19th century. The liberal arts college – which was established in 1848 but relocated to Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania in 1880 – is the sole undergraduate facility in the U.S. allied with the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America. At only 55 acres, Geneva College’s campus may be small, but it contains enough attractive, historic structures to please the eye. Old Main, the college’s grand, gray sandstone centerpiece, was designed by Pennsylvanian architect James P. Bailey. Finished in 1881, this building currently houses classrooms and the school’s administration offices. Another striking campus feature is the Collegiate Gothic-style McCartney Library, which was completed in 1931 and is known for its stained-glass windows and conspicuous bell tower.
8. Canadian Mennonite University – Winnipeg, Manitoba
Canadian Mennonite University’s beautiful 44-acre campus in southwest Winnipeg is lies close by the edge of the Assiniboine Forest, the wilderness within a city. Founder’s Hall, the original campus building, was designed by American architect John D. Atchinson in the English Collegiate style for the 1922 opening of the Manitoba School for the Deaf. The “Grand Lady of Shaftesbury” features limestone walls, cove ceilings, Tudor arches, spires, gargoyles, and a four-story tower at the main entrance. During WWII, the students were moved to Saskatoon or Montreal and the Royal Canadian Air Force moved their radio communications school into the campus. After the war, the campus was utilized as the Manitoba Provincial Normal School, later Manitoba Teachers’ College. The barracks at No. 3 Wireless were converted into emergency homes for low-income Winnipeg citizens after the war. The four dozen families had the advantage of education for their children provided by the students in the Teacher College in a “model” school. The school’s campus served as the administrative centre for the 1999 Pan American Games. In 2000, the campus was purchased by Canadian Mennonite University. The campus was renovated extensively to house this new, modern university.
7. Point Loma Nazarene University – San Diego, California
Point Loma Nazarene University moved to its stunning oceanfront San Diego campus in 1973. What’s more, the Christian liberal arts school’s setting is not only visually appealing, but also holds an intriguing past. From the turn of the 20th century to 1942, the grounds hosted Lomaland, a community dedicated to the practice of Theosophy established by Theosophical Society head Katherine Tingley. Certain of Lomaland’s structures – notably an outdoor Greek-styled theater that was the first of its kind in North America – remain features of the site today. More modern constructions at the location include the School of Theology and Christian Ministry, which wows through an impressive 400-square-foot stained-glass window at its entrance. This building was designed by local firm Architects Mosher Drew and was completed in 2009. As for the university itself, its roots lie in a Bible college set up in 1902 by members of the Church of the Nazarene.
6. Montreat College – Montreat, North Carolina
Christian liberal arts school Montreat College obtained its moniker from the combination of the words “mountain” and “retreat.” The college’s 112-acre main campus is situated in the picturesque Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. What’s more, the site’s old stone buildings – set lakeside – make the place look arguably more like a resort than a seat of learning. The establishment’s origins lie in the foundation of the Montreat Normal School, a combined preparatory and college facility that opened its doors in 1916. This went on to become a women’s college in 1945, then a coeducational institution called Montreat-Anderson College in 1959. Eventually, in 1995, it was permanently renamed Montreat College. Over 20 walking trails surround the principal campus – another reason the school has great appeal for young Christian students who enjoy spending their free time outdoors.
5. Eastern University – St. Davids, Pennsylvania
The American Baptist Churches USA-affiliated Eastern University in St. Davids, Pennsylvania has a picturesque 114-acre main campus that is lush with greenery. Before the college located there in 1952, the grounds formed the estate of local leather manufacturer Charles S. Walton. Walton Hall, perhaps Eastern’s most prominent building, is a converted 55-room mansion that dates to around 1913 and was designed by Philadelphia architect David Knickerbacker Boyd. The Mediterranean-styled structure now serves as the university’s student center, chapel and dining hall and sits right beside man-made Willow Lake. Another of Eastern’s longstanding icons is its beloved, recently renovated waterwheel. The university offers both undergraduate and graduate programs.
4. Tyndale University College – Toronto, Ontario
Tyndale University College in Toronto, Ontario has a long, august history dating back to 1894. The campus straddles the beautiful Don River, which gives immense character to the sprawling campus. Recently accredited to offer Bachelor’s of Arts degrees as well as seminary degrees, many programs are housed in the Tyndale Spiritual Formation Center (TSFC). Located on the Bayview Campus, this structure houses all religious activity for the seminary, including worship and study. This structure, though designed to look like a protestant church, features smaller chapels throughout the building to make it perfect for study and for worship. With a mixture of old brick buildings and modern designs, the entire campus provides a beautiful and spiritually enriching setting for any student.
3. Pepperdine University – Malibu, California
Pepperdine University’s 830-acre main Malibu campus – which first welcomed budding scholars in 1972 – is located in a beautiful hillside setting right next to the Pacific Ocean. Depending on their vantage point, students at this Churches of Christ-affiliated research university can see Los Angles, Catalina Island or the Palos Verdes Peninsula. The campus’ attractively re-imagined Mediterranean Revival style features prominent use of stucco and roofs with red tiling. This approach was the work of noted American architect William Pereira, who used it to accentuate Pepperdine’s ocean-side location. One of the college’s most notable features is the Phillips Theme Tower, a 125-foot edifice that was built in 1973 and stands as a sign of the university’s Christian ethos.
2. Aoyama Gakuin University – Tokyo, Japan
While the Christian Aoyama Gakuin University lies in the neon-soaked, ultra-flashy Shibuya municipality of Tokyo, Japan, the principal campus of the private institution is a little more refined. This is due in part to its stunning scenery and classically elegant buildings. Blooms of azaleas add color and appeal in the spring. Meanwhile, structures such as the graceful, Corinthian-style Majima Memorial Hall – originally constructed as a library in 1929 – bring substantial beauty. The hall was even listed on Japan’s National Register of Tangible Cultural Properties in 2008, as was attractive head office building Berry Hall. Aoyama Gakuin’s origins hark back to the 1870s, when American missionaries from the Methodist Episcopal Church set up three schools in the area. The university itself came into being in 1949. Aoyama Gakuin also has an additional campus in Kanagawa Prefecture, with both locations together hosting close to 20,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students.
1. Covenant College – Lookout Mountain, Georgia
Covenant College’s famed seven-state view from the crest of Lookout Mountain in Georgia’s Appalachian hills makes it arguably among the most naturally beautiful college locations in the country. The Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) liberal arts college’s 400-acre campus – to which it relocated in 1964, nine years after its founding – is a mix of more recently constructed buildings and two others that date back to the mid and early 20th century, respectively. Carter Hall, the campus’ most well known building, was originally a hotel, completed in 1928, and has a Gothic Revival look. Covenant also contains the eye-catching Dora Maclellan Brown Memorial Chapel – a worship space that in addition serves as a fine arts performance center, features a 67-foot-tall marble cross on its exterior, and boasts impressive stained-glass windows. The chapel was conceived by Philadelphia-based ecclesiastical architect Harold Wagoner and was finished in 1978.